How a MRI works and how a compass works

Essay by frankcatalanattoJunior High, 9th gradeA, May 2004

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How a Magnetic Imaging Resonator Works

If you have ever seen an MRI machine, you know that the basic design used in most is a giant cube. The cube in a typical system is usually 7 feet tall by 7 feet wide by 10 feet long , although new models are getting smaller. There is a horizontal tube running through the magnet from front to back. This tube is known as the bore of the magnet. The patient, lying on his or her back, slides into the bore on a special table. Whether or not the patient goes in head first or feet first, as well as how far in the magnet they will go, is determined by the type of exam to be performed. MRI scanners vary in size and shape, and newer models are open around the sides. Still however, the basic design is the same. Once the body part to be scanned is in the exact center of the magnetic field, the scan can begin.

In conjunction with radio pulses of energy, the MRI scanner can pick out a very small point inside the patient's body and identify what type of tissue is in that part of the body. The point might be a cube that is half a millimeter on each side. The MRI system goes through the patient's body point by point, building up a 2-D or 3-D map of tissue types. It then integrates all of this information together to create 2-D images or 3-D models.

MRI provides an unparalleled view inside the human body. The level of detail we can see is extraordinary compared with any other medical device. An MRI is the method of choice for the diagnosis of many types of injuries and conditions because of the incredible ability to...