The market for MRI applications continues to grow despite the recession. With its ability to image both anatomically and functionally, MRI has found its way into surgical planning and navigation as well as diffusion and perfusion imaging. It is being combined with other modalities to achieve new heights of image clarity. For instance, once considered unreliable in imaging cartilage, it is being considered for assessing chondral damage and repair. Three dimensional (3D) MRI is sensitive enough to replace arthroscopy.

MRI applications have been propelled by improved image quality facilitated by higher field strength magnets and the development of new techniques for evaluating specific portions of the complex structures in the brain. More than two decades ago, when clinical MRI was in its early stages, it had serious limitations. The standard pulse sequence at that time was conventional spin echo (CSE). While a very robust method of imaging, and to this date still the gold standard for image contrast in MRI, it suffered from excessively long scan times.

Many thought that MRI applications would never be suitable for cardiac, vascular, very high spatial resolution or true dynamic imaging. But as MRI gained clinical acceptance, the demand for the ability to image those areas that were previously deemed impossible has increased, with a strong emphasis on reducing the acquisition times. The quest for faster imaging has been the impetus for the development of new sequences, improved coil design and significant hardware advances.

Over the last few of years, a cardiac MRI application has received new emphasis - diversifying from structural and simple qualitative functional imaging. Now myocardial contractility and cardiac volumes may be measured with great accuracy. To further add to the cardiac imaging repertoire, intravenous gadolinium contrast agents, in conjunction with sequences designed to assess myocardial perfusion and degree of viability, are becoming commonplace. This application has significantly impacted patient management in cases of myocardial infarction in which revascularization is being considered.

Author's Bio: 

Lee Bond is a renowned radiology expert who has over 10 years of experience in the field, and another 10 as a regular surgeon.For more information, please visit
MRI applications.