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Conventional MRI and Functional MRI

The conventional MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient. The magnetic field, along with a radio frequency, alters the hydrogen atoms' natural alignment in the body. Computers are then used to form images of a body structure or organ based on the activity of the hydrogen atoms.

The strength of the magnet impacts both the image resolution and the scan time. Methodist Health System is proud to offer our patients both 1.5T and 3.0T technology, which enables faster and higher-resolutions scans, resulting in superb image quality and potentially more accurate diagnosis.

The following are some of the conditions that may be diagnosed using MRI:


  • Headaches
  • Dementia
  • Stroke, TIA/CVA
  • Memory loss, confusion, altered awareness
  • Elevated prolactin levels (pituitary gland)
  • Slurred speech
  • Aneurysm
  • Weakness, vertigo or dizziness
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Glioblastoma (tumor)
  • Multiple Sclerosis


  • Multiple Sclerosis (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)
  • Foot drop (tendon or nerve damage)
  • Neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy (pain, numbness, tingling or weakening along a nerve)
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Compression fracture


  • Gallbladder stones
  • ACL tear in knee
  • Rotator in tear in shoulder

From Our Health Library

Functional MRI (fMRI) - Available at HealthWest

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) uses MR imaging to measure the tiny metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain.

fMRI* can be used to:

  • Examine the anatomy of the brain
  • Determine precisely which part of the brain is handling critical functions such as thought, speech, movement and sensation
  • Monitor the growth and function of brain tumors
  • Help assess the effects of stroke, trauma or degenerative disease (such as Alzheimer’s) on brain function
  • Assist in the planning of surgery, radiation therapy, or other surgical treatments for the brain including planning for seizure surgery, replacing more invasive testing

*This enhancement was made possible through generous support from
Leap for a Cure and the Methodist Hospital Foundation.


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