MRI stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging”. It is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of organs and tissues within your body. MRI machines are usually large, cylinder-shaped magnets that you lie inside of while the machine spins and creates the image of your body’s tissues. MRI’s are used by orthopedic surgeons to diagnose or confirm tears and injuries to tissues in your body. For example, an orthopedic surgeon will order an MRI of a person, who was involved in a car accident and complains of pain in his or her shoulder. The MRI will create an image of the ligament and tendon tissues in the body to determine if either are torn.
This is different than an x-ray, as an x-ray will show the bone and any fractures or breaks in the bone.