You might think you know something – or some things – about MRI (which stands for magnetic resonance imaging), especially if you have had one yourself. However, there is a lot to learn about this kind of scan and what it can do and be used for, and there are many interesting facts that might make you think about it differently, whether you need one personally or not. Read on for some interesting facts about MRI.
1. MRI Started In 1973
Although it looks like a very high-tech and even futuristic bit of machinery, the MRI scanner is actually older than a lot of people think. It dates back to 1973 after being created by physicist Isidor Isaac Rabi.
However, although the technique that is used today comes from Rabi’s ideas in the 70s, he actually based his thoughts on information found in the 1930s that is all to do with how atoms have magnetic properties. So MRI – the basis of it, at least – is nearing one hundred years old.
2. It Took A While To Get Started
Today you get to book yourself in for an MRI scan whenever you want to at expert clinics like Express MRI. However, in the 1970s, this was much harder to do. Although Rabi came up with the idea in 1973, it took until 1977 for a scan to be performed in its entirety. The first MRI on a human was carried out on July 3 1977.
3. MRI Or NMR?
Everyone is familiar with the acronym MRI, even if they don’t know what it stands for or exactly what is involved. However, it wasn’t always this way; an MRI was originally called an NMR.
NMR stands for nuclear magnetic resonance. Although this is exactly the same thing as what we know as an MRI today, the name was changed because people were reluctant to try it due to the negative associations of the word ‘nuclear’.
4. The Magnets Are Extremely Strong
Something that is always surprising to hear is that the magnets used in the MRI scan are 140,000 times stronger than the earth’s own magnetic field. This is why it’s so important to remove any jewelry and other metal elements before you have the scan, as it could cause injury to the patient or damage the scanner.
5. MRIs Are More Detailed Than An X-Ray
Most people will think of x-rays if they are asked to name a scan that will show the inside of their body, but the truth is that although x-rays are extremely useful, the MRI shows a lot more detail, meaning that small items like tumors that might not be noticed on an x-ray can be seen. Plus, there is no radiation involved in an MRI, making them much safer for the patient and the practitioner.
6. The Length Of The Scan Will Vary
Although the experts carrying out your MRI will try to make it as quick as possible for you, as you’ll need to be completely still throughout, and that isn’t always easy or comfortable, they will not rush the procedure. This is why, although the average time of an MRI is about 20 minutes, they can last for up to two hours. Speak to your practitioner to see what they estimate so you can be prepared.