Editorials

Whole body magnetic resonance imaging

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7453.1387 (Published 10 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1387
  1. Stephen J Eustace, consultant (seustace@iol.ie),
  2. Erik Nelson, senior registrar
  1. Department of Radiology, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin 11, Republic of Ireland
  2. Department of Radiology, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin 11, Republic of Ireland

    A valuable adjunct to clinical examination

    When Lauterbur and Damadian described the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a clinical imaging tool in the early 1970s the popular belief was that the technique would become the ultimate screening tool for the whole body.1 2 However, similar to other modalities limited by cost, acquisition times, availability, and artefact produced by motion, it evolved as a technique to image stationary body parts. Supported by technical developments in the past decade, improved excitatory pulse sequences, and faster methods of localising derived signal, and by increasing awareness of the hazards of radiation imposed by traditional techniques, the ability to use MRI as a rapid imaging tool for the whole body has now been revisited.311 Reduced acquisition times have been mirrored by a logical reduction in acquisition costs, and the recent development of the moving MRI table top has facilitated the clinical introduction of this technique as a practical diagnostic tool.3

    Oncological applications

    The principal application of whole body MRI is in detecting skeletal metastases as an alternative …

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