How the MRI Procedure has an Impact on Society Robin T. Maynard Bethel University Abstract The introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging several years ago has a tremendous effect on our society today. This procedure enables physicians to diagnose and possibly cure several diseases which could otherwise prove to be fatal. As for anything in our society, there are some people who will criticize and find the negative points to it, however the positive impact that MRI scanning has on our society definitely outweigh any negatives. How the MRI Procedure has an Impact on Society
Since the introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, better known as the MRI scan, medical technology has taken a huge step forward in assisting the diagnosis of sometimes fatal diseases. This in turn has a tremendous impact on our society today; it gives medical professionals an advantage in diagnosing and treating diseases in the earlier stages. Without such tests as the MRI, many lives may be lost that could have otherwise been saved. While the advantages are great, as with any test, there are some disadvantages as well. Overall, the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages.
The MRI is another step towards equipping health care professionals with ways to treat and cure the people of the world who become ill or injured. Dr. Raymond Damadian, a physician and scientist, experimented for some time attempting to produce a machine that could scan the body with the use of magnets. Along with some graduate students, he constructed a magnetic device that he hoped would produce an image of inside the human body. Since no one wanted to be the first one in this apparatus, Damadian volunteered to be the first patient.
When he climbed into the device, nothing happened; Damadian was looking at years wasted on a failed invention, but one of his colleagues bravely suggested that he might be a bit large for the machine. A graduate student volunteered to give it a try, and on July 3, 1977, the first MRI exam was successfully performed on a human being. It took almost five hours to produce one image, and that original machine, nick-named the “Indomitable,” is now owned by the Smithsonian Institution. Not long after, the first magnetic resonance imaging scanners for human use became available, able to produce images of the inside of the body.
Current MRI scanners are capable of producing precisely detailed 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional images of the human anatomy. In just a few decades, the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners has grown exceedingly. Physicians may order MRI scans to help diagnose such things as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, torn ligaments, tendonitis and cancer and strokes. An MRI scan is the best way to actually see inside of the human body without cutting it open. The MRI scanner is a complex device; it can see things that other diagnostic equipment such as x-rays and CT scans cannot.
According to Dr. Lawrence M. Davis (2009) the basic process of an MRI is as follows: * An MRI is similar to a computerized topography (CT) scanner in that it produces cross-sectional images of the body. Looking at images of the body in cross section can be compared to looking at the inside of a loaf of bread by slicing it. Unlike a CT scan, MRI does not use x-rays. Instead, it uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce very clear and detailed computerized images of the inside of the body. MRI is commonly used to examine the brain, spine, joints, abdomen, and pelvis.
A special kind of MRI exam, called magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), examines the blood vessels. * A MRI scan can be used in order to view all parts of the human body, including bones and tissue. Some of examples of how the scans are very helpful to our society include a MRI of the brain, which produces in depth images of the brain and is commonly used with patients who experience such problems as headaches, seizures, hearing loss, and blurry vision. It can also be used to more thoroughly evaluate any abnormalities discovered on a CT scan.
During a brain MRI, a special mechanism called a head coil is placed around the patient’s head to assist in producing very detailed images of the brain. The head coil does not touch the person, and the person can see through large gaps in the coil. A spine MRI is normally used to look for a herniated disk or narrowing of the spinal canal in patients with neck, arm, back, and leg pain. It is also the best examination to use to search for a recurrent disk herniation in a patient who has had prior back surgery.
A bone and joint MRI can be used to check virtually all of the bones, joints, and soft tissues; it can be used to identify injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and bones. A MRI of the abdomen is most commonly used to look more specifically at an abnormality seen on another test, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan. The exam is usually customized to look at such organs as the liver, pancreas, or adrenal glands. For female patients, a pelvic MRI provides a more detailed look at the ovaries and uterus and is often used to follow up an abnormality seen on ultrasound.
For male patients, a pelvic MRI is sometimes used to check those diagnosed with prostate cancer. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) depicts the blood vessels. The blood vessels in the neck and brain are often studied by MRA to look for areas of narrowing or widening. In the abdomen, the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys are also frequently examined using this technique. * There are many advantages to the MRI procedure. The main advantage of this procedure is the ability to produce images of almost all of the tissue in the body.
Dr. Carl J. Brandt (2011) states his opinions of the benefits of MRI scans regarding the brain well: * An MRI scan is also able to provide clear pictures of parts of the body that are surrounded by bone tissue, so the technique is useful when examining the brain and spinal cord. Because the MRI scan gives very detailed pictures it is the best technique when it comes to finding tumors (benign or malignant abnormal growths) in the brain. If a tumor is present the scan can also be used to find out if it has spread into nearby brain tissue.
The technique also allows us to focus on other details in the brain. For example, it makes it possible to see the strands of abnormal tissue that occur if someone has multiple sclerosis and it is possible to see changes occurring when there is bleeding in the brain, or find out if the brain tissue has suffered lack of oxygen after a stroke. * Some of the main advantages of MRI scans include the fact that they do not require exposure to radiation, so they can be safely used in patients who may be susceptible to the effects of radiation, for example pregnant women and babies.
They are especially useful for showing soft tissue structures, such as ligaments and cartilage, and organs such as the brain, heart and eyes. They can provide information about how the blood moves through certain organs and blood vessels, allowing problems with blood circulation, such as blockages, to be identified and treated before becoming fatal. Overall, MRI is a very safe procedure. The strong magnetic field itself does not harm patients unless they have certain types of metal implanted in their body.
As many advantages as this procedure has, there also some disadvantages as well. Keep in mind, this, as with any diagnostic testing procedure, may involve some risks. * Although there are only a few, some of the most common disadvantages to the patients involved in the MRI procedure include patients with any metal on or in their bodies. Most people who have metal in their body after surgery can have an MRI; for example, people with hip or knee replacements can still have a MRI although not immediately following surgery.
Certain devices such as pacemakers, implanted pumps and nerve stimulators can never go into the MRI machine, as they may fail or become damaged. Patients who have had prior surgery or metal in any part of their body must inform the technologist prior to the scan. Also, if metal might be in any part of the body from a prior injury or accident. Some MRI exams require an injection of a MRI dye. This MRI dye is very safe and is completely different from the contrast agent or dye used for imaging tests using x-rays or CT scans.
Allergic reactions to the contrast used are possible but very uncommon. As in any situation, complications resulting from any of the above can be avoided by communicating with the physician and the technician prior to the procedure to inform them of possible risks. Another risk that is being questioned is not that of the patient, actually the technician who performs the scans being over exposed to the magnetic fields, claiming that they can long term adverse effects.
Sir William Stewart (2009) of the Health Protection Agency voices his concerns regarding this issue: * MRI scanning has some undoubted benefits in medicine, especially as an aid to accurate clinical diagnosis. However we need to bear in mind that the magnetic fields produced by the machines are quite substantial and that these fields are increasing in order to achieve improved clarity of image. The exposures to patients and medical staff from the magnetic fields can be high and there is a shortage of information on possible adverse long term health effects.
His announcement follows a recommendation by an independent board of experts, who stated there was a vital need to investigate whether regular exposure to the magnetic fields produced by MRI scanners could increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Along with everything else in our society, of course there will be some controversy as to whether or not it is completely safe; however this theory is yet to be proven and our society should continue to benefit from the good things that the MRI scan has to offer. Overall, MRI scanners have a wonderful positive impact on our society.
They are a very important tool in the diagnostic procedures of the medical field. Thanks to this new technology, many diseases have been diagnosed more rapidly than before. MRI scans have significantly revolutionized the practice of medicine, thus allowing doctors to diagnose diseases that in the past were impossible without an autopsy. The MRI procedure has contributed an enormous amount to our knowledge of the configuration, function and growth of the human body. Our society can use this knowledge to provide for better and more efficient health care.
With all of the positive things considered, this procedure in turn contributes to a healthier society, therefore making the advantages of it far greater than any disadvantages that some may argue. References Brandt, C. (2011, July 27). MRI scan. Retrieved from http://www. netdoctor. co. uk/health_advice/examinations/mriscan. htm Davis, L. (2009, June 12). Magnetic resonance imaging. Retrieved from http://www. netdoctor. co. uk/health_advice/examinations/mriscan. htm Stewart, W. (2008, May 21). Study into health impact of MRI. Retrieved from http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/health/7412563. stm