Magnetic resonance imaging of the orbit. Part I. Physical principles

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1989;5(3):151-9. doi: 10.1097/00002341-198909000-00001.


Magnetic resonance has twin capabilities. It can provide anatomical (magnetic resonance imaging, MRI) and physiochemical (magnetic resonance spectroscopy) information. Nuclei with an odd mass number, particularly hydrogen in free water, have electromagnetic properties. When placed in a strong static magnetic field and excited by radiofrequency waves of a specific wavelength, these nuclei emit a signal. The MR signal can then be digitized, stored in a computer, and subsequently converted into an image. Factors that affect these images are tissue parameters (T1 and T2 time constants, proton density, and flow) and radiofrequency pulse sequences. Surface coils are useful for improving images of the orbit. The magnet can have a major and potentially dangerous influence on the surrounding environment, and access to the MRI area must be carefully controlled. Shielding of the MRI room prevents external factors from adversely affecting the MRI unit and the images produced.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Orbit / anatomy & histology*
  • Physical Phenomena
  • Physics