Articles

Articles are a collaborative effort to provide a single canonical page on all topics relevant to the practice of radiology. As such, articles are written and edited by countless contributing members over a period of time. A global group of dedicated editors oversee accuracy, consulting with expert advisers, and constantly reviewing additions.

635 results found
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Intima-media thickness

Intima-media thickness (IMT) is an indirect sonographic assessment of the degree of atheromatous vascular disease of end organs. The thickness of the media and the intima of the vessels changes following many conditions and it can be easily and reliably assessed with ultrasound on B mode in the ...
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Intravascular (blood pool) MRI contrast agents

Intravascular MRI contrast agents normally remain confined to the intravascular space, compared to Gd-DTPA which distributes throughout the extracellular fluid space. This is a result of intravascular agents having a molecular weight of approximately 70,000 and above, compared to a molecular wei...
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Intravenous MRI contrast agents

Intravenous MRI contrast agents include chelates of paramagnetic ions, both ionic and nonionic. The particulates, sequestered in the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, the intravascular agents, confined to the blood pool, and tumor specific agents are discusses separately (see bottom).  NOTE: This...
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Inverse Fourier transformation

The inverse Fourier transform is a mathematical formula that converts a signal in the frequency domain ω to one in the time (or spatial) domain t. A time domain signal f(t) is obtained by demodulating a frequency domain signal F(ω) using a special sinusoidal wave ejωt across all time (from nega...
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Inverse square law

The inverse square law describes the principle of dose reduction as the distance from the source increases. This assumes a point source. If radiation spreads over a spherical area, as the radius increases, the area over which the dose is distributed increases according to A=4πr2 where A is th...
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Inversion recovery sequences

Inversion recovery pulse sequences are a type of MRI sequence used to selectively null the signal for certain tissues (e.g. fat or fluid). Inversion recovery can also generate heavily T1-weighted images and was originally developed for this purpose. Physics Basically, an inversion recovery (I...
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Iodinated contrast media

Iodinated contrast media are contrast agents that contain iodine atoms used for x-ray-based imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT). They can also used in fluoroscopy, angiography and venography, and even occasionally, plain radiography. Although the intravenous route of administrati...
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Ionization

Ionization is the principal means by which ionizing radiations dissipate their energy in matter. In this process the orbital electrons absorb energy from the incident photon, resulting in ejection of that electron, leaving the atom positively charged (positively ionized).  In tissue this proces...
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Ionization chamber

Ionization chambers measure exposure by detecting liberated electron charge when x-ray photons ionize the gas within the chamber. The chambers need a high positive voltage applied at the collecting anode to attract the liberated electrons. The electron charge is collected and used to determine t...
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Ionizing radiation

Ionizing radiation is the term given to forms of radiation that are energetic enough to displace orbiting electrons from the atoms in the absorbing medium, thus forming positive ions. The process of ionization is the principal means by which ionizing radiations dissipate their energy in matter a...
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Isobar

Isobars are atomic species that have the same mass number (A), but a different atomic number (Z). Isobars should not be confused with isotopes, which share the same atomic number, and therefore belong to the same chemical element, but have varying mass numbers. Examples of isobars include 14,6...
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Isomer

In nuclear physics, isomers are atomic species that are identical in nuclear composition, sharing the same mass and atomic numbers, but differ in their relative energy states, and will therefore differ in their manner of radioactive decay. This term should not be confused with the similarly sou...
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Isotone

Isotones are atomic species that share the same number of neutrons, and differ in the number of protons. Examples of isotones include carbon-12, nitrogen-13 and oxygen-14. These atoms all have six neutrons and six, seven and eight protons respectively. A mnemonic that can be used to differenti...
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James Ambrose

James "Jamie" Ambrose (1923-2006) was a neuroradiologist and co-developer of the first CT scanner with physicist Godfrey Hounsfield. Together they performed the first ever CT scan on a living patient in 1971 1. Early life James Abraham Edward Ambrose was born on 5 April 1923 in Pretoria, South...
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Jewelry artifacts

It is common to see jewelry artifacts on imaging examinations, most commonly plain radiographs, although also on other modalities, where they can produce unhelpful artifacts that may obscure important structures and preclude confident diagnostic evaluation 1. These include: body piercings in m...
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Joule

The joule (J) is the derived SI unit of energy quantity. One joule represents the work exerted by a force of one newton acting over a distance of one meter in the direction of that force. Terminology As for all other eponymous units when the name is written out in full it is not capitalized, b...
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Joule heating effect

The Joule heating effect is the physical phenomenon whereby the passage of electric current in a metallic conductor produces heat. The effect is the physical phenomenon on which the heating of the cathode filament of a x-ray tube depends. The electric current flowing through the tungsten filame...
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Kerma

Kerma is a measure of energy transferred from radiation to matter and is an acronym for kinetic energy released to matter. It is related to, but not the same as absorbed dose. Kerma is measured by the SI unit, the gray (joules per kilogram). Kerma measures the amount of energy that is transferr...
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Kernel (image reconstruction for CT)

The kernel, also known as a convolution algorithm, refers to the process used to modify the frequency contents of projection data prior to back projection during image reconstruction in a CT scanner 1. This process corrects the image by reducing blurring 1. The kernel affects the appearance of i...
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Key figures in the history of radiology

In the history of radiology certain key figures stand out for their groundbreaking contributions to the establishment and development of radiology as a science, medical specialty and major advance in patient care. This list is by necessity arbitrary, although we (the editors) hope that the major...
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Kilovoltage peak

Kilovoltage peak (kVp) is the peak potential applied to the x-ray tube, which accelerates electrons from the cathode to the anode in radiography or computed tomography. Tube voltage, in turn, determines the quantity and quality of the photons generated. An increase in kVp extends and intensifies...
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k-space

k-space is an abstract concept and refers to a data matrix containing the raw MRI data. This data is subjected to mathematical function or formula called a transform to generate the final image. A discrete Fourier or fast Fourier transform 1-3 is generally used though other transforms such as th...
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K-trans (MR perfusion)

Ktrans is a measure of capillary permeability obtained using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MR perfusion. It is calculated by measuring the accumulation of gadolinium-based contrast agent in the extravascular-extracellular space.  Increased permeability of vessels in the brain is seen in a var...
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Lactate peak

Lactate is one of the more important compounds assessed on MR spectroscopy, and resonates at 1.3 ppm chemical shift, with a characteristic double peak at long TEs. It is however superimposed on the lipid band, and using an intermediate TE (e.g. 144ms) will invert only lactate allowing it to be d...
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LaPlace's law

LaPlace's law is useful in thinking about dilated tubular structures, such as the bowel or vessels (e.g. aortic aneurysms). The relationship between wall tension and radius shows why more dilated regions of a tube develop more wall stress and therefore are at higher risk for perforation: wall t...
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Late gadolinium enhancement

Late gadolinium enhancement is a technique used in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging for cardiac tissue characterization, in particular, the assessment of regional scar formation and myocardial fibrosis 1-5. Terminology Late gadolinium enhancement is also known under the terms ‘late enhanceme...
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Lateral resolution (ultrasound)

Lateral resolution in ultrasound refers to the ability to discern to separate objects that are lateral to each other. Lateral resolution is roughly four times worse than axial resolution in ultrasound. It is primarily determined by the beam width of the ultrasound beam. Strategies to improve la...
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Law of Bergonié and Tribondeau

The law of Bergonie and Tribondeau is that the radiosensitivity of a biological tissue is directly proportional to the mitotic activity and inversely proportional to the degree of differentiation of its cells. This law underpins the field of radiation-oncology, although such a general law may no...
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Lead equivalent personal protection equipment

Lead equivalent personal protection equipment (PPE) should be available in all radiology departments and operating suites. There are three traditional principles for ionizing radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding. It is important to remember that all three principles have a part to pla...
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Linear array

Ultrasound transducers that produce images via linear array typically contain 256-512 elements, making them the largest assembly. Each element produces a scan line that makes up the ultrasound image. Multiple adjacent elements combine to produce an ultrasound beam that is emitted at 90 degrees ...
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Linear attenuation coefficient

Linear attenuation coefficient (µ) is a constant that describes the fraction of attenuated incident photons in a monoenergetic beam per unit thickness of a material 1. It includes all possible interactions including coherent scatter, Compton scatter and photoelectric effect 1. Its complement is ...
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Linear energy transfer

Linear energy transfer is the average (radiation) energy deposited per unit path length along the track of an ionizing particle. Its units are keV/μm. Linear energy transfer describes the energy deposition density of a particular type of radiation, which largely determines the biological conseq...
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Line focus principle

The line focus principle in radiography explains the relationship between the actual focal spot on the anode surface and the effective focal spot size. Basic concept The focal spot is the area of the target upon which the electron beam impinges. The energy of the electrons in the electron beam...
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Lipids peak

Lipids are a collection of related compounds examined in MR spectroscopy. They resonates at 1.3 ppm chemical shift, and are markers of severe tissue damage with liberation of membrane lipids, as is seen in cerebral infarction or cerebral abscesses. It is also encountered in cerebral metastases a...
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Longitudinal and transverse magnetization

Longitudinal magnetism and transverse magnetism are components of the net magnetism vector. Longitudinal magnetism Longitudinal magnetization is the component of the net magnetization vector parallel to the magnetic field (z-axis). This is due to a difference in the number of spins in parallel...
Article

Loopogram

A loopogram is a fluoroscopic study of an ileal conduit, which is a type of urinary diversion. Terminology This procedure is also known is an ileal conduitogram, ileal loopography or ileostoureterography.  Procedure It is a retrograde study in which contrast is injected via the anterior abdo...
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Low-field magnetic resonance imaging

Low-field magnetic resonance imaging is an emerging approach to MRI imaging, which aims to provide diagnostic image quality using devices with several magnitude lower field strength (typically well under 0.1T) than most stationary units. The reduced field strength of these devices allows improv...
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Lymphoscintigraphy

Lymphoscintigraphy is a nuclear medicine technique to visualize regional lymphatic drainage, especially for mapping sentinel lymph nodes, from a site of radiopharmaceutical injection. Radiopharmaceutical Colloidal agents are used as these particles enter lymphatic channels and migrate to lymph...
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Mach bands

Mach bands or the Mach effect refers to an optical phenomenon from edge enhancement due to lateral inhibition of the retina 2. This is an inbuilt edge enhancement mechanism of the retina, where the edges of darker objects next to lighter objects will appear lighter and vice versa, creating a fal...
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Magic angle effect (MRI artifact)

The magic angle is an MRI artifact which occurs on sequences with a short TE (less than 32ms; T1W sequences, PD sequences and gradient echo sequences).  It is confined to regions of tightly bound collagen at 54.74° from the main magnetic field (B0), and appears hyperintense, thus potentially be...
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Magnetic dipole

Magnetic dipoles are the magnetic equivalent of an electric dipole, where the two charges are positive and negative, with a flow of electric charge and surrounding electric field. Magnets are bipolar, having two poles: north and south. The term dipole means two charges.  In a magnetic dipole, th...
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Magnetic dipole moment

The magnetic dipole moment is a quantity that represents the strength and orientation of the magnetic dipoles. This can be represented by the torque that a material experiences when added to a magnetic field. The stronger the magnetic moment, the stronger the magnetic field and the stronger the ...
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Magnetic field

The magnetic field describes the influence a magnet has on its surrounding area. Magnets create a magnetic field or line of force running from the magnetic north to the magnetic south pole of the magnet. Magnetic fields are the result of intrinsic magnetic moments and moving electric charges wit...
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Magnetic field gradient

Signal localization for image construction in MR is based on adding a magnetic field gradient onto the main (constant) magnetic field. In 1973, Paul Lauterbur published the idea in Nature of deliberately superimposing linear field gradients on the main magnetic field. Along each gradient, the s...
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Magnetic field homogeneity

One of the key concepts in assessing the quality of a magnet is that of magnetic field homogeneity, as it will relate to image quality and the presence of artifacts.Field homogeneity refers to the uniformity of the main magnetic field when no patient is present, measured in parts per million (pp...
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Magnetic particle imaging

Magnetic particle imaging (commonly abbreviated as MPI) is an emerging cross-sectional imaging technique that in the future may be a new clinical imaging modality offering high resolution, dynamic functional imaging without utilizing ionizing radiation.  Physics MPI is a tracer imaging techniq...
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Magnetic resonance lymphangiography

Magnetic resonance lymphangiography (MRL) is an imaging technique used to visualize and map the lymphatic vessels. The technique is used for treatment planning in supermicrosurgical procedures, including lymphaticovenous anastomosis, lymphaticolymphatic bypass and vascularized lymph node transfe...
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Magnetic resonance neurography

Magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) is a relatively new non-invasive imaging technique for dedicated assessment of peripheral nerves. It is used to assess peripheral nerve entrapments and impingements as well as localization and grading of nerve injuries and lesions. Dedicated high-resolution...
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Magnetic shielding

Magnetic shielding refers to the attempt to isolate or block the magnetic field of the MRI magnet.  This can be done to prevent unwanted interference from the MRI magnet on nearby electronic devices.  This is different from radiofrequency shielding, which is the attempt to prevent the unwanted i...
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Magnetic shimming

Magnetic shimming refers to the process of reducing magnetic field inhomogeneities. It is an important aspect of optimizing image quality. Field inhomogeneities can be the result by both intrinsic magnet properties and the surrounding environment of the MR magnet – such as the presence of nearby...
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Magnetic susceptibility

Magnetic susceptibility is the ability of external magnetic fields to affect the nuclei of an atom. This may also be thought of as the “magnetisability” of a material, or the extent to which a material becomes magnetized when placed in an external magnetic field. Magnetic susceptibility is rela...
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Magnetic susceptibility artifact

Magnetic susceptibility artifacts (or just susceptibility artifacts) refer to a variety of MRI artifacts that share distortions or local signal change due to local magnetic field inhomogeneities from a variety of compounds.  They are especially encountered while imaging near metallic orthopedic...
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Magnetization transfer

Magnetization transfer (MT) imaging is an MRI technique that can be used to exploit the contrast between tissues where 1H protons are present in three states1: bound to macromolecules in free water as water in the hydration layer between the macromolecules and the free water To assess MT, an...
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Magnetism

Magnetism is a property of matter that is a result of the orbiting electrons in atoms. The orbiting electrons cause the atoms to have a magnetic moment associated with an intrinsic angular momentum called spin.  Magnetic field strengths are measured in tesla (T), a derived SI unit. The equivale...
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Magnetomotive ultrasound

Magnetomotive ultrasound (MMUS) is an emerging medical imaging modality, which utilizes the discrete tissue vibration caused by superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles under an external magnetic field.  Physics If an external time-varying magnetic field is applied (e.g. using an elec...
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Magnets (types)

Magnets used for MRI are of three types: permanent, resistive and superconductive. Permanent MRI magnets Permanent MRI magnets use permanently magnetized iron like a large bar magnet that has been twisted into a C-shape where the two poles are close together and parallel. In the space between ...
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Mammography

Mammography is a dedicated radiographic technique for imaging the breast. Types of mammography In general terms, there are two types of mammography: screening and diagnostic. Mammography differs significantly in many respects from the rest of diagnostic imaging. Screening mammography  In ge...
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Manoel de Abreu

Manoel de Abreu (1892-1962) was a Brazilian radiologist who developed chest photofluorography, which was introduced in 1936. Early life Manoel de Abreu was the son of Julio Antunes de Abreu and Mercedes da Rocha Dias. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on 4 January 1892 1. He graduated in 1913 ...
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Marie Skłodowska Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie​ (1867-1934) was a Polish-born, French scientist known for her pioneering work in radioactivity. Much of her early work was in collaboration with her husband Pierre Curie (1859-1906). Her work shaped medicine, warfare and scientific research for countless generations, earn...
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Mass attenuation coefficient

The mass attenuation coefficient (also known as the mass absorption coefficient) is a constant describing the fraction of photons removed from a monochromatic x-ray beam by a homogenous absorber per unit mass. It is equivalent to the linear attenuation coefficient divided by the density of the ...
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Maximum intensity projection

Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP) consists of projecting the voxel with the highest attenuation value on every view throughout the volume onto a 2D image 1. Such an algorithm is rather simple: for each XY coordinate, only the pixel with the highest Hounsfield number along the Z-axis is represe...
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Maxwell (CGS unit)

The maxwell (symbol: Mx) is the CGS unit of magnetic flux and was superseded by the weber, the unit in the SI system.  Terminology As per all other eponymous measurement units when the unit is written out in full it is not capitalized, but when shortened to its symbol it is capitalized. Histo...
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Mean glandular dose

The mean glandular dose (MGD) is an estimate of the average absorbed dose to the glandular tissues of a breast during mammography. It is measured in Gray (Gy). The most commonly accepted method of calculating the mean glandular dose is described by Dance et al (2000):                          ...
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Mean transit time (MTT)

Mean transit time (MTT) corresponds to the average time, in seconds, that red blood cells spend within a determinate volume of capillary circulation. It is assessed as part of the CT perfusion protocol and MR perfusion. Mean transit time is calculated by dividing cerebral blood volume (CBV) by ...
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Mechanical index

The mechanical index (MI) is an attempt to measure part of an ultrasound beam's bioeffects. The mechanical index is found on most ultrasound display screens, along with the thermal index. Mechanical index is proportional to an ultrasound beam's peak negative pressure (or peak rarefaction pressu...
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Meglumine iotroxate (Biliscopin)

Meglumine iotroxate (BiliscopinTM) is an iodinated, intravenous contrast agent that is preferentially excreted into the biliary tree and is used in CT intravenous cholangiography. The typical dose is 100 mL Biliscopin (105 mg meglumine iotroxate/mL; 5.0 g iodine), which is administered via slow...
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Metal artifact reduction algorithm

Metal artifact reduction (MAR) algorithms are used to improve CT image quality in patients with metalware, however, can be affected by novel artifacts 1-3. There are a number of commercially-available algorithms (in 2019) 1,3: iterative MAR (iMAR) - Siemens MAR for orthopedic implants (O-MAR) ...
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Metal artifact reduction sequence

A metal artifact reduction sequence (MARS) is intended to reduce the size and intensity of susceptibility artifacts resulting from magnetic field distortion. A variety of techniques are used for reducing metal artifacts at MRI, both for addressing artifacts due to the presence of metal in the i...
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Metastable state

A metastable state of an isomer is defined as an excited state that exists for greater than 10-6 seconds. In chemical notation, metastable species are identified by the letter 'm'. Typically, excited nuclei will instantaneously decay to a more stable energy state (within 10-15 seconds), emittin...
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Microbubbles

Microbubbles are intravenous contrast agents used in contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Microbubble contrast agent is different to the agitated saline contrast agent often used in echocardiographic studies. Microbubbles consist of a gas surrounded by a lipid, lipopolymer, or polymer shell. They rang...
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Milliampere-seconds (mAs)

Milliampere-seconds more commonly known as mAs is a measure of radiation produced (milliamperage) over a set amount of time (seconds) via an x-ray tube. It directly influences the radiographic density, when all other factors are constant. An increase in current (mA) results in a higher producti...
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Minimum intensity projection (MinIP)

Minimum intensity projection (MinIP) is a data visualization method that enables detection of low-density structures in a given volume. The algorithm uses all the data in a volume of interest to generate a single bidimensional image, in other words, it consists of projecting the voxel with the l...
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Mirror image artifact

Mirror image artifact in sonography is seen when there is a highly reflective surface (e.g. diaphragm) in the path of the primary beam. The primary beam reflects from such a surface (e.g. diaphragm) but instead of directly being received by the transducer, it encounters another structure (e.g. ...
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Missile effect - MRI safety

Missile effect (or projectile effect) denotes the attraction exerted by the static magnetic field of the MRI scanner on ferromagnetic objects accidentally introduced into the MRI-scanner room (i.e. oxygen bottles, scissors, chairs, etc). This effect involves the risk of impact with the patient (...
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MKS system

The MKS (or mks) system (or meter-kilogram-second) of units predated the current International System of Units (also known as SI), which is the current iteration of the metric system. Although many fields, including most of the healthcare sciences have abandoned the MKS system for everyday work...
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M-mode (ultrasound)

Often utilized for its excellent axial and temporal resolution of structures, M-mode (or motion mode) is a form of ultrasonography in which a single scan line is emitted, received, and displayed graphically. An M-mode recording is conventionally displayed with the abscissa representing time and ...
Article

Modulation transfer function

The modulation transfer function (MTF) is the spatial frequency response of an imaging system or a component. It is the contrast at a given spatial frequency relative to low frequencies. On the radiogram, objects having different sizes and opacity are displayed with different gray-scale values....
Article

Moiré fringes

Moiré fringes are an interference pattern most commonly seen when acquiring gradient echo images using the body coil. Because of lack of perfect homogeneity of the main magnetic field from one side of the body to the other, aliasing of one side of the body to the other results in superimpositio...
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Molecular tumbling rate effects on T1 and T2

The average rate at which molecules tumble (and therefore T1 and T2 time) is related to the molecular size. Small molecules (e.g. water/CSF) have a broad distribution of motional frequencies with poor matching with the Larmor frequency and therefore have long T1 values. Medium sized molecules (e...
Article

Motion artifact

Motion artifact is a patient-based artifact that occurs with voluntary or involuntary patient movement during image acquisition. Misregistration artifacts, which appear as blurring, streaking, or shading, are caused by patient movement during a CT scan. Blurring also occurs with patient movemen...
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MR angiography

Magnetic resonance angiography (usually shortened to MR angiography or MRA) is an alternative to conventional angiography and CT angiography, eliminating the need for ionizing radiation and iodinated contrast media, and sometimes contrast media altogether. It has evolved into several techniques ...
Article

MR elastography

MR elastography (MRE) is an MRI technique that can be used to assess liver stiffness. This is useful to not only detect the development of fibrosis in diffuse liver disease but also to quantify it and monitor liver fibrosis change with (or without) therapy. The main advantage over ultrasound el...
Article

MR enterography

MR enterography (MRE) is a non-invasive technique for the diagnosis of small bowel disorders. Note: This article is intended to outline some general principles of protocol design. The specifics will vary depending on MRI hardware and software, radiologist's and referrer's preference, institutio...
Article

MR feature tracking

MR feature tracking refers to an MRI based post-processing method, used on normal cine SFFP sequences for the analysis of myocardial deformation and the determination of myocardial strain parameters. Methodology MRI feature tracking is a two-dimensional software algorithm applied on standard c...
Article

MR fingerprinting

MR fingerprinting (MRF) is a relatively recent approach to the acquisition and evaluation of MRI data aimed at generating quantitative multiparametric data from a single acquisition.  The underlying process is acquiring data in a pseudorandom manner resulting in a unique pattern of signal evolu...
Article

MRI

MRI (an abbreviation of magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging modality that uses non-ionizing radiation to create useful diagnostic images. In simple terms, an MRI scanner consists of a large, powerful magnet in which the patient lies. A radio wave antenna is used to send signals to the bod...
Article

MRI artifacts

MRI artifacts are numerous and give an insight into the physics behind each sequence. Some artifacts affect the quality of the MRI exam while others do not affect the diagnostic quality but may be confused with pathology. When encountering an unfamiliar artifact, it is useful to systematically ...
Article

MRI contrast agents

MRI contrast agents have become an indispensable part of contemporary magnetic resonance imaging. Although MRI was initially hoped to provide a means of making definitive diagnoses without administering contrast media, it has been found that the addition of contrast agents in many cases improves...
Article

MRI contrast agent safety

Though considered safer than the frequently used iodinated contrast agents used in x-ray and CT studies, there are safety issues with MRI contrast agents as well. Paramagnetic metal ions suitable as MRI contrast agents are all potentially toxic when injected IV at or near doses needed for clinic...
Article

MRI electronics and data processing

As an introduction to the electronics and data processing of the MRI scanner, a schematic diagram has been provided (figure 1). Starting from the right hand side, we have the computer that directs all of the action in the MRI acquisition and acquires and processes the data. The computer tells t...
Article

MRI physics

The physics of MRI are complicated and much harder to understand than those underpinning image generation in plain radiography, CT or ultrasound.  What follows is a very abbreviated, 'broad strokes' description of the process. Essentially, the process can be broken down into four parts: prepar...
Article

MRI protocol article structure

Articles describing specific MRI protocols require a different set of subheadings as the usual epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathology, etc. are not relevant. Example article: ankle protocol (MRI) =============================================================================== An introd...
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MRI pulse sequence abbreviations

This article contains a list of commonly and less commonly used MRI pulse sequence abbreviations and their meaning. If available, an explanation is included in a separate article. image weighting T1 T2  ​T2*: T2 star PD: proton density DWI: diffusion-weighted imaging and ADC: apparent diff...

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