First Time User? Enroll now.
Notice of Data Security Incident
COVID-19: Vaccine information and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body.
In many cases, MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan. MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.
For an MRI test, the area of the body being studied is placed inside a special machine that has a strong magnet. In some cases, a dye (contrast material) may be used during the MRI to show pictures of organs or structures more clearly.
Photographs or films of certain views can also be made. Information from an MRI can be saved and stored on a computer for more study.
MRI can be used to look for problems such as bleeding, tumors, infection, blockage, or injury in the brain, organs and glands, blood vessels, and joints.
Current as of: June 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.