Appropriate Magnetic Resonance Imaging Ordering

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic technique useful for noninvasive visualization of organs and soft tissue structures. The ability to evaluate for structural integrity lends MRI for imaging the neural axis and large joints of the musculoskeletal system where it was used most heavily during its infancy. Since that time, MR's scope and application have broadened significantly and now encompasses abdominopelvic and cardiac imaging. Clinicians frequently order MRI to characterize soft tissue and osseous lesions or masses. In some cases, the varying MRI sequences can determine the composition of these abnormalities. For example, MRI elastography can diagnose and surveil hepatic fibrosis sparing the patient from an invasive and repetitive biopsy. MR angiography, using both contrast-enhanced and non-contrast techniques, can diagnose vascular occlusive disease and stenosis. Faster scan times and gating techniques minimizing cardiac and respiratory motion make MRI a useful non-invasive tool for cardiac evaluations of structure, function, and myocardial perfusion.

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