Brain imaging, magnetic resonance imaging of the head or skull, cranial magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), neurological MRI - they describe all the same radiological imaging technique for medical diagnostic.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the human brain includes the anatomic description and the detection of lesions. Special techniques like diffusion weighted imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and spectroscopy provide also information about the function and chemical metabolites of the brain.
MRI provides detailed pictures of brain and nerve tissues in multiple planes without obstruction by overlying bones. Brain MRI is the procedure of choice for most brain disorders. It provides clear images of the brainstem and posterior brain, which are difficult to view on a CT scan. It is also useful for the diagnosis of demyelinating disorders (disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) that cause destruction of the myelin sheath of the nerve).
With this noninvasive procedure also the evaluation of blood flow and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is possible. Different MRA methods, also without contrast agents can show a venous or arterial angiogram. MRI can distinguish tumors, inflammatory lesions, and other pathologies from the normal brain anatomy. However, MRI scans are also used instead other methods to avoid the dangers of interventional procedures like angiography (DSA - digital subtraction angiography) as well as of repeated exposure to radiation as required for computed tomography (CT) and other X-ray examinations.
A (birdcage) bird cage coil achieves uniform excitation and reception and is commonly used to study the brain. Usually a brain MRI procedure includes FLAIR, T2 weighted and T1 weighted sequences in two or three planes.
See also Fetal MRI, Fluid Attenuation Inversion Recovery (FLAIR), Perfusion Imaging and High Field MRI.
See also Arterial Spin Labeling.
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