Magnetic Resonance Imaging

UF Eqine Lameness & Imaging MRIThe University of Florida Diagnostic Imaging service has the largest gantry on a short-bore MRI to date. The Toshiba Titan high-field, 1.5 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging Unit provides a greater level of imaging capability to the hospital and to referring practices.

How it works

The high-field magnet uses a strong magnetic field and the natural resonance of atoms in the body to visualize the structure and function of organs. MRI, primarily used to examine the internal organs for abnormalities, is noninvasive and is superior to other modalities for imaging soft tissue.

The principles of MRI imaging are very complex. The patient is placed in the strong magnetic field, and the hydrogen protons in the body are manipulated as specific radiofrequencies (RF) are transmitted into the patient. This turns these hydrogen atoms into small, moving magnets within the body. Because the hydrogen atoms respond in a predictable fashion based on their chemical bonds, the movement, or relaxation, of the protons results in a release of energy which can be used to generate an image.

Based on the principles of Faraday’s Law, these tiny moving magnets can generate an electrical current, or signal, in a coil that is placed around the patient. These signals are collected, processed through a computer, and converted into images of the patient. Both large and small animals are imaged using MRI. Imaging of large animal patients, due to size constraints, is limited to the limbs and head. As with most CT imaging, patients receiving an MRI exam require general anesthesia to ensure the clearest and most accurate images possible.

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