Whole Body Scans With MRI – A Wise Investment?

By Todd

Over the last decade, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has undergone significant evolution with respect to improvements in scanner strength, enhancements in image quality and clarity, and the ability to capture images in far less time. From a radiologists’ perspective these advances have dramatically impacted their ability to discern abnormalities that may have previously gone undetected.

A further advancement in the world of MRI, now available in British Columbia, is the use of MRI as screening tool for the early detection of a number of potentially life-threatening illnesses and disease.

So – is investing in a preventive MRI screening exam a sound investment? We think so and here’s why.

It provides your physician with exceptionally detailed information about a number of body systems, allowing for the early detection of disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. It allows the opportunity for treatment at an early stage for those cancers/illnesses that are currently undetected and asymptomatic. It offers peace of mind for those patients who have concerns about certain aspects of their health based on their family history and it provides a baseline of perhaps critically important information against which all future scans will be compared.

Does this mean that whole body MRI screening is able to identify every issue within your body? Absolutely not. As with all medical examinations, it has its recognized limitations.

Whole body MRI does not have the capability to effectively diagnose coronary artery disease or evaluate the lungs for cancer (all of which are better done with CT). In addition, as a screening tool it is not optimal for the diagnosis of early colon or prostate cancer. It is also important to recognize that while whole body MRI screening has the potential to uncover a cancerous finding early, this does not guarantee that the cancer found will react successfully to treatment.

Weighing these benefits & limitations, many patients are turning to whole body MRI screening as an investment in their quest for exceptional healthcare. Though it is not, and will never be, all things to all people it is a sound, principled examination, which yields important and perhaps critical information. It is a wise investment.

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