Medical physics

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Improving reproducibility in MRI across different sites and scanners

MRI provides high quality, low noise images of soft tissue in the body. Unlike many other medical imaging techniques, MRI does not employ ionising radiation, and this means that there is no radiation dose to the patient. MRI is also unusual because there are many ways to form images, and many different types of information which can be measured using MRI scans. MRI can measure the magnetic properties of tissue, for example, but also information about its orientation, microstructure and even the way in which blood is flowing. All of these approaches can potentially be used clinically to assist with diagnosis and the monitoring of treatment.

This wide range of methodologies and techniques means that it can be challenging to optimise accuracy and reproducibility. This is particularly important when comparing images acquired at different hospitals which may have different models of MRI scanner. It is important to clinicians, researchers and patients that MRI procedures are standardised. Standardisation helps control different interpretations by different practitioners, varying types of equipment and different quality of the captured images.  We are working with clinicians and researchers to develop standards and procedures to maximise the use and interoperability of MRI resources nationally and internationally.

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