|an image of kidneys from an MRI|
The ultrasound checks the health of the kidneys, but a more detailed test must follow. This is the MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. This will test, in depth, the blood vessels and the kidney.
|An MRI representation|
How the MRI Works:
- You are slid into a large open tube so that the kidneys are central to the imaging
- The MRI can make images along any plane. The CT can only take it alone one plane and then the patient needs to be re-positioned.
- The magnet in the MIR is one-thousand times stronger than the earth's magnetic field. Thus stethoscopes, paper clips, pens, etc. can be unexpectedly pulled out of pockets and hurled toward the magnetic center.
- Patients are screened for metallic implants. If a patient had a staple or pin implanted at least six weeks prior, he or she can safely withstand the magnetic field because scar tissue builds up and holds the pin in place.
- The MRI works with hydrogen atoms.As the magnet of the MRI works, the atoms essentially line up along the magnetic field, with the MRI either pointing toward the patient's head or feet. However, enough don't, and it's from these that we get the image.
- MRIs have no radiation. The only drawback is for those with claustrophobia. Since can be in the machine for over an hour, the closed space terrifies some people. But today, we have open MRIs--so essentially, no complications from the MRI unless the patient develops an allergy to the dye.