Friday, 14 April 2017

All About ... MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is used for diagnosing orthopaedic and neurological problems.  It provides high quality images of bone and soft tissue.  

When tissue is placed in a strong magnetic field and a short pulse of radio waves is applied, a weak signal will be returned (echoed) this is used to create the image.  In a similar way to other scans, different tissues produce different signals.  The tissue which is being examined must be completely within an extremely strong magnet.  

There are two types of magnet:
  • high field electromagnets are tubular and cooled with liquid helium 
  • low field magnets are U-shaped or 2 flat plates with a gap between

There are now standing MRI scanners available for horses so it is not always necessary to use a general anaesthetic, horses are just heavily sedated. However, for head and neck imaging the horse will need to be anaesthetised and lying down to ensure they are completely still.  


MRI's have no known hazardous biological effects. The scanning is done in a metal screened room to prevent interference from external radio waves.  

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