By Shally Makin, Elets News Network (ENN)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the most flexible diagnostic imaging modality; it allows us to characterise many aspects of the living patient from metabolism and physiology to tissue microstructure. MRI has continued to rapidly develop since its introduction as a clinical tool in the early 1980s. Widespread use of 3T scanners is already becoming a reality and future developments in coil technology and new image contrasts will continue to provide new tools for clinical diagnosis. MRI could become the most widely used medical imaging modality if several market variables, such as reducing the actual cost of an exam and designing smaller MRI systems, come to fruition. With its unique 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 image clarity not previously attainable. The researchers believe that such “smart tag” technology could one day improve diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance imaging. Combined modalities and targeted contrast media are also on the clinical horizon, and it will take a few years for this to become a reality for specialist referral centres.