Medical Imaging: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Services

MRI of the abdomen

MRI of the abdomen is used to:

  • Detect diseases of the liver, such as a tumour. In some cases, an MRI can help determine whether a tumour is non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant),
  • Evaluate lower abdominal and pelvic organs, such as the uterus, for masses, bleeding, or problems present since birth (congenital abnormalities)
  • Assess organs and blood vessels prior to organ transplantation
  • Detect blockages or stones in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder
  • Detect problems or malformation of the organs and structures in the abdomen, such as tumours, bleeding, infections and blockages
Magnetic Resonance Angiography

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is used to detect:

  • A bulge (aneurysm), blood clot, or the buildup of fat and calcium deposits (plaque) in the blood vessels leading to the brain
  • Narrowing (stenosis) of the blood vessels leading to the brain, legs, or kidneys
  • Clots in the deep veins of the legs
  • A torn inner lining of a blood vessel (dissection).
MRI of the head and brain

MRI of the head is used to:

  • Evaluate headaches
  • Diagnose brain or brain stem tumours, infections, or inflammatory conditions such as encephalitis or meningitis
  • Evaluate symptoms such as altered consciousness, confusion or abnormal movements that may be caused by degenerative brain disease (Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease)
  • Evaluate signs of a known or suspected head injury
  • Evaluate eyes, nerves leading from the eyes to the brain (optic nerves), ears, and nerves leading from the ears to the brain (auditory nerves)
  • Diagnose stroke or blood vessel abnormalities
  • Evaluate blood flow to the brain
  • Diagnose bleeding in or around the brain

You will need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of an MRI of the head and agree to have the test done. Talk to your health professional about any concerns you may have.

MRI of the chest (including the heart)

MRI can be used to look at structures of the heart, such as the valves and coronary blood vessels.

It can also detect damage to the heart or lungs from tumours.

MRI of bones and joints

MRI of bones and joints is used to:

  • Detect some problems of the bones, joints and soft tissues of a joint (cartilage, ligaments, and tendons)
  • Evaluate conditions such as arthritis, problems with the joint in the jaw, bone marrow disorders, bone tumours, cartilage tears, worn-out cartilage, torn ligaments, or infection
  • Help diagnosis a bone fracture when X-ray results are inconclusive. 
MRI of the spine

MRI of the spine is used to:

  • Help diagnose conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc bulges and spinal tumours. 
  • Detect problems of the spinal discs
  • Detect areas of the spinal canal that are abnormally narrowed (spinal stenosis)
  • Detect tumours of the spinal cord.
  • Further evaluate areas of joint inflammation (arthritis) or abnormal bone loss discovered during an X-ray test or a bone scan.
  • Locate areas of the spinal cord that are not receiving an adequate blood supply
  • Detect areas of infection within the outermost layer of the spine and the spinal cord
  • Detect areas of nerve damage in the spinal cord caused by trauma or disease
  • Evaluate problems of the spine that have been present since birth (congenital)