About Edward Soll

Dr. Soll graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1969 and interned at Ochsner Hospital. After completing a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Charity/USPHS hospitals he was certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1973. He has been practicing in greater Jefferson and New Orleans ever since and now directs his practice predominately to Musculo-skeletal, Spine and Prostate Cancer MRI.

The Importance of Low-Dose CTs as Lung Cancer Screenings

Survival rates are 5x higher when lung cancer is detected early.

Lung cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the United States and throughout much of the world. Because of the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the subsequent secondhand smoke, more people than ever before are being diagnosed with lung tumors and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 alone, as many as 153,718 people died from lung cancer.

Every year over 218,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer and have to begin treatment. What can be done to combat these overwhelming statistics?

To begin, education about the seriousness and detrimental effect that smoking has on the body must continue. Several anti-tobacco coalitions have been successful in their efforts of creating shock and disgust at the consequences of smoking like this commercial or this video. Children need to be shown these horrifying effects early in their education and the other harmful symptoms can results due to smoking: premature aging, fertility problems, tooth decay, mouth cancer, mood imbalances, and many other side effects. If children are given the truth, a truth they can see and touch, they will probably be less inclined to try smoking as teenagers or adults.

But it isn’t just children that need to learn the dangers of lung cancer. Parents, teachers and other role models need to set an example that smoking is a serious and harmful habit that only leads to sickness, disease, and ultimately death. In addition to practicing what they preach in their own life, adults can do their part to protect their children and friends by supporting legislation that seeks to eradicate workplace smoking in places like bars, music venues, and casinos. The employees that work in these areas are only trying to make a living for their family and yet they are exposed to massive amounts of secondhand smoke every day. So many stories already exist of service industry workers contracting lung cancer even though they themselves have never smoked a cigarette in their life. It should be stopped for their protection.

This life-changing diagnosis of lung cancer can be prevented or at the very least hindered. Come to Doctors Imaging to have a low-dose lung cancer screening test performed. By having a low-dose CT scan performed, you can reduce the amount of radiation you’ll be exposed to as well as getting a clear picture of the condition of your lungs.

You may qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test if you meet the following conditions:

  • Adults without symptoms aged 55 to 80 years
  • You have a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Having this procedure performed will help to give you, your doctors and your family better understanding of your medical condition and what the next steps should be in getting you healthy. The best part about this procedure is that it is only $99 at Doctors Imaging in Metairie as opposed to the $150-$200 price tag at hospitals.

Why is this procedure so important? By having a screening test done early — before symptoms begin — doctors can determine if there are treatments available to save a life. By having this procedure performed, the risk of death due to lung cancer can drop by almost 20%. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for staying healthy and with your family for longer, so consider Doctors Imaging for your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test.

Request your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test today using our appointment form or by calling 504-883-8111.

Too many Americans are overpaying for medical imaging services

Did you know that the cost of a colonoscopy can vary by greatly across different facilities in the same city and cost hundreds if not thousands more than a CT Colonoscopy?

Are you one of the 15 million Americans who undergo this routine procedure each year?

A 2015 study by the International Federation of Health Plans revealed that many patients across the country are vastly overpaying for their medical imaging services at hospitals, even when a much less expensive option is available. At Doctors Imaging, we are dedicated to spreading awareness about low-cost imaging services. We believe the patient comes first, and as a result, our top priority will always be providing high-quality services at the lowest prices available.

Many patients receive excessively priced medical imaging services every day, often at facilities that lack caring, thoughtful staff members. Doctors Imaging is determined to put an end to this trend. Every day we work to provide our patients with the absolute best service at prices that can’t be beaten.

Do not stand idly by while your friends and family are paying too much for their procedures at a hospital. You have already chosen to save with Doctors Imaging, now let them know how they can too, including the choice to have a CT Colonoscopy rather than a more invasive and overly expensive traditional colonoscopy. Join us in our mission to stop patients from overpaying for medical imaging.

For a sample list of our services and our prices for patients choosing to pay cash, see our Cash Pay Pricing sheet or call us for a quote for your upcoming exam at 504-883-8111.

Lung Cancer Detection in Louisiana Made Easy

Lung cancer is a devastating condition to suffer. There are as many as 228,000 new cases of lung cancer to be diagnosed in 2019 and as almost 142,000 people will die from lung cancer-related complications. This translates to about 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women will be likely to develop lung cancer. You can see that lung cancer statistics in the United States are alarming, which is why Louisiana doctors are committed to finding innovative ways and techniques to both detect and treat lung cancer.

As a patient, the symptoms of lung and or bronchi cancer can be difficult to see at first. Symptoms of lung cancer could be can be innocuous things like a cough that won’t seem to go away, chest pain with deep breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, feeling tired and weak or hoarseness in the voice. As you can see from this symptom list, these symptoms could be a bad chest cold. That is why lung cancer diagnoses are made when cancer has become serious or terminal because people are not trained to recognize the signs.

Like most cancers, there can be one reason or several reasons why someone develops cancer. Cigarette or tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. The Center for Disease Control has named smoking as “the number one risk factor for lung cancer” linking the habit to 80-90% of lung cancer diagnoses. Even if you are not a smoker, working or living around secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer. Cigarette smoke is loaded with carcinogens and other toxic chemicals like tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide that can develop into lung cancer without ever even smoking a cigarette. Other risk factors for lung cancer include radon exposure, a naturally occurring gas that can be trapped in homes and buildings, that rises from the ground. You can have your home or office tested for radon levels and the EPA has a set of guidelines for lowering the radon levels in your dwelling. Other risk factors for lung cancer include family history or genetic issues as well as exposure to toxic substances like asbestos and chromium.

Louisiana is one state in particular that has a high instance of lung cancer. 68 per 100,000 residents have lung cancer and 51 per 100,000 die every year from the condition in Louisiana alone. With statistics like this, it is lucky that lung cancer detection in Louisiana has been made easier and more advanced with the help of local facilities like Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Out of the entire state, there are 24 medical imaging centers that have received the accreditation of the American College of Radiology’s certificate of being an approved lung cancer screening facility.

Because of the prevalence of lung cancer in Louisiana, detection facilities have to be held to a higher standard. Accreditation from the American College of Radiology comes from outstanding factors like equipment used, the experience of physicians and technicians as well as the education of patients concerning their conditions and imaging procedures. Doctors Imaging is the only facility in the on the east bank of New Orleans to receive the accreditation and is proud to be a trusted place for lung cancer detection in Louisiana.

If you think that you may have lung cancer or would like to set up an appointment to discuss preventative measures, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. If you are not within the New Orleans area, you can view a list of ACR accredited lung cancer screening facilities in Louisiana to find a location that is closer to you.

The Many Medical (and Other Interesting) X-Ray Uses

X-rays are the oldest form of medical imaging. What is surprising is that the scientist who discovered X-rays, William Roentgen, didn’t even mean to discover them! He was experimenting with different light waves and ionizing radiation in 1895 and stumble upon what we know today as X-rays. He had no idea what he had discovered so he named the experiment “X” rays, like in math, X being an unknown variable.

If only Mr. Roentgen could have known the widespread effect that his discovery would have on so many different fields. Today we are discussing the many X-rays uses that we see and experience in everyday life.

Now, we all know that doctors and hospitals use X-rays. X-rays are beams of ionizing radiation that are sent toward the body and absorbed and then reflected back to the machine to form an image. The reason you only see bones when having an X-ray performed is because bones are denser than the tissues and organs surrounding them. These softer structures cannot absorb and reflect the X-rays back, so they aren’t seen. This is fine because there are procedures like CT scans and MRIs to examine those structures. However, on occasion doctors need a way to examine just the bones and X-rays are the best method. X-rays are used most often when doctors need to examine the bones of the body and check for breaks, fractures, deformities and other issues involving the skeleton.

Another kind of doctor that has X-ray uses are dentists. Because teeth are basically calcium, like bones, they can absorb enough of the X-ray in order to make an image. And dental X-rays can help with every kind of dental procedure from cavities to root canals to braces. Thanks to dental X-rays, we can see beyond the mouth and into the jawline and skull, allowing dentists to treat more than just one tooth at a time but actually see the entirety of mouth issues at once. This cuts down on number of infections, pulled teeth, and other dental nightmares.

Another common place you might not realize you are being exposed to X-ray uses is at the airport. Thanks to heightened security measures, airport scanners direct X-rays to travelers’ bodies in order to check for possible weapons or threats. Our luggage undergoes the same treatment. Because metal objects like guns or knives do have enough density to absorb and reflect X-rays, they appear when going through safety scanning systems. This technology keeps our airports and flight safe.

Another unexpected place to find X-rays uses? Fossils! That is right, fossils are bones that have managed to stand the test of time and they often undergo X-ray and MRI scans upon discovery. X-ray technology allows archaeologists to pull all kinds of fascinating and illuminating details about the way that creature, plant or object lived and died. By examining the bones of prehistoric skeletons we can discover everything from age to weight to ethnicity. Truly amazing!

X-ray uses are varied and far-reaching and we at Doctors Imaging hope that continuing research and technology will improve upon an invaluable service. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our X-rays do not even use the same kind of ionizing radiation that most hospitals and previous generations knew. Our X-ray capabilities are entirely digital allowing for the same high quality images without radiation.

Want to schedule your X-ray at Doctors Imaging, you can call our office at 504-833-8111 or you can fill out our Book an Appointment feature or Request a Quote for your X-ray procedure online!

The Steps to MRI Preparation

If you have an MRI scheduled and have never had this procedure performed, there are a few things that you are probably wondering. What is going to happen? Will it hurt? What should I tell my doctor? Can I have an MRI performed?

Don’t worry, we have had these questions asked to us many times so we have compiled some helpful answers concerning MRI preparation and procedure. We understand that having these kind of procedures performed can be frightening, especially for the first time. So we want to help minimize your fears and anxiety so that we can gain conclusive results and have you return to our office for your future medical imaging needs.

The first thing you are probably wondering at an MRI is “Will it hurt?”

The answer? No! Not even a little bit.

MRIs are a completely non-invasive medical procedure designed to take images of the interior of the body without making a single incision. MRIs use the power of magnetic fields along with sound waves in order to procure images of the body’s organs and tissues. This means no pain at all. Sometimes contrast material has to be used with a patient, in which cause we will administer it intravenously and besides a cool sensation at the injection site that is all!

The most uncomfortable part for most patients is lying still for the procedure. It can be frustrating but it is crucial that patients lie as still as possible while being examined. Movement can drastically reduce the clarity of the MR images. For some, the hardest part of having an MRI performed is the closed in feeling that can come upon entering the MRI chamber. If you are a person that suffers from claustrophobia and you think these feelings might interfere with your appointment, ask our doctors about an open MRI to help keep you comfortable.

Now before the procedure begins, be sure to look over these few rules before the procedure actually begins.

  • Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
  • Notify your technologist if you have:
    • any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
    • a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart valve
    • an intrauterine device (IUD),
    • any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
    • tattoos and permanent make-up.
    • a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.
    • if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
    • if you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.

It is really important that you be honest with your doctor about the above mentioned details. Not only can they damage the machine but they can also interfere with your images. Just remember that the procedure is totally painless and lasts only 30-45 minutes if you follow our MRI preparation guide. The information gained from these imaging procedures can be extremely beneficial, all without making a single incision. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Siemens 3T MRI, the most powerful MRI on the clinical market today. Not only are you getting access to state of the art equipment and years of radiology experience but our prices will beat that of the big metro hospitals.

If you would like to book your MRI appointment, you can do so by calling our office at 504-833-8111 or you can book online with our Request Appointment feature.

MRI of the Spine May Help You & the Doctors Treating Your Pain

Since the spine is central in all forms of movement, posture, even resting positions require the use of the spine, spinal pain can one of the most debilitating kinds of pain. When you are having spinal difficulties or pain, life can just slow down. Some can’t move, work or relax without the presence of pain. Understanding the reason behind this kind of spine pain can be the key to getting your life and activities back.

There are several options for those with spinal pain: medication, physical therapy, massage therapy, exercise, and surgery but if you don’t get to the reason behind your spinal pain, you might just be treating the symptoms. The advanced technology of MRIs and other forms of medical imaging could help unlock the cause behind spinal pain.

If you are complaining to your doctor about persistent spinal pain that is interfering in your daily life, they will likely recommend some medical imaging tests in order to confirm a diagnosis.

A spinal X-ray will likely be the first recommended procedure to rule out any structural changes or abnormalities. X-rays are used when examining bone structure, density and alignment. X-rays are beams of ionizing radiation directed at the body. Because bones are denser and sometimes bigger than organs and soft tissues, they are able to absorb more of the X-rays and reflect a clearer image. One of the most common sources of spinal pain are issues like herniated (slipped) discs, bulging discs, and spinal sprains. Beyond that, most spinal injuries are the result of accidents, violence or medical conditions like scoliosis or arthritis. X-rays are totally painless and can provide a basis of reference for any skeletal problem or condition that might be causing you pain.

If a spinal X-ray proves to be inconclusive at finding a reason behind your back pain, a spinal MRI would be the next step. There are limitations with what X-rays can uncover because they can only image the skeleton. MRIs are better at imaging the musculoskeletal system, meaning to go beyond the bone structure and into the soft tissues, nerves and muscles surrounding your spine that could be equal players in your spinal pain. The body’s movements depend on the cooperation between all of these systems along with the spine to provide normal, healthy function.

Scheduling a spinal MRI is a helpful practice when there is a need to examine diseased tissue of the spine, pinched and inflamed nerves, monitoring spinal fusion surgery, infections and the possibility of tumors. MRI technology uses the power of magnetic field along with computer technology to create images. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, there is no radiation involved in an MRI. By combining both an X-ray technology and MRI capabilities, doctors can cover most of the bases when it comes to discovering the cause of spinal pain.

Once you know the cause of your back pain, you can begin configuring a treatment plan with your doctor. Having to live with back pain can decrease your quality of life, so do what is possible to find a solution to your back pain. If you are worried about the cost of medical imaging in regards to your spinal pain, consider coming to Doctors Imaging for your procedures. We accept multiple insurance plans and are open to creating payment plans for those patients that do not currently have insurance. We are even open on Saturdays for those spinal MRI patients that cannot make an appointment during our weekday hours.

If you have more questions about how medical imaging can help to increase your quality of life regarding your back pain, please check out our X-ray Service Page or our MRI Service Page for more information. You can also call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak with a representative from Doctors Imaging about scheduling your appointment.

The Difference Between Different Types of Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds are a very common and popular form of medical imaging. They are painless, offer no risk of radiation and can provide details of the interior of the body without making a single incision. However, there are various kinds of ultrasounds that can be administered for different parts of the body and different kinds of conditions. Knowing the kind of ultrasound one needs is crucial to understanding health conditions.

Most people are aware of ultrasounds in relation to pregnancy. Ultrasounds use sonar power or sound waves in order to create images of the organs and fetuses without having to make incisions or use contrast material. Sound waves reverberate off the organs and bones and the ultrasound machine interprets the change in sound waves and uses computer technology to make an image. Because of the comfort on the part of the patient in concert with the information gleaned for doctors, ultrasounds are now able to do so much more. Ultrasounds can be performed in 3D and 4D, allowing parents to see unborn children’s features and movement in higher, clearer quality than ever before.

Ultrasounds are used for more than just pregnancy. They can determine problems like internal bleeding, thyroid complications, and vascular, reproductive and sexual issues. One of the most interesting forms of ultrasound is a Doppler ultrasound. Most people remember the word “Doppler” from high school science when discussing why it is that you can hear an ambulance coming from far away but once it is right in front of you, the sound dissipates. That kind of sound science can even be applied in a medical sense (but without the loud sirens).

Doppler ultrasound can map the movement of blood through veins in the body. This is extremely useful if there is a possible blockage in the vein. Blood blockages are what causes things like strokes, heart attacks, amputations, and other kinds of problems. The most common places to perform a Doppler ultrasound are at the neck and abdominal arteries leading to and from the brain and heart, mainly the aortic and carotid arteries.

During a carotid Doppler ultrasound, the transducer or ultrasound wand is held against the neck with ultrasound gel to prevent air pockets from forming as sound cannot penetrate the air. Patients report hearing pulse like sounds when the procedure is happening. A carotid Doppler ultrasound differs from other forms of ultrasound because it is measures the direction and speed of blood cells as they move throughout the vessels. The movement causes a change in the pitch of reverberating sound waves. This way doctors can tell if there is a blockage or damage to the vessel that could be detrimental to the healthy blood flow needed in the body.

If you are concerns about cardiovascular health or high blood pressure, consider having one of these ultrasounds performed. If you are aware that you are high risk for heart attack or stroke, having crucial medical information gained from ultrasounds could save your life.

If you have more questions about ultrasounds or would like to schedule an ultrasound appointment, please view our Ultrasound Service Page for more information. You can also schedule an ultrasound appointment with our Request Appointment Tool. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging office in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak with a representative.

Diagnosing Emphysema with Medical Imaging

Emphysema is just one of several conditions under the umbrella term “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” COPD is a condition that causes the lungs to have difficulty taking in air. COPD includes conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Emphysema is the deadliest of the conditions and we will explore the symptoms and the diagnosis process. In Louisiana alone, almost 7% of the population is affected by COPD.

What does emphysema look like? To begin, the interior of the lungs are filled with small air sacs called alveoli. These air sacs expand with oxygen when you breathe in and allow oxygen to get into the bloodstream. Emphysema is a condition that causes these air sacs to weaken and ultimately rupture. When they rupture, there is less area for oxygen to be taken in and since emphysema is a chronic condition, these alveolus will continue to weaken and rupture until the lungs are not able to expand and contract on their own.

Emphysema is most notably a result of cigarette or tobacco smoking. The chemicals found in cigarette smoke can total over 7,000 and they are extremely toxic to the entirety of the body, but the lungs take most of damage. Upon inhalation, the hot smoke and toxic chemicals damage the lung tissue and with an addictive habit like cigarettes, the damage happens multiple times a day for years. With every puff, more lung tissue dies and once it is dead, there is no replacing it. That is why long-term smokers account for 80% of all emphysema diagnosis in the United States.

If you are a long term smoker or a former smoker and are over the age of 50, your chances for developing emphysema are much higher. If you suspect that you might be developing emphysema, you might be wondering what are the symptoms. The signs of COPD or emphysema can be confused with other conditions because things like shortness of breath or difficulty catching breath could be misconstrued as part of the aging process or the result of lifestyle choices. You see, as the air sacs are slowly destroyed, air becomes trapped in the lungs and is difficult to expel as well as obtain. Furthermore, if you are experiencing a tightness in the chest that does not seem to pass, these could be the beginning warning signs of COPD and possibly emphysema.

Diagnosing emphysema requires a few different tests. To begin, the doctor will use a physical examination to test things like your vitals and blood pressure. Following a physical, doctors will usually perform a combination of pulmonary function tests to examine the strength and performance of the lungs. Pulmonary function tests include breathing into tubes that can test how much air you are expelling, how fast it is being expelled, and how much air remains after exhalation.

If the results of the pulmonary function test prove conclusive toward symptoms of COPD, doctors will use medical imaging to confirm the diagnosis. A chest X-ray is often performed to see if the lungs have become enlarged because of excess air or if there are structural changes in the lungs. However, diagnosing emphysema cannot be done with a chest x-ray alone. Chest CT scans are also used to diagnose COPD because they can show pockets of air in the lungs which are symptomatic of damage from COPD. All of these procedures are completely painless and require no invasive surgery and yet still provide accurate details and diagnosis.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we assist doctors and hospitals in the diagnosis, treatment and aftercare of sick or injured patients. Our facility offers state of the art medical technology along with decades of professional experience. We have dealt with the concerning statistic of lung cancer and lung-related ailments in Louisiana for many years and our equipment and experience has afforded to be the only American College of Radiology certified Lung Cancer Screening center in the greater New Orleans area. We are committed to keeping Louisiana healthy and making our services fast, affordable and comfortable for our patients.

If you have more questions about medical imaging pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of emphysema, please take a look at our X-ray Service Page and our CT Service Page for more information about these procedures and what to expect before yours. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you may do so using our Request an Appointment feature or you can call Doctors Imaging’s office in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak to a representative.

Know the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children

Appendicitis is one of the primary causes of childhood surgery and if parents cannot recognize the symptoms quickly, it can lead to a great deal of pain for children and fear for parents.

What is the Appendix?

The appendix is a small pouch, about 4-5 inches long, that rests on the anterior, right side of the body and connects to the large intestine. The appendix is an organ that most physicians believe serves no function because of the lack of symptoms after removal. Researchers theorize that the appendix might be an organ that can reboot the immune system with healthy bacteria after a bout of infection in the digestive system.

How Does the Appendix Become Infected?

When bacteria is trapped in the appendix, the organ becomes inflamed due to antibodies flooding the organ in the hopes of fighting off dangerous infections. Trapped bacteria can be the result of a hard collection of stool or by pressure on the lymph node in the groin. When the bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. This is usually when the abdominal pain begins in children.

If the appendix pain is left untreated, the organ will fill up with pus and bacteria and rupture. A ruptured appendix will cause extreme abdominal pain along with other symptoms such as: fever, vomiting, loss of energy and appetite and will need immediate medical attention. If your child is complaining of persistent stomach ache or pain and it hurts to touch their right side of their body, you can be almost sure that their appendix is infected and needs to be removed.

How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

Appendicitis in children is often the child’s first experience with any kind of surgery. Broken bones, falls and accidents are typical reasons why children visit the emergency room, so if you can recognize that your child is displaying the symptoms of appendicitis, they will be understandably frightened. Try to keep them as calm as possible until a physician can see them.

Once a physician arrives, they will perform one or all of the following tests to determine the extent of the appendix infection. Often, they’ll begin with a physical examination by pressing gently on the area and checking the child’s vitals. After that, a ultrasound will be performed on the child. Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to image the interior of the body. Ultrasounds are totally painless and can help doctors determine the extent of the infection and whether it can be treated and minimized with antibiotics or if surgery is necessary. They may also recommend having a CT scan performed to determine the presence of appendicitis in children. CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software to create cross-sectional images of the organs and soft tissues of the body. CT scans can be extremely beneficial in pediatric appendicitis cases in order to rule out other causes of abdominal pain like injury or bleeding.

How is Appendicitis Treated?

There are three treatment option for appendicitis in children:

  • Removal of the appendix with surgery. Small incisions and laparoscopy are usual methods to remove of appendix. The child will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days and be discharged with antibiotics
  • If the appendix is ruptured, surgery is needed immediately. Once the appendix is removed, the child will have to stay in under hospital observation for several days possibly longer than a week to monitor infection or fever.
  • Interval appendectomy is treating an appendix infection with antibiotics. As the infection subsides, surgery becomes more an option rather than a necessity.

If you have more questions about diagnosing appendicitis in children or what medical imaging procedures will be performed, please feel free to look at our Ultrasound Service Page or our Pediatric CT Service Page. You can also call our office at 504-833-8111 to speak to a representative from Doctors Imaging about questions or scheduling an appointment.

What is the Difference Between MRI and MRA?

Did you know that if you took the blood vessels of an average adult and spread them out, they would be over 100,000 miles long! That is a lot of arteries, vessels, veins and capillaries to look through when a patient comes to us needing vascular imaging. That is why both patient and doctor appreciate the benefits that MRA technology allow.

Because they are so closely related, trying to understand the difference between MRI and MRA procedures can be difficult for the average patient. But when we look closer, there are actually a lot of differences but a lot of similarities as well. So let us begin with, what is an MRA?

MRA or magnetic resonance angiogram is when MRI technology is used to image the blood vessels of the body. Without making a single incision, physicians can see the many miniscule and convoluted pathways of blood through the body clearly. Why is this important? The way blood moves through the body is telling of the body’s current state. Is blood moving too quickly? The patient could have high blood pressure that could lead to a cardiovascular episode. Is the blood moving too slowly? There could be a blockage in the body that if left untreated, could become a coronary thrombosis, or in layman’s terms, a heart attack.

In many cases, other methods of imaging like CT scans and ultrasounds cannot obtain the same kind of information that an MRA can. A MRA is a form of MRI testing, meaning it still uses radio waves along with a rotating magnetic field in order to image the blood vessels of the body. So in many ways, MRI and MRA are similar but MRA is used primarily for the imaging the vascular system. MRIs are used for multiple reasons like imaging the musculoskeletal system and soft tissue examination.

The difference between an MRA and MRI become more clear when we understand what an MRA can see and how it is administered. MRAs examine the blood pathways between the brain, kidneys and legs and often use contrast material to help vessels and potential blockages to be highlighted. Contrast material is not used in every MRI that is performed and MRIs usually have a larger area to examine rather than a single vein or vessel. Contrast material is useful to help highlight problem areas and to help physicians perform other procedures with a clear image of the area. Contrast material assists physicians and technicians when they are searching for the following:

  • Clots, bulges or aneurysms or fatty buildups in the blood vessels leading the brain.
  • Tears or aneurysms in the aorta leading away from the body
  • Stenosis or narrowing of the blood vessels in the body
  • Other anomalies and abnormalities in the blood vessels

MRAs and MRIs do not use radiation in order to make images and they take about the same amount of time, about 30 minutes, depending on the patient’s movements and what is being examined. Be sure to take out all metallic objects in the body and tell your doctor if you think you may be pregnant.

So you can see there are a few differences between an MRI and MRA but they both help patients live healthier lives and help doctors give quality treatment.

If you have more questions about the difference between MRI and MRA, please feel free to check out MRI Service Page for more information. You can also call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM to 6 PM to speak with a representative from Doctors Imaging.