What is clinical correlation requested after an MRI?

December 23, 2009

The MRI scan (which is an abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance imaging) is the most widely used medical imaging technique and is used in radiology to visualize a detailed internal structure as well as any limitations in functioning of the body. Since the MRI scan shows up a much greater contrast between the soft tissues of the body than when compared to a computed tomography scan, it is one of the best options when it comes to capturing images of the brain as well as cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. The machine is in the shape of a giant cube and will usually be around 7 feet tall by 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. A horizontal tube runs through the magnet from the front of the machine, all the way to the back and is known as the bore of the magnet. The patient will be asked to lie on his or her back and, with the help of a sliding table, be ushered into the bore of the machine, head first. The exact positioning of the body will be determined by the region of the body needing to be scanned. Once the targeted body part has been laced at the exact center of the magnetic field, the scan is started.

The MRI scan is essentially a tool that is used to help identify the primary cause of any illness present in the body. As a result, in most cases, the MRI scan is part of the investigation process and its findings are used in correlation with the data retrieved from the clinic in order to correctly diagnose the problem. It is not uncommon for a particular finding made when interpreting an imaging study to mean a variety of things in different clinical situations. As a result, you will often hear of the radiologist asking for the MRI scans to be correlated to the clinical findings to identify the correct scenario. One example of this is when a chest x ray is examined and some opacities are found in the lungs. When these findings are combined with the clinical data available - which shows the patient also suffering from a high fever, a high white blood cell count and yellow sputum with no other medical conditions present, both sets of data will help identify correctly that the patient is likely to be suffering from an infection such as pneumonia. If, on the other hand, the patient’s clinical history shows no fever but is recovering from a surgery, it is more likely to be an indicator that the opacities are the result of atelectasis.

Submitted by M H on December 23, 2009 at 02:36

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