Gone are the days when surgeons had to cut open human body to understand the anatomy and physiological processes of human body in both health and disease. The latest in science and technology has made it a reality to examine the physiological processes and anatomy of human body without a single cut. MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging is an imaging technique that falls under radiology with the help of which pictures of anatomy or physiological processes can be formed. Radio waves, strong magnetic fields and field ingredients may be used to generate these images.
MRI scanners are considered superior to X-rays and CT scanners. Some of the risks that come associated with the use of MRI scanners is people need to go into a tube kind of structure apart from bearing the louder sounds. This can be quite a discomfort for people who are claustrophobic. Also, MRI scanners may take more time when compared to CT scanners to generate the image. Further, people with medical implants and other metal implants may not be able to undergo MRI scan safely.
MRI falls under the science of nuclear magnetic resonance. Some atomic nuclei have the ability to absorb and emit radio frequency energy when placed in an external magnetic field. When it comes to clinical and research MRI, hydrogen atoms are the most commonly used in order to generate a radio-frequency signal that is detectable and which can be received antennas that are placed in close proximity that is put under examination.
The advantage of using hydrogen atoms here is that they are abundantly present naturally in humans. Water and fat present in humans have increased concentration of hydrogen atoms. Radio wave pulses excite the energy transition nuclear spin with magnetic field gradients localizing the signal in space. The parameters of pulse sequence can be altered thus generating different contrasts between tissues which are dependent on the relaxation properties of hydrogen atoms. Widely used in clinics and hospitals, this equipment is critical in medical diagnosis, disease staging and follow-up.
Various specialty departments of medicine such as neuroimaging, cardiology and gastroenterology use MRI. MRI is the choice of tool in order to perform investigation for neurological cancers. Higher resolution and better visualization technique make it the most preferred tool. MRI scans provide high contrast resolution images of grey and white matter and hence it stands out to be the obvious choice for many disease conditions such as dementia, epilepsy and other infectious diseases. In cardiology, cardiac MRI is widely used as a complementary to other imaging techniques. It is extremely helpful in the assessment of serious heart ailments such as congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies etc.
By 2021, the MRI market is expected to reach USD 7 billion by 2021. Top MRI manufacturers include, GE, Philips, Hitachi and Siemens. The MRI market has become extremely competitive with vendors adopting various strategic initiatives both on the business end as well as on the research side. On the business front, companies adopting merging and acquisition strategies in order to make their presence across the globe and also to make entry in new markets. On the research front, manufacturers such as Philips have launched MRI/PET imaging systems into the market. These systems without ionizing radiation combine functional imaging data and anatomical imaging to deliver high quality soft tissue characterization. Besides the above listed factors, some of the MRI System Market Drivers are emergence of hybrid imaging technologies, advent of MRI-compatible pacemakers and development of superconducting magnets. With so many advantages, the MRI scan definitely takes a more preferential tool position among the medical community for disease diagnosis and health assessment.