What exactly is an FMRI?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

An FMRI, also known as a functional MRI, is an updated version of the MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, machines that are used in the medical field today. The MRI is employed to detect brain activity and to scan other parts of the body for more information on injuries and illnesses.

A typical MRI scan does not detect blood flow or metabolic processes. FMRIs, on the other hand, do recognize activated areas of the brain along with increased blood flow, which can give medical providers a better idea of the injuries someone has.

What are the benefits of an FMRI?

On the whole, MRI scans are as effective as FMRI scans, except for in two areas. First, the MRI cannot identify metabolic changes in the brain and body. Second, it’s not directly able to show blood flow.

For a patient who has a blockage in an artery in the brain, the FMRI will do a better job locating the problem. It will show the area of the brain that has swelling and where blood has stopped flowing. Comparatively, an MRI may only light up along areas of the brain affected by the blood clot and signify the location of the clot. Unlike the FMRI, the MRI is not as detailed, so medical providers may go into surgery or make a diagnosis based on less complete information.

For purely anatomical issues, an MRI is sufficient. In both cases, the images generated are like 3D images of the brain, but with the FMRI, areas of metabolic activity are highlighted for the medical provider’s use.

As a patient, you deserve the best care and to receive the best possible scans to diagnose your health problems. Traumatic brain injuries can affect metabolic functions, so an FMRI may be a better choice to see firsthand the damage that has been done.

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