Magnetic resonance imagingBMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7328.35 (Published 05 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:35
- Abi Berger, science editor
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses the body's natural magnetic properties to produce detailed images from any part of the body. For imaging purposes the hydrogen nucleus (a single proton) is used because of its abundance in water and fat.
The hydrogen proton can be likened to the planet earth, spinning on its axis, with a north-south pole. In this respect it behaves like a small bar magnet. Under normal circumstances, these hydrogen proton “bar magnets” spin in the body with their axes randomly aligned.