Finding and Treating Prostate Cancer Early

A cancer diagnosis is never an easy moment. But if it has to come, it’s better to get the news while the cancer is still small or new. Given recent advances in detecting adult cancers, oncology doctors are able to inform their patients about how to treat and heal after a cancer diagnosis.

When found in the early stages, one of the most treatable cancers currently is prostate cancer. With higher standards of preventative testing and more information readily available, more men are finding out that they have prostate cancer in its early stages. According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men.

However, prostate cancer is not always fatal. In fact, many men with prostate cancer will require only watchful waiting rather than aggressive treatment. But by keeping annual check-ups and having routine prostate exams, men can catch prostate cancer earlier.

Know the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Do you know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer? When prostate cancer is developing, men will sometimes notice:

  • bloody urine,
  • difficulty with or frequency of urination,
  • and sexual dysfunction.

Do not ignore these early symptoms for fear of judgment or embarrassment, as early detection can be the key to a successful treatment plan. You’ll thank yourself later.

Early Detection with PSA Tests, Prostate Exams and Ultrasounds

The best way to detect prostate cancer is to schedule and keep regular check-ups with your primary care physician, perform PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests with urinalysis, as well as have regular prostate exams.

If your doctor finds a prostate problem, your next step may be to schedule an ultrasound imaging exam for further evaluation. Many of us closely associate ultrasounds with pregnant women. However, both men and women can benefit from ultrasound imaging. For men, ultrasounds can determine whether there is a cancer growth around the prostate, whether the prostate gland is enlarged, and can help determine the cause of a man’s infertility.

For men with the possibility of prostate cancer, having an ultrasound is the least painful and least invasive way for doctors to exam the prostate. Because of the location of the prostate, physicians and technicians must insert the transducer wand rectally in order to produce the best images. Because an ultrasound exam creates real-time results, doctors will often use them to guide biopsy wands in preparation for surgery. Although the procedure can be uncomfortable, patients should give primary importance to the information that doctors glean from these exams.

MRIs Are Often Used to Diagnose Prostate Cancer

Historically, MRI methods for finding prostate cancer call for the use of endorectal coils for clarity purposes and to use contrast material. However, recent reports indicate that using a 3T MRI scan can eliminate the need for an endorectal coil while still conveying a strong probability of cancer cells in the prostate. Both of these experiences can be mildly uncomfortable for patients.

Doctors Imaging offers Diffusion-Weighted MRIs which are extremely beneficial to both finding and treating prostate cancer. Diffusion MRIs work to track the movement of water through the body’s systems. As water moves through the body and prostate glands, doctors can monitor the path. When the water behaves in an unfamiliar way, your doctor will be able to focus on that region and find the cancer cells.

Doctors Imaging first introduced the 3T MRI to New Orleans in 2006 and then developed protocols for 3T/ Diffusion Imaging scanning of the prostate. Doctors Imaging is also responsible for introducing prostate spectroscopy and dynamic contrast enhancement to the metro area, thus aiding in the successful treatment of hundreds of cases.

Are you concerned about the possibility of prostate cancer or disorder? To access up-to-date medical imaging equipment and radiological techniques for detecting prostate cancer, come to Doctors Imaging. Our patients always pay less than they would at the hospital. And you won’t have to compromise comfort or service.

Feel free to contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504.883.8111 or request an appointment online.

How Radiologic Imaging Can Decrease Health Costs

Medical imaging for diagnosis has been proven to save lives and decrease healthcare costs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT Scans) are essential to the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of lesions, cancer, and many other serious conditions. However, in the past few decades, the United States has experienced increased costs in diagnostic radiology, thus leading some to revisit the value of medical imaging.

Recently, researchers in the field have sought to understand how the general public values information provided via medical imaging. The results from these studies show that the American public agrees that imaging tests are essential for diagnosis despite their cost.

Americans See the “Value of Knowing” More About their Health


In May 2013, Siemens published a study which showed that 92 percent of Americans felt that they need to have up-to-date information regarding their own health was as important as actually having access to a physician.

Other results provided insights into when Americans see the value in medical imaging:

  • Almost nine in ten Americans (87%) agree that ruling out a diagnosis can save money in costly treatments that may not have been needed.
  • Roughly two-thirds (66%) of Americans would even be willing to pay out of their own pocket for tests to diagnose serious illness if there were such a test but it was not covered by their insurance.

Commenting on the survey results, Dr. Gregory Sorensen, the CEO of Siemens Healthcare and a board-certified neuroradiologist said:

“There is simply a rational, financial and emotional value to knowing if you are sick. The survey findings show clearly that Americans want to know exactly where they stand when it comes to their health. As a physician, I know first-hand there is great value in excluding a diagnosis. This is a critical step to ensure that patients avoid unnecessary, expensive medical interventions. Medical imaging and diagnostic technologies were not developed to drive up costs. They were developed to improve health.

“Overall, we found these survey findings to be quite eye-opening. The results show that Americans, on the whole, are much more concerned about paying for medical care (72%) than about access to medical care (28%). At the same time, Americans have great faith in the benefits of medical testing and imaging as a means to a correct diagnosis. As a physician and as an executive responsible for the health insurance of thousands of our employees, I know that effectively used diagnostic tests can help more efficiently manage healthcare expenditures while providing patients with knowledge and peace of mind.”

Overall Utilization of Medical Imaging Is Increasing Amid Improved Access and an Aging Population

On Sept. 4, 2019, the American College of Radiology (ACR) shared a statement about new research that found imaging utilization increasing in the years 2000-2016. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, explored exam counts for MRI, CT scans and other imaging tests from 2000 to 2016 in the United States and Ontario, Canada. The JAMA study was authored by Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, from the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California San Francisco, and her colleagues.

The ACR statement emphasized that the tests typically occur in place of more invasive procedures:

“… despite an aging population and more people receiving care — the rate of growth of medical imaging use has decreased as technology has matured and doctors have become more educated on when to use these lifesaving exams…. Imaging exams are generally safer and cost less than invasive procedures they replace. Scans reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and length of hospital stays. Imaging is directly linked to greater life expectancy and declines in mortality. Americans with greater access to imaging live longer than those with lesser access.”

Doctors Must Overcome Increasing Hurdles When Ordering Exams


Deborah Levine, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Richard Duszak Jr, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, wrote an editorial on the findings from studying tests from 2000 to 2016. Their editorial was also published in JAMA. Dr. Levine and Dr. Duszak note that the increases have been seen during a time when there are increasing barriers to medical imaging, suggesting that doctors see great value in ordering the imaging exams despite the obstacles:

“The increasingly burdensome preapproval steps that some treating physicians need to navigate to order imaging studies are relevant. If physicians did not perceive imaging as necessary or valuable, perhaps they would just stop ordering it. A plausible explanation, then, for increasing use of advanced imaging is that the results of these tests continue to be perceived as improving patient care and outcomes…Knowing that imaging utilization is increasing is an important and necessary step toward the ultimate collective goal of knowing what medical imaging is appropriate. Counting imaging examinations is easier than measuring imaging outcomes, and that is why more work is needed. Studies such as this report by Smith-Bindman et al should serve to inspire and inform imaging researchers as they move their agendas from ‘how much’ to ‘how appropriate’ to ultimately ‘how patient outcomes are improved.”

Doctors Imaging Is Available When You Need to Know

We recognize that your medical imaging is just one part of your health care. And when you visit, we have confidence that you and your doctor are depending on high-quality images to help you take the next step towards your better health. We promise to give you and your doctor the best information possible from your imaging exam. At the same time, we are proud to offer MRIs, CT scans and other testing that is always more affordable than the hospital.

Interested in learning more about the value of medical imaging? Try these resources:

Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with DTI

Between our work, family, school, and social lives, fatigue is a common feeling among people. Defined as “extreme tiredness or exhaustion,” fatigue is one of the most reported symptoms to physicians. It can be hard for doctors to tell if a patient is simply tired or if there is a contributing condition like chronic fatigue syndrome that may be causing their exhaustion.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as more than just day-to-day tiredness. This condition’s symptoms include exhaustion that is both debilitating and without cause. Patients may have feelings of being extremely tired. Chronic fatigue is usually accompanied by impaired memory or concentration, dizziness, inability to stay awake or upright, and overwhelming exhaustion without exertion. Persisting longer than 6 months, this condition requires more than a caffeine fix and a good night’s sleep — it needs medical attention.

The condition affects more than 1 million adults and children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diagnosis is complicated and usually involves ruling out many other conditions.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can become more than just debilitating. It can be dangerous as well. Fatigue of this degree can become problematic when the patient is driving or operating heavy machinery. Symptoms related to chronic fatigue can resemble other diseases such as Lyme disease, major depressive disorder, lupus, and hypothyroidism. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose these conditions. Physicians would much prefer a standalone test to diagnose CFS. And a 2014 study brings such a test slightly closer to doctors’ clinics.

The additional help in diagnosing this condition comes from using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI).

DTI is a relatively new form of advanced MRI in which the nerve fibers of the brain can be specifically highlighted and imaged to determine possible damage from things like concussions or conditions including chronic fatigue. In the same way that MRIs use sound waves and computer technology in order to image the internal organs, DTI focuses on the nerve fibers in the brain and is able to image them with startling detail. MRIs can show the musculoskeletal and vascular system. But, with DTI, physicians hope to go even deeper into the nerves where doctors can see definitive proof of chronic fatigue syndrome.

In a 2014 study published online in the journal Radiology, researchers studied 15 CFS patients and 14 people selected as age and gender control subjects. When they compared results between the CFS patients and the controls, they found that the CFS group had slightly lower white matter volume, meaning there was less overall white matter in the brain.

Researchers also found that patients complaining of CFS symptoms had high Fractional Anisotropy (FA) values in a certain area of the brain. FA describes how water moves along the nerves within the brain. Results suggested that this area of the brain can serve as a biomarker for CFS where “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

When the nerve fibers in the brain are experiencing irregularity or degeneration, in combination with the aforementioned symptoms, doctors can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome faster and with more accuracy. The time delay and inconsistency that was once prominent with this condition can now be eliminated thanks to the advanced MRI technology made by diffusion tensor imaging.

“This is a very common and debilitating disease,” said the study lead author Michael M. Zeineh, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif. “It’s very frustrating for patients because they feel tired and are experiencing difficulty thinking.”

“This is the first study to look at white matter tracts in CFS and correlate them with cortical findings,” Dr. Zeineh said. “It’s not something you could see with conventional imaging.”

Dr. Zeineh added that the findings need to be replicated and expanded upon in future studies to refine the understanding of the relationship between brain structure and CFS.

“Most CFS patients at some point in time have been accused of being hypochondriacs and their symptoms dismissed by others,” Dr. Zeineh said in an interview with NBC Today. “And there is still skepticism in the medical community about the diagnosis. That’s one of the reasons these findings are important.”

DTI Now Available at Doctors Imaging

Doctors Imaging is the first facility in Louisiana to offer DTI exams. If you have more questions about the symptoms of concussion or how DTI works, please visit the dedicated website TheConcussionGroup.com.




This reconstructed magnetic resonance image shows the blue tracks and arrows and yellow tracks and arrows in a single patient. These two tracks are overlaid on their respective track profiles. The green arrows point to the middle temporal region of increased cortical thickness. Source: Radiological Society of North America

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Stop Smoking and Get Whole Body Benefits

The benefits after you stop smoking begin immediately and they are numerous.
Quitting any addiction is a difficult task. Addiction is a multi-layered process in which there is no quick fix, one magic pill or medicine that will ease the symptoms of withdrawal or the intense cravings. But the benefits after you stop smoking begin immediately and they are numerous.

New Tastes

When you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling hot, carcinogen-filled smoke. Cigarettes contain as many as 4,000 chemical additives and all of these dangerous ingredients scald the surface of the tongue where your taste buds are. This leads to a loss of tasting sensitivity and taste bud regeneration which is why smokers often do not have the same perception of things like bitterness and sweetness. Upon quitting smoking, many people report the way food tastes different because of the new taste buds that have grown.

Better Skin

Smoking does not just cause harm the internal organs, it wreaks havoc on the skin. The carcinogens and nicotine in cigarettes damage the collage cells of the skin causing a higher prevalence of wrinkles and a general pallor to one’s complexion. Smoking is also extremely dehydrating, making the skin dry and dull. Although we cannot reverse the hands of time, quitting allows for better skin hydration and appearance.

Bigger Appetite

Cigarettes have been known to reduce appetite because they are a stimulant and make the metabolism do a slight jump and hunger pains can be forgotten momentarily. Many of those quitting smoking remark that they feel a sudden increase in their appetite and experience weight gain. It might a combination of loss of an oral habit along better tasting ability, but an increased appetite, within reason, is a small price for a deadly habit. Try adding a light exercise routine to your day to help combat rapid weight gain.

Clear Breathing

The effects of quitting smoking on the lungs is almost immediate. In only a few days, one can feel the difference. When using cigarettes, the smoke that you inhale burns the cilia in the lungs and esophagus. They can grow back unless repeatedly exposed to harmful cigarette smoke. Within 1-9 normal breathing without “smoker’s cough” can return

Mood and Energy (blood pressure)

A smoker’s addiction, though deadly, is nothing more than a series of chemical reactions. Chemicals in cigarettes excite the pleasure centers of the brain and make the body become addicted. Oxygen levels in the body decrease because of damage to the lungs making smokers feel sluggish until they smoke again. Carbon monoxide levels increase because the body is not getting enough oxygen and increase blood pressure. This effect makes smokers vulnerable to strokes but it can also cause a low mood and difficult sleep patterns. Nicotine addiction can be overcome in as little as 2 weeks helping with mood and at 2 months, circulation in the body increases causing better energy.

Stop smoking today and begin to feel the whole body benefits. If you have been smoking for an extended period of time, you should consider having a lung screening. While lung cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, the sooner it is caught, the better the results treatment can make. Doctors Imaging in Metairie is the only facility in the greater New Orleans area that has been accredited by the American College of Radiology as a certified lung cancer screening center. Because of our equipment, experience, and staff, patients trust in the thoroughness and results of our screenings.

If you would like to book an appointment for a lung cancer screening, you can fill out our Request an Appointment form or you can call our offices in Metairie at 504-883-8111 Monday through Saturday.

The Many Benefits of Ultrasounds for Women

Medical imaging is a service that benefits everyone, whether male or female. But there are those who believe that certain procedures are only available for one kind of patients. A majority of people might assume that ultrasound exams are only for women expecting children. Using ultrasound on pregnant women is the dominant use. But there are several other healing and life-saving capabilities that ultrasounds provide.

Ultrasounds use a combination of sound waves and computer technology in order to create internal images that doctors and patients seek. Ultrasounds are the best form of medical imaging for expectant mothers because ultrasounds are non-invasive and do not have the concern of radiation. Mothers can see their baby’s outline, hear their heartbeat and determine their child’s health. In essence, ultrasounds are a way of providing information and peace of mind to both men and women.

Excluding pregnancy, what other incidents are ultrasounds the preferred method of imaging? Ultrasounds are often used as a preliminary method of imaging. This means that when doctors suspect a problem and think that it is an area that the ultrasound will be able to view, they will use this method first because ultrasounds aren’t invasive or have side effects. Ultrasounds examine the internal organs, tissues and blood flow throughout the body, determining the blood flow through the heart, imaging breast tissue and guiding biopsy needles.

Almost any part of the body can undergo an ultrasound exam which makes it a faithful go-to for doctors. Ultrasounds are also the oldest form of medical imaging, having proved its benefits long ago. A major benefit that ultrasounds can provide for women is helping women determine their possibility of heart attack or stroke. Both of these conditions occur when the blood flow to the brain or heart are blocked. By using ultrasound technology, doctors can hear problems like weak valves, blockages, and murmurs. Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world and the highest killer of women around the world. The best way to combat this statistic, besides better health, diet, and exercise, is to have regularly scheduled check-ups with your primary care physician. As you get older, your doctor will likely recommend several kinds of tests to determine your cardiac health, so don’t forget to sign up for a cardiac ultrasound.

Even more beneficial, with the advent of digital ultrasounds, patients now have access to high-quality ultrasounds. 3D ultrasounds allow patients to see their babies or bodies in higher definition and even see movement. The ability to see movement is particularly beneficial for those women concerned with their cardiac health as the movement of blood will be the biggest indicator of that problem.

Technician uses handheld ultrasound device on a woman's breast.

Ultrasound can be used for breast cancer screenings and for diagnostic imaging when a doctor wants more information about tissue of concern.

Ultrasound has a valuable use in supplemental breast cancer screening. Many studies have shown that ultrasound can help supplement a mammogram by detecting breast cancers that may not be visible with a mammogram. Ultrasound is not intended to replace a mammogram. Rather, they are used in conjunction with mammograms as needed. Women should consult with their doctor or radiologist to determine if ultrasound screening is appropriate for them.

Ultrasound of the breast may be used for women who are at high risk for breast cancer or women who are pregnant and should not be exposed to x-rays used in a mammogram. Ultrasound of the breast can also be used to screen women who have dense breast tissue, meaning there are a lot of ducts, glands, fibrous tissue and less fat making it harder to find cancers with a mammogram.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie has the best technology in ultrasound and for an affordable price available through various insurances. If you have other questions or concerns about scheduling an ultrasound appointment, please contact Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111.

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

When we are babies, we spend about 16 to 17 hours a day just sleeping. Our brains are developing at a quick rate and we need sleep to help facilitate this rapid growth. We take a nap during the day until we reach elementary school age because we are still transitioning out of our infantile sleep cycles. Forgoing these naps usually results in mood disruptions and “crankiness”.  As we get older, the naps become intermittent but the danger of sleep deprivation is still a reality.

Sleep is the body’s biological healing system and is critical to healthy brain function. When we are teenagers, we spend the weekends sleeping until the early afternoon hours but as we get older the responsibilities and commitments of life take over, sleep becomes a precious commodity. That isn’t just a quirk of the generations, our bodies are biologically programmed for different sleep cycles at different points in our lives. Let’s discuss the benefits of proper sleeping schedules and the dangers of sleep deprivation and the damage of insomnia.

Sleep deprivation encompasses a number of symptoms. It might the student working part-time and staying up late at night to study. It could be the single mother working graveyard shifts and inhaling caffeine to stay awake. It could be the overworked doctor, short-staffed and busy, forgoing steady sleep for the sake of the patients. It might be the laid-off father tossing and turning all night thinking about the future. Sleep deprivation happens for a number of reasons and can affect anyone, but the effects can be severe if not treated.

Sleep deprivation affects almost every function of the body: cognitive, vision, digestion, and respiration, all of it because our bodies need sleep. Sleep is when our body does internal repairs. The brain needs to dream in order to filter and clean out the neurological clutter that fills our minds throughout the day. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair tissues and muscles, synthesize hormones and rejuvenate the brain. Lack of sleep can lead to “activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure and an increase in cortisol secretion” both of these reactions are harmful to the body and the mind.

Thanks to research regarding the benefits of sleep, we can better understand the dangers of insomnia. Insomnia is more than just losing a few hours of sleep because your busy schedule can’t allow it, insomnia is a mental condition in which the mind cannot seem to transition from active mode to sleep mode. Insomnia affects as much as 20% of American adults. Not only does insomnia make the sufferer feel terrible and tired, but it can also lead to a host of health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Medications and therapies like hypnotherapy, meditation, and sleep training can help in some cases.

Complications of Insomnia

Research has shown that insomnia can be caused by a number of reasons: genetic history, allergies, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological conditions, medication and stress. Conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and depression are contributed to the insomniac brain. MRI research of insomniac patients reveals that their ability to “modulate brain function and development including gene expression, protein translation and memory function.” These studies help to educate both physicians and patients about the danger of sleep deprivation and hopefully, find more remedies for the sleepless.

Understanding sleep disorders requires medical attention but there are over the counter and holistic approaches that have been shown to improve sleep quality. Working together with your physician to find the right formula is crucial in your mental and physical health. Furthermore, for those that regularly forgo sleep, remember that you are only doing yourself and your work a disservice. Sleep is a necessary function that needs to be regulated and maintained.

For more information about our MRI capabilities for sleeplessness or other conditions, contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our offices are open Monday through Friday 8.30 am- 5 pm and open on Saturdays from 9-12. You can call our office at 504-883-8111 or fill out our Request an Appointment Form on our site.

What are the Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke?

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the world, killing over 800,000 people annually in the United States. With the amount of people dying from these conditions, do enough people know what the warning signs are? There are certainly things to look for, but if you aren’t paying attention, they can come at any time. Not paying attention puts your life on the line.

Hopefully you have been diligent with your yearly check-ups, and will know if you have conditions like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Those will indicate to you your predisposition for heart attack or stroke. Find out what the warning signs are for heart attack or stroke are so that you can eliminate possible causes or have a plan in case of emergency.

Signs of Heart Attack:

Known medically as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack can strike at any moment, but by knowing the warning signs, you can find help before your life is in danger.

  • Initial chest discomfort and pressure often described “like an elephant sitting on your chest,” pressure, squeezing, a feeling of fullness or pain will usually be one of the first signs.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the body such as the arms, neck, shoulders, jaw, and stomach is a sign of a possible blockage.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty catching one’s breath
  • Numbing feeling in the left arm is a typical symptom of a looming heart attack.
  • Cold sweats or sweating in days previous. Many heart attack victims describe profuse sweating during sleep in the days leading up to the event.
  • Nausea or vomiting are common symptoms of an imminent heart attack in women. Men typically suffer from indigestion leading up to a heart attack and usually write it off as heartburn.

Many people attribute the symptoms as another problem without realizing the danger they are in. If you think that you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately and if possible, take one aspirin. Aspirin can help ease blood flow to the heart and hopefully add a few extra minutes for emergency personnel to arrive to take you to the hospital for medical treatment.

Signs of Stroke:

There are two kinds of strokes that can occur: an ischemic stroke happens when there is a blood clot in the brain that stops blood flow and a hemorrhagic stroke that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain has burst causing pressure and internal bleeding. If you are unsure, use the F-A-S-T system for determining if you or a loved one is having a stroke.

  • F:   Face- Is there facial drooping or the inability to control facial movements?
  • A:   Arms- Is the person unable to raise or keep their arms raised above their head?
  • S:  Speech- Is the person having a slurred or strange speech or trouble communicating?
  • T:   Time- Keep track of when these symptoms appear for your doctor, but call 911 immediately.

Some stroke victims also report symptoms such as trouble seeing out of one eye, coordination loss and sudden, and incurable headache. By seeking medical treatment as soon as possible, you can stop the damaging effects of stroke from being permanent.

Wondering what your heart health is truly like? A Calcium Score (Heart Scan) and Carotic Ultrasound from the radiologists at Doctors Imaging could provide you and your doctor with preventive information that can save your life. To schedule your appointment today, either fill out our online form or call 504-883-8111.

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.

The Dangers of Fake Supplements for Your Long-Term Health

There are different definitions of healthy all across the nation. Some think that gluten-free is best, others think that organic foods is only way to go. Some argue for a paleo diet while others praise the value of ‘everything in moderation.” What most do have in common is the understanding that everyone just wants to be as healthy as possible. It is this popular desire that causes some companies to market ineffective products and fake supplements to consumers. This is where the danger begins.

Because the FDA cannot regulate the supplement industry, there is no check for these supplements and their claims, leaving it up the consumer to decide what is healthy and fits their goals. This would be fine if the advertising and marketing of these supplements was absolutely truthful. In recent news, the New York Attorney General Office tested  “24 different products” from major retailers in their area such as Walmart and Walgreens and found that “all but 5 contained DNA that was unrecognizable or from a different plant than was on the label.” These findings prompted the Attorney General’s Office to send cease and desist orders to the retailers concerning these products.

It is not just what is misrepresented on the bottle, it is what ingredients are omitted that can cause danger too. As one op-ed New York Times writer explains “the FDA estimates that approximately 50,000 adverse reaction to dietary supplements occur every year” because many supplements contain other ingredients that consumers might be allergic to. If it is not possible allergens causing adverse reaction, it could be dangerous chemicals such as “lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium.”

The most popular kind of supplement on today’s market are weight loss supplements. The FDA has seen reports of “increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, stroke, seizure and death” in connection to weight loss supplements. Even famous TV doctor and personality Dr. Oz was under Senatorial constraint after promoting “miracle” and “magical” weight loss supplements on his show, while knowing that these products did not do what they and he claimed they could.

Another supplement controversy is calcium replacement pills. Osteoporosis is a common condition for women and the elderly, so like obesity and weight loss supplements, calcium supplements are marketed to those that live in fear of calcium deficiency. However,  several studies have linked these calcium supplements to negative effects like “increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease.” Some studies have shown that taking a calcium supplement may not be as dangerous if it is combined with vitamin D, a vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. If not, calcium can be deposited in the arteries, leading to heart disease.

Heart disease is a condition that once began, is difficult to reverse. If you have been taking nutrition and dietary supplements for an extended period of time and are worried about your potential for heart attack or stroke, consult with your physician about having medical imaging procedures such as a Calcium Score Heart Scan to assess your cardiovascular health. If you are noticing adverse reactions while using these supplements, stop taking them immediately and call you doctor with your symptoms. In addition, be sure to do research on any supplement before you begin a regime.

If you’d like to schedule an MRI for your cardiovascular health, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM- 6PM or fill out our online form.

Supporting those with Prostate Cancer During No Shave November

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Almost 2 million men are considered survivors of prostate cancer and with advances in medical imaging and prevention, hopefully this number will become much more. Although it is occurs in high frequency, it can be treated successfully.

Recently, there have been trends that begin online and with social media promoting support and research for certain conditions. For example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took the country by storm in 2014 or making Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and having sport teams and users show their support with pink. Another popular online movement has made November “No Shave November” to show solidarity for those with and surviving prostate cancer. Men across the country go the entire month of November without shaving their facial hair and the results can get pretty incredible. Normally clean-shaven bankers and teachers suddenly look like mountain men in the hopes of bringing more support to finding a cure as well as reminding men to have regular prostate exams.

Prostate exams, like gynecological exams, are a somewhat uncomfortable, but a very necessary part of life. For men, there are two options when having a prostate exam: a simple blood test or a rectal exam. Men can have either option but there are benefits and disadvantages to both. The blood test is less intrusive but it is still possible to miss something critical. While the rectal exam can be extremely uncomfortable, it is also one of the best ways to determine if there is a problem with the prostate.

If a biopsy is necessary, MRI scans should be used for imaging before any needle intervention. A 3.0 T MRI machine is recommended which usually makes it unnecessary to insert an uncomfortable balloon into the patient’s rectum. If a biopsy is performed before the MRI, the MRI will need to be delayed for up to two months in order to reach maximum clarity. Unfortunately, doing it in the proper order is sometimes a problem for insurance companies. Ultrasounds are also occasionally used, but work best during the biopsy portion of testing due to their low tissue resolution.

With regular check-ups and annual prostate exams, the chances of finding prostate cancer in the advanced stages is incredibly rare. When found early, prostate cancer is extremely treatable and has a relatively high survival rate. That is why it is medically imperative that men, especially over the age of 50 or with a family history of prostate cancer, need to have regular prostate exams.

Showing your support of men fighting this condition is noble but be sure that you are practicing what you preach. Make sure that you and your friends are having regular prostate exams and avoiding the dangerous lifestyle choices that can accelerate cancer cell formation like smoking, working unprotected around dangerous chemicals, excessive drinking, or unhealthy nutrition. So stand in solidarity with other men. Ditch the razors and raise awareness for prostate cancer in November with No Shave November.

Doctors Imaging has a ten-year experience in Prostate MRI imaging having performed hundreds of examinations. Need to schedule a medical imaging appointment for your prostate in the Metairie/New Orleans area? Book an appointment online, or by calling 504-883-8111.