An MRI with contrast is an imaging procedure where a contrasting agent is used to enhance the appearance of certain images, explains Mayo Clinic. The contrasting agent that is typically used is called gadolinium, notes the FDA.
An MRI can be done without contrast, and precaution should be taken when using gadolinium in patients who are showing signs of renal failure or just before a liver transplant procedures, explains the FDA. The contrasting agents used with the MRI create high resolution images that allow physicians to closely examine the structures surrounding organs, tissues and the skeletal system. MRI procedures are often used to examine the brain and spinal cord, states May Clinic.