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Finding the best tools to solve medical mysteries

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Published: 31 Jul 2007

A new review from the McGill University Health Centre explains how Magnetic Resonance Imaging can help doctors find the clue

A new review from the McGill University Health Centre explains how Magnetic Resonance Imaging can help doctors find the clue.

Making an accurate medical diagnosis is a lot like solving a mystery. Like Sherlock Holmes with his trusty magnifying glass, doctors need accurate medical imaging equipment to see the clues that will allow them to “break the case” and prescribe the best possible treatment.

For pediatric specialists, medical imaging is especially important since little patients cannot always explain how they feel. The new review by Dr. Ricardo Faingold, interim Director of the radiology team of the Montreal Children’s Hospital at the MUHC, published in the July/August 2007 issue of “Current problems in diagnostic radiology”, describes the most useful MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques and some of their applications for pathologies of the urinary tract in kids and fetuses.

MRI is a state-of-the-art imaging technique that provides the clearest possible images of soft tissues such as organs, blood vessels, tumors or cysts. It enables physicians to observe details that would not be made visible by other more traditional methods. In the image below, for example: the tumor is very visible in the right kidney:

Unlike other techniques that allow only one plan of an image, MRI makes it possible to acquire images on multiple plans, which can be compared and combined until the exact location of a structure, like the tumor above, is clear. Also, because it doesn’t use X-rays, MRI scanning is safe and involves no radiation, which is especially important when administering the test to children.

The MRI unit of the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC is renowned for its expertise in MRI imaging, and performs hundreds of these vital tests every year. That doesn’t mean that CT scans and ultra-sounds have become obsolete. They still are the first line imaging techniques, but MRI testing comes in useful when a more detailed image is required for diagnosis and to monitor treatment. By sharing this expertise with colleagues around the world, Dr. Faingold, who is also an associate professor of diagnostic radiology at McGill University, is ensuring that physicians have the best tools available to solve even the trickiest medical mystery.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital is the pediatric teaching hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The institution is a leader in the care and treatment of sick infants, children, and adolescents from across Quebec. The Montreal Children’s Hospital provides a high level and broad scope of health care services, and provides ultra specialized care in many fields including: cardiology and cardiac surgery; neurology and neurosurgery, traumatology; genetic research; psychiatry and child development and musculoskeletal conditions, including orthopedics and rheumatology. Fully bilingual and multicultural, the institution respectfully serves an increasingly diverse community in more than 50 languages. www.thechildren.com

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University––the Montreal Children’s, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge. www.muhc.ca

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Contact: Isabelle Kling
Organization: MUHC Public Relations and Communications
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