MRI is based on signals emitted by hydrogen-atom nuclei in a magnetic field. The imaging method does not involve ionising radiation and is thus safe to use.
MRI is particularly suitable for imaging soft tissues and the central nervous system. It has a broad scope of application in musculoskeletal diagnostics in general, but its sensitivity is also very useful in the early detection of cancer lesions, e.g. in bone.
Factors preventing the use of MRI imaging include pacemakers, insulin pumps and cochlear implants.
What to expect from a MRI scan?
An intravenous contrast agent is often administered during imaging. The patient may listen to music during the procedure and bring a CD of his or her choice. The duration of the MRI scan depends on the assessment but is usually about 30 to 60 minutes.
Imaging involves the use of a coil to amplify the signal. The coil is placed as close as possible to the object being imaged. For breast and prostate imaging, Docrates Cancer Center has dedicated MRI coils that provide very precise images of the local spread and stage of cancer for use in planning surgery or radiotherapy. If diagnosis is problematic, a targeted biopsy sample is often taken. In such a situation, having access to a dedicated breast or prostate coil may be crucial.
The MRI scanner used at Docrates is a 1.5 T Siemens MAGNETOM Espree. The scanner is arch-shaped and has a wider bore than ordinary MRI scanners – 70 cm in diameter. Internal lighting and good ventilation make the scan as comfortable for the patient as possible.
- Siemens Espree 1.5 Tesla MRI equipment
- Wide bore (70 cm)
- In addition to various surface coils, an endorectal coil for prostate imaging and a special coil for the diagnosis of breast cancer and MRI-guided biopsy.
- Versatile oncological image analysis software for the diagnosis of cancer
- DICOM interface to Docrates’ PACS archive