What is a Chest MRI?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 17, 2013

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Chest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe, noninvasive test. “Noninvasive” means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body. This test creates detailed pictures of the structures in your chest, like your chest wall, heart, and blood vessels.

Chest MRI uses radio waves, magnets, and a computer to create these pictures. The test is used to:

  • Look for tumors in the chest
  • Look at blood vessels, lymph (limf) nodes, and other structures in the chest
  • Help explain results of other tests, such as chest x ray or chest CT scan (also called computed tomography (to-MOG-rah-fee) scans)

As part of some chest MRIs, a special substance (called contrast dye) is injected into a vein in your arm. This dye allows the MRI to take more detailed pictures of the structures in your chest.

Chest MRI has few risks. Unlike a CT scan or standard x ray, MRI doesn’t use radiation or have any risk of causing cancer. Rarely, the contrast dye used for some chest MRIs may cause an allergic reaction.


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