Magnetic resonance imaging in head and neck radiodiagnosis: An overview
Journal of Medicine Radiology Pathology & Surgery
Necessity is the mother of invention"... so goes the age old adage. The insight into the human body has always fascinated man. When diseases and disorders went beyond comprehension, man invented imaging to learn more about the internal architecture of the body. The zeal to gain more information about the underlying disease process compelled researchers, to seek out for the better imaging modalities could help eliminate the drawbacks of conventional imaging and at the same time provide accurate
... e provide accurate visualization of the internal body structure. With the introduction of high field magnets, advancements in operational procedures through the evolution of hardware and software and the ability to image hyperpolarized nuclei of He 3 and Xe 129 in addition to H atoms, the arrival of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the early 1970's has been revolutionary. An increased knowledge base over the years has provided a better understanding of how it can best be utilized, either alone or in conjunction with other techniques, in order to maximize diagnostic certainty. Although its application was initially limited to the neuro-axis, it has now widened to cover all the regions of the body including the head and neck. The advantages of being a non-ionizing technique and at the same time providing excellent soft tissue resolution earmarks this imaging technique to particular situations in head and neck radiodiagnosis. Inflammatory and neoplastic pathologies affecting the salivary glands, nasopharynx, paranasal sinuses, lymph nodes, orbits, and intracranial structures are particularly amenable to MRI studies. Furthermore, such pathologies affecting the temporomandibular joint and its soft tissue counterparts are unambiguous candidates for a detailed MRI examination. In this backdrop, this paper aims at reviewing the various applications of MRI in the head and neck region. Actual MRI images of head and neck pathologies shall be presented accompanying the literature.