Do You Have Concussion Symptoms?

Concussions (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) have long been a mysterious and worrying injury for doctors to examine. Concussion symptoms can range anywhere from unconsciousness to memory loss to a slight headache. There is such a range of symptoms that it can be a difficult task for physicians to medically diagnose a concussion.

Most head injuries are minor — bumps, headaches or the occasional fall. These types of injuries happen with few repercussions. When they’re not, though, they can lead to serious short-term and long-term problems, including dizziness, headache, memory loss and slurred speech, to name a few.

Sometimes concussions are immediately apparent. Other times, the symptoms are not as obvious. Here are a few signs you should look for in a concussion:

  1. Sensitivity to light or noise
  2. Loss of memory
  3. Not thinking clearly
  4. Slow reaction time
  5. Lack of concentration
  6. Headache(s)
  7. Blurred vision
  8. Nausea or vomiting
  9. Dizziness
  10. Feeling tired or lacking energy
  11. Increased sadness
  12. Nervousness
  13. More emotional
  14. Change in sleep patterns
  15. A stunned or shocked feeling
  16. Seizures
  17. Not feeling “right”

If you think you might have a concussion, it is crucial that you contact a professional as quickly as possible. This is far easier said than done, though. The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent. Some symptoms may last for days, or even longer.

Many concussion symptoms may occur without a concussion, which means they can be especially difficult to diagnose. If you have several of these symptoms, though, you should contact a physician immediately. Even if immediate attention isn’t needed, having a concussion without proper medical attention can lead to long-term problems.

How Concussions Happen

In layman’s terms, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body. This can come from a fall, a hit or any other injury that violently shakes the brain inside of the skull.

Basically, your brain is surrounded by spinal fluid and protected by your skull. The fluid normally acts as a cushion, but when your head gets hit too hard, the brain can crash into the skull and get injured. This typically results in a concussion.

Concussions are unusual for most people but for athletes, some workers, and extreme sports enthusiasts, concussions are more common. The problem with this is that as more research is being done on the long-term effects of concussions on professional athletes, we are learning that these bumps on the noggin can have a much deeper consequence.

DTI Exams Measure Brain Injuries Unseen on Other Exams

Any kind of traumatic brain injury is cause for concern but now Doctors Imaging has a beneficial new technology that can help determine the extent of brain injury and nerve damage due to a concussion. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI.

Doctors Imaging was the first to introduce New Orleans to a 3.0T MRI and we added Diffusion Tensor Imaging to our services in 2016. Where standard MRIs are well-equipped to obtain useful and comprehensive images of brain tissue, DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that improves diagnostic practices, particularly in the diagnosis of and recovery from concussions.

Most MRIs can tell if there is tissue damage or bleeding, but DTI exams measure whether there is nerve damage in specific areas of the brain’s white matter. Along with internal bleeding, nerve damage is the primary concern for physicians when dealing with a concussed patient. If you were to look at the health histories of former football players or boxers, you would notice that they have a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and other neurological disorders as they age. Many people believe the increased incidence of these diseases in these athletes comes from repeated exposure to head and back trauma.

DTI exams are able to focus on the connecting circuits of the brain and localize nerve damage. By recognizing this nerve damage, doctors can keep a close eye on their patients and help them during the recovery from their injury.

One factor that most doctors are very concerned about when they are seeing a concussion patient is an axonal injury. An axonal injury happens when a brain injury causes extensive lesions in the white matter tracts in a widespread or localized area. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is so worrying because it can be indicative of long-term brain deficiency. DAI occurs in almost half of all concussion cases. And now with a DTI exam, doctors will be able to make diagnoses and recoveries easier and more beneficial.

As with MRI exams, DTI exams do not use radiation. It is a non-invasive exam and has extremely high success rates.

Learn More About Concussions

Medical Imaging That Helps Assess Heart Health


Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world. Contributing factors include a poor diet, lack of exercise, and genetics. Most doctors tell patients that the way to better cardiac health is through medically proven methods of eating better, regular exercise and taking precautions if your family has a history of heart disease.

To detect and combat heart disease, scientists have developed a variety of medical technologies. Medical imaging is a common method for doctors to determine the probability of a patient developing a heart condition. Below is a look at the medical imaging modalities physicians use to assess cardiac health.

CT and CAT Scans for Calcium Scoring

One frequently used medical imaging exam for determining the condition of the heart is through a CT or CAT scan. CT scans use X-rays and computer equipment to produce cross-sectional images of the body, including several types of tissues such as muscles. At Doctors Imaging, we calibrate CT equipment to use the lowest amounts of radiation required for each exam.

A Calcium Scoring screening uses produces imaging of the coronary arteries to determine if they are blocked or narrowed by the buildup of plaque – an indicator for atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease (CAD). The information obtained can help evaluate whether you are at increased risk for heart attack.

A CT scan for coronary calcium is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries—the vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart muscle.

Because calcium is a marker of CAD, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful prognostic tool. The findings on cardiac CT are expressed as a calcium score. Another name for this test is coronary artery calcium scoring.

A positive test means that CAD is present, regardless of whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms. The amount of calcification—expressed as the calcium score—may help to predict the likelihood of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the coming years and helps your doctor decide whether you need preventive medicine or adopt diet and exercise changes to lower your risks. The extent of CAD is graded according to your calcium score:

Calcium Score Presence of CAD
0 No evidence of CAD
1-10 Minimal evidence of CAD
11-100 Mild evidence of CAD
101-400 Moderate evidence of CAD
Over 400 Extensive evidence of CAD

Carotid Ultrasounds Can Detect Vascular Problems

If your doctor is concerned about the possibility of a vascular problem leading to heart disease, he or she may order a carotid ultrasound exam. The body has two carotid arteries and if either one becomes compromised, you could go into cardiac arrest or stroke. Ifyou’re worried about your cardiac condition, an ultrasound exam is a safe and effective form of medical imaging. Ultrasound exams simply use sound waves and computer technology to create their images. This allows patients and doctors to see the flow of blood throughout the body in real-time, making it easier to determine the causes of problems and choose treatments.

MRIs Examine Coronary Pathways

MRIs provide another method that doctors sometimes use to test the heart and blood flow through the coronary pathways. MRIs use strong magnetic and radio waves to create images of the internal body.

All these tests are important for gauging your cardiac health. All patients and their symptoms are different. Your doctor will recommend the exam that is right for your needs.

Learn More About Medical Imaging

CT Scan for Calcium Scoring by RadiologyInfo.org

What Happens When My Child Gets Medical Imaging?


When children get sick or injured, it’s up to the parents and physicians to work together to find the best treatment options for the child. If your child requires hospitalization or surgery, then your child’s pediatrician will likely order one of these common medical imaging exams for children. Learn more about the common types of medical imaging, as well as the benefits and risks of each procedure.

All About Common Medical Imaging Exams for Children

Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are one of the most common and frequently used medical imaging procedures.  Ultrasounds use sound waves and computer technology to see into the internal structures of the body. Because of the lack of radiation used, they are completely safe to perform on children. Women will often have several ultrasounds performed throughout their pregnancy and all are harmless. Ultrasounds can help determine conditions like cardiovascular birth defects, dysfunction in the reproductive organs, injuries after traumatic incidents like falls or car accidents, and possible cancerous masses. This procedure is also completely painless for children so there is no need for sedation or anesthesia.

CT Scan / CAT Scan

A CT Scan or CAT scan is another medical imaging procedure that your doctor may ask to perform. CT scans use a combination of X-ray and computer technology to examine the body and form images for further study. CT scans are commonly performed when doctors need cross-sectional images of the internal organs such as the chest cavity, abdominal areas, or the brain. If your doctor needs to perform a pediatric CT, the child may be asked to not eat for several hours prior to the examination so that the images will not be distorted. Children will also have to remain very still and silent during the scan. A common practice for CT scans is to administer contrast material so certain growths or blockages can be seen better. Contrast material can be given to a child through an IV or by swallowing the solution. If your child has allergies or a kidney condition, you should inform the doctor or technician prior to the scan.

CT scans use small amounts of radiation in order to better highlight the different types of structures in the body. Although the dose is relatively small, repeated CT scans can incur a slightly higher risk of cancer. But the advantages in diagnosis that CT scans can provide far outweigh the potential risk. The best way to limit the exposure is to only have CT scans performed when they are essential and to have the mechanisms narrowed onto one part of the child’s body. Discuss options with your doctor and child.

X-Rays

X-rays are another extremely common medical imaging procedure performed on both adults and children. If your child has a recent injury or needs surgery, doctors will often ask that an X-ray be performed to determine conditions like bone fractures, breaks and growth dysfunctions. X-rays are performed relatively quickly so the time your child spends exposed to the small doses of radiation is limited. Ask your doctor or imaging facility if they use analog X-rays or digital. Digital X-rays use much smaller doses of radioactive material to examine the body.

MRI

MRI or a magnetic resonance imaging exam is an imaging practice that doctors will usually perform if the child has a cardiovascular or brain condition, bleeding problems, childhood cancer or a type of growth disorder. MRIs use no forms of radiation so children are safe to have this procedure performed. MRIs use radio and magnetic waves to excite the atoms within the body and then use computer technology to collect these atoms and form the image of the body. Possible points of discomfort for a child would be remaining still for very long and having contrast material administered.

Having any medical imaging procedure performed can be a scary experience for both parents and children. But it is important to remember that these tests are created to improve the health of children. If you have serious reservations or fears, speak with a doctor or technologist about all of your questions. Your child cannot ask these questions, so it your job to stay informed and calm so they can stay healthy and happy.

Doctors Imaging is prepared for your child’s visit to our calm office environment. Scheduling is simple, and you can either do it online, or by simply calling 504-883-8111.

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Painful Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems


Like its cousin, the appendix, the necessity of the gallbladder is often debated. However, despite popular belief, the gallbladder provides a necessary function of a body. The gallbladder is a small pouch that is found below the liver. Within this pouch, bile is stored. Bile is a fluid that the liver produces in aiding the breakdown of fats and digestion. The liver is a factory. But the gallbladder is the storage warehouse. They work together but can be independent.

When the gallbladder is experiencing problems, the rest of the body usually reacts rather quickly. Depending on the severity of discomfort, gallbladder pain can be symptomatic of a few conditions:

    Gallstones are the most common cause of gallbladder pain. Gallstones occur when bits of cholesterol and others materials in bile combine together and form solid masses. These masses are typically no larger than a pencil eraser but that does not mean they are any less painful. Pregnant women and those who are overweight and losing weight rapidly are more prone to gallstones. For some, the pain comes and goes. But for others, it needs immediate treatment.

    Another cause of gallbladder pain could be a condition related to gallstones called biliary colic. This occurs when bile leaves the gallbladder through the cystic duct and into the small intestine where it begins to break down the food we eat. However, if there is a gallstone blocking that duct, the body can have a serious reaction. Fever, sweats, constipation and severe abdominal pain are the typical symptoms of this condition. Luckily these episodes usually only last an hour or two.

    More severe problems associated with gallstones include cholecystitis or inflamed gallbladder. When there are too many gallstones, a life of excessive drinking, or some infections, the gallbladder can become swollen and irritated. If the condition persists without treatment, bacteria from the intestines can make their way into the gallbladder and lead to infection. If symptoms persist, the gallbladder can eventually rupture and need immediate surgical removal.

    Frequent gallstones can lead to chronic gallstone disease. Symptoms can include frequent indigestion, gas, and diarrhea due to the hampered digestive tract.

The pain from these conditions can range from the abdominal area and radiate upwards into the back and shoulder areas. Other noticeable symptoms can be painful cramping, unusual swelling of the stomach as well as vomiting and fever.

Gallbladder pain is located in the mid- or upper-right section of the abdomen. The pain often comes and goes. Intensity can range from mild to severe. Gallbladder pain often causes pain in the chest and back.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, medical attention is the best way to discern what kind of treatment you may need. Seek medical attention right away if you experience:

  • upper-right quadrant pain that does not resolve within five hours
  • fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • changes in bowel movements and urination

For any gallbladder problem, doctors will commonly start with an ultrasound exam. Ultrasounds are best for determining the presence of gallstones. Because of the solid nature of stones, they are easily detectable, especially in digital ultrasounds.

Ultrasounds are non-invasive and they can allow doctors to see the problem in real-time making them the fastest choice for doctors and the easiest on patients. If doctors want to see more detailed images, they may ask the patient to undergo an MRI with contrast material. The contrast material in an MRI is not harmful unless the patient has kidney dysfunction. But the contrast allows doctors to track the trajectory of the dye through the body, highlighting diseased tissue and blockages.

If you have concerns about gallstones or need to schedule your medical imaging, call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111. You can also complete our online appointment request form.

Learn More About Ultrasounds:

Know the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Kids


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 front, 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.

What are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

Early Symptoms: An early symptom of appendicitis is pain, often in the center of the abdomen but sometimes on the right side. The pain may be dull at first but may become more sharp or severe. Accompanying symptoms may include slight fever (above normal but less than 100 degrees), vomiting or nausea. Some individuals, particularly children, experience loss of appetite.

Later Symptoms: As the condition progresses, severe pain is usually felt in the lower right part of the abdomen. As the appendix becomes further inflamed, symptoms may include:

  • severe or worsening pain or cramping in the abdomen, rectum or back
  • swelling or tenderness in the abdomen
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • high fever (over 100 degrees)
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • inability to expel gas

Appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose because a number of other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Not everyone with appendicitis exhibits all of these symptoms. If you or your child have any of these symptoms, particularly abdominal pain that continues to worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

If the appendix pain is left untreated, the organ will fill with pus and bacteria causing it to 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 urgent 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.

Appendicitis in children is often the child’s first experience with any kind of surgery. Broken bones, falls and accidents are more typical reasons why children seek urgency medical attention, 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.

How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

A physician or other healthcare provider 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, an 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 (also known as CAT 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.
  • An MRI may be used to help diagnose or evaluate symptoms associated with appendicitis because it is non-invasive, fast, and does not use ionizing radiation.
  • In some cases, an abdominal or chest x-ray may be the initial imaging study. Constipation and sometimes even pneumonia may be causing abdominal pain similar to that seen with appendicitis.

How is Appendicitis Treated?

There are three treatment options for appendicitis in children:

  1. Removal of the appendix with surgery. Small incisions and laparoscopy are usual methods to remove of the appendix. The child will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days and be discharged with antibiotics.
  2. 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.
  3. Interval appendectomy is treating an appendix infection with antibiotics. As the infection subsides, surgery becomes more an option rather than a necessity.

Learn more about appendicitis:

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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Sports Injuries On The Rise: Protect Your Athletes

Sports injuries are specific injuries sustained during competitive athletics or other exercise, usually affecting the musculoskeletal system or the muscles, bones, ligaments and/or  cartilage. Head injuries often occur while engaged in contact sports like football. Proper training, protective equipment and other precautions can often prevent sports injuries.

Still, even the most careful athletes can suffer an unexpected injury, especially those who play contact and team sports. With Fall sports season ramping up, Doctors Imaging wants to stress the importance regarding your radiologist’s role in diagnosis and treatment of your athlete’s sports injury.

To accurately diagnose your injury or condition, your physician may suggest an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) ,Computed Tomography (CT) or ultrasound to provide images of the affected area.

·  X-rays are often used for diagnosing fractures.

·  MRIs are useful in diagnosing injuries to the ligaments, tendons and other tissues.

·  CT scans are used less frequently in sports medicine but can be helpful for more complex orthopedic issues.

·  Ultrasound provides great detail in evaluating the soft tissues around joints, tendons and muscles and is often used for image-guided procedures such as anesthetic injections.

·  MRI with special techniques like 3T SWI is used to look in detail for subtle contact head injuries that occur during football, soccer etc.

In April 2016, researchers presented a study on the long-term risks of playing football. It found that more than 40% of retired National Football League players examined showed signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is often a precursor to a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The rate of TBI found in the retired football players is “significantly higher” than that of the general population, according to Dr. Francis Conidi, one of the study’s authors. “This is one of the largest studies to date in living retired NFL players and one of the first to demonstrate significant objective evidence for traumatic brain injury in these former players,” Conidi said.

In 2017, the journal Radiology published a study that found football players sustain concussions that may carry a long term impact on their brain health. This study, funded in part by the NFL and NFL Players Association, showed that a player’s position and career duration play a part in their concussion history. The resulting effects on the brain’s white matter structure may lead to the onset of traumatic neurodegenerative disease. These effects have been suggested in the past, but researchers are now better able to evaluate brain function using qDTI-MRI Imaging.

Doctors Imaging uses the latest technology to offer the highest level of imaging available at the most affordable price.Learn more about our imaging services, or schedule an imaging exam by calling 504-883-8111.

Learn more from CNN’s Dr. Sonjay Gupta:

Should I Get an X-Ray, MRI, or CT Scan for My Injury?

Every patient is different as well as every injury. The way people injure themselves, the condition of the affected area prior to the injury, as well as the patient’s response to injury, are all factors in assessing the damage as well as creating a plan for the restoration of the area. If you have obtained an injury you feel you can’t care for on your own, you should speak to your doctor about scheduling a procedure that will be best able to determine the extent of the damage and after you and your physician can discuss plans to heal and avoid further injury. Here is a list of common medical procedures that your doctor may schedule for you in order to determine the degree of injury.

An X-Ray


An X-Ray is usually the first procedure a doctor will schedule for an injury, particularly sports-related injuries. X-rays are some of the oldest and most used forms of medical imaging. X-rays are common procedures for joint and bone fractures and breaks. X-rays are also used for examining arthritic joints and determining the location and condition of cancer cells in the bones. X-ray procedures are totally painless and just require the patient to lay very still for the length of the imaging as the slightest involuntary movement can distort the image and the procedure will have to be restarted. Getting an X-ray will be the fastest way to determine if there has been a bone break, dislocation or fracture.

An MRI Scan

Your doctor may also order an MRI scan if the injury cannot be properly determined from an X-ray or if your injury pertains to any of the joint, muscular or skeletal systems of the body. An MRI scan would be particularly helpful if your injury has caused any type of vascular problem such as internal bleeding or clotting or if there is soft tissue damage. MRI scans are useful in determining any overall damage from an injury beyond what an X-ray can relate. MRI scans contain a minute amount of pain from an intravenous injection of contrast material but nothing further. Contrast material will not have a reaction in the body excluding a slightly cool sensation unless the patient has an allergy to iodine.

A CT Scan

Your doctor may also order a CT scan for an injury. Do not be confused if your doctor orders a few tests for you. It does not necessarily indicate an extreme amount of physical damage. Your doctor could just be trying to get the best angles and images in order to make the most thorough diagnosis and by extension the best medical plan for mending your injury. Your doctor may order you a CT scan if he is particularly worried about tissue damage. CT scans using contrast material are able to create cross-sectional images of organs and tissues as well as highlighting which are healthy and which are not. CT scans are relatively painless as well, excluding the pinprick of the IV needle, but in some cases, the contrast material is swallowed to outline the digestive system.

Make the Choice

If you have an injury that cannot be helped by over the counter medications and naturalistic healing methods, you should speak to your doctor about ordering some of these procedures because a serious injury left unattended can become a much more harmful problem. Without proper medical attention and testing, a slight injury can morph into a complex affliction. Even with injuries that feel minimal in pain should be examined by a doctor in order to avoid further complications and injury to the area. The advances in medical technology have provided us with the tools and resources to make better choices concerning patient experience and healing.

Making a decision today? Just click here to schedule your medical imaging appointment in New Orleans.

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 the patient and the 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.

What is an MRA?

An 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 minuscule 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. An MRA is a form of MRI testing, meaning it 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 provide high-quality treatment.

Ready to make your appointment, you can request an appointment online or call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM to speak with a representative.

How DTI Is Aiding Studies of Concussions, Chronic Fatigue and Autism

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) exams are receiving more and more attention in the public and medical field because of the light they have shed on certain neurological and mental conditions. DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that is able to closely follow the flow of water throughout the brain’s pathways giving doctors a better understanding of brain injuries and connectivity.


DTI is used for determining the extent of brain damage from causes such as concussions. Concussions can happen during car accidents and other serious head injuries.

MRIs vs DTI for Concussions

Unlike conventional MRIs that use magnetic fields and computer technology to excite and then map the hydrogen atoms of the body, DTI machinery tracks the pathway of water throughout the brain. Because water in the brain only goes in one direction, it is easier to track this motion and thus map the different nerve paths of the brain as they are very complex and convoluted.

Once the nerve pathways are clearly mapped, neurologists can see if there is damage, bleeds or symptoms of other neurological or mental conditions.

Thanks to DTI, concussions are now being more thoroughly imaged. Before the advanced technology of DTI, concussions could be examined through conventional MRIs but small bleeds and nerve damage were always difficult to identify — especially in the white matter areas of the brain. Now, doctors can track the nerve pathways in the brain with high clarity and understand the genetic and biological causes of some medical conditions.

DTI and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Recently, DTI has been used to identify brain abnormalities that lead to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Feeling fatigued is not an unusual symptom to have, but for some people, fatigue cannot be fought with adequate sleep or stress-relieving activities. Thanks to imaging techniques, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome have finally been identified.

In a 2014 study published online in the journal Radiology, researchers found that those complaining of CFS symptoms had “lower white matter volume” as well as high FA values (measurement of diffusion of water in the specific tract within the right hemisphere), suggesting that this is the area of the brain where “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

DTI, Fragile X and Autism

In another 2014 study, DTI was instrumental in uncovering the area of the brain that possibly contributes to autism. Scientists determined that Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of mental developmental issues and the most frequent cause of autism spectrum disorders. Their conclusion found that FMRP (fragile X mental retardation protein) is critical in brain development and that if the correct positioning of brain cells during the development of the cortex is not made, autistic traits can emerge as a child becomes older. Source: Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven (Belgium), in collaboration with Tor Vergata University (Italy) and VU University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

DTI Now Available at Doctors Imaging

These factors could not have been studied in such high detail without the help of DTI. This advanced imaging technology could help scientists find the causes and cures for more diseases and conditions in the years to come.
Doctors Imaging is the first facility in Louisiana to offer DTI exams. If you have more questions about the symptoms of concussion, loss of sensation after a head injury or how DTI works, please visit the dedicated website TheConcussionGroup.com.