Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has become established as a diagnostic and research tool in many areas of medicine because of its ability to provide excellent soft-tissue delineation in different areas of interest. In addition to T1- and T2-weighted imaging, many specialized MR techniques have been designed to extract metabolic or biophysical information. Diffusion-weighted imaging gives insight into the movement of water molecules in tissue, and diffusion-tensor imaging can reveal fiber orientation in the white matter tracts. Metabolic information about the object of interest can be obtained with spectroscopy of protons, in addition to imaging of other nuclei, such as sodium. Dynamic contrast material-enhanced imaging and recently proton spectroscopy play an important role in oncologic imaging. When these techniques are combined, they can assist the physician in making a diagnosis or monitoring a treatment regimen. One of the major advantages of the different types of MR imaging is the ability of the operator to manipulate image contrast with a variety of selectable parameters that affect the kind and quality of the information provided. The elements used to obtain MR images and the factors that affect formation of an MR image include MR instrumentation, localization of the MR signal, gradients, k-space, and pulse sequences.