What Do MRIs Show Us?

The thing about technology is that just because a piece of technology is used primarily in one area of study doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as effective in another. Medical imaging is one of those fields. MRIs are one method of medical imaging that is used in other industries and other fields of medicine. You may be wondering, what do MRIs show us?  Let’s explore how this valuable technology is bringing answers and ideas to all fields of people.

History

MRIs don’t only reveal what is happening currently to a body, they can give us information about what was happening to a body long after the person has passed away. Now, when explorers and archaeologists find skeletons or fossils, they will perform MRIs on the remains to determine things like age, height, race, cause of death and many other facts. Most recently, a 2,500 skeleton believed to be the remains of an ancient Pazyryk princess was found to have died from breast cancer. Incredible, isn’t it? Usually, only bones remain but they can still be used to gather tons of information. MRIs do not use radiation so scientists don’t have to worry about damaging fragile pieces or destroying DNA.

Sports Injuries

When a professional athlete has an injury, the first thing that is done is to take him or her for an MRI. MRIs are the best for professional athletes because their injuries are typically musculoskeletal like hairline fractures, ACL tears, sprains and concussions. MRIs are the best equipment to examine these kinds of injuries because they can look through several layers of bone, muscles and joints and see right to the area that is damaged. By being sure of the injury, coaches and athletes can plan accordingly.

Medical Problems

What do MRIs show us besides how history and injury? Medical conditions of course. MRIs are primarily used for diagnosis and determining disease conditions. MRIs use the power of magnet and radio waves to take images of the organs and tissues. MRIs are particularly adept at examining the vascular system, helping to aid the discovery of heart conditions like blocked arteries, holes and high blood pressure. MRIs are also used for determining the presence of cancer. While biopsy are what confirms that diagnosis, if a physician has a suspension that cells might be cancerous, they will likely schedule an MRI appointment.

Research

MRIs are also primarily used in different kinds of research. For example, thanks to MRI technology, doctors are getting closer to finding the gene variant that results in Alzheimer’s. One recent study has used MRIs to reveal that there are definitive biomarkers that can predict and validate a condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome. These and other health issues are getting more illumination thanks to the information gleaned from MRI tests.
MRIs provide so much valuable information without becoming invasive or causing pain making them the preferred choice for many kinds of institutions. To find out more information about MRIs or what they are used for, visit our MRI Service Page or call Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-833-8111.

How Do MRIs Help Diagnose an Athlete’s Injuries?

Almost every week there is a news story on television or online that tells terrified fans that some of the best players on their teams face a debilitating injury. Athletic injuries are some of the worst to treat, not only because of the degree of injury but the damage an injury could have on a person’s quality of life and career.

As opposed to everyday employees injured on the job, professional athletes cannot sue their team for unemployment or for workman’s compensation. Instead they have to hope that the medical professionals around them can help them heal and get back to the game.

Every kind of sport has a tendency toward a specific injury. Because basketball players have to jump and pivot, they often suffer tearing in the ACL ligament. While a tear may not sound as a bad as a breakage, ligaments are fragile. They can repair but they will never be as strong as they once were. MRIs determine the extent of an ACL injury because they’re exceptional when examining the areas of soft tissue and ligaments. For example, Baylor Bears star Isaiah Austin was a first-round draft prospect until diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a condition that causes weakening of the connective tissues in the body. If Austin were a civilian, it may not have been a huge detriment to his life, but because of his professional basketball prospects, there is too much risk of his heart rupturing because of the connective tissue in the aorta and valves. MRIs along with genetic testing may have helped Austin to discover his Marfan Syndrome but he was still awarded as an Honorary Draft pick and given a job at the NBA.

In recent years, the brain damage that football players experience has become a popular news topic. Because of the routine, aggressive contact, like “horse collaring,” between players and the prevalence of head-to-head injury, more professional and college football players are having MRIs performed to assess any possible damage to the brain. Despite their heavy layers of protection from helmets and shoulder guards, the pure physics of football can explain the widespread damage. When two bodies are traveling at high speed and collide, the impact is the combined speed of the players. This kind of contact explains the predominance of concussions and brain injury to football players. In light of the overwhelming evidence, football safety engineers are working on designing high-impact protection helmets but the best thing for many of these players would be to have regular MRI exams utilizing special techniques like DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) and SWI, another type of MRI. Mild brain trauma is not evident unless these special techniques are employed. Doctors Imaging is one of the few facilities in the South that offers these special MRI programs. Furthermore, the NFL has agreed to pay out settlements to former players with brain injuries stemming from their professional career. The extent of the damage was kept from them for many years, showing how dangerous this American pastime can be.

Baseball players are another sector of professional athletes often troubled by injury. Conditions like torn rotator cuffs and Tommy John elbow surgery are common in baseball because of the need to throw high-speed and long-distance pitches. Overexertion or incorrect motion causes these injuries and can easily put a player on the bench for a season. That is why it is important for players to have shoulders and elbows examined with MRI at the first sign of pain or discomfort. Leaving the problem to worsen can be the difference between a season on the bench and a career-ending injury.

While they may be well-paid and have all the spoils that come with professional athletics, they are also the most prone to career ending injuries. That is why having regular MRIs is one of the best treatment options for professional or college athletes.

Open MRIs vs. Closed MRIs – Explaining MRI Equipment

MRIs are one of the best ways for doctors and patients to determine the condition of the internal body. By using a strong magnetic field and radio waves combined with computer technology, radiologists use MRI machines to take images of the body without making any type of invasive procedure.

MRIs can be used on a number of different body parts and conditions but it is most often used to diagnosis musculoskeletal conditions, cancer, or vascular abnormalities. For example, if you are having constant back pain, your doctor may want to schedule a spinal MRI to make sure you don’t have a bulging or herniated disc. Or if an athlete tears the fragile ligament or cartilage in their knee (ACL injuries are one of the most reported sports injuries) an MRI will likely have to be performed in order to determine whether surgery is necessary.

You may be wondering how a magnetic machine can take pictures of your internal organs but it is really quite easy to understand. Your body is composed of molecules and atoms that attract and react to magnetic forces. Once inside of the MRI chamber, your body will be in a magnetic field. Once your body is exposed to that magnetic field, the different kinds of atoms are rearranged through the radio signals of the MRI machine. They allow the computer mechanisms to form an accurate picture of the internal organs. This way if a certain part of the body is diseased, injured or enlarged, the atoms will transmit their abnormality through radio signals and once the image is formed, doctors can see that something is incorrect and can further investigate.

The aforementioned process occurs in any MRI procedure regardless of the kind of MRI equipment being used. The traditional forms of MRIs are high fiels and closed, meaning that circular magnetic mechanism makes a complete circle. This is the best way to get accurate and diagnostic pictures. However, some patients complain about a feeling of claustrophobia or just being uncomfortable inside the MRI chamber. So in 1996, an open MRI was invented. An open MRI allows for patients to feel lees confined. Because of its design, the open MRI has an incomplete magnetic circle chamber but it also allows for patients to feel more relaxed. The major disadvantage to having an open MRI is that the quality of your images will not be as good as those taken in a regular high field MRI. Because the magnet cannot make a full revolution, the radio signals can become slightly distorted. You will still have a fully recognizable internal image, it just may not be to the quality that a high field MRI would give you. At Doctors Imaging we offer both types of MRI.

If you need to have an MRI performed, speak to your doctor about the options and types of procedure you can have performed. If you are too nervous about the results of the exam or worried about a feeling of claustrophobia, your doctor may be able to prescribe a light sedative or have calming music played during your procedure. Since MRIs are a form of medical imaging, patient movement can be a time-consuming problem. When patients during move during their procedure, the images can be blurry or incomplete. This means that the process has to begin again, costing more time. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we aim to make our patients feel as comfortable and welcome about their procedures as well as any questions they may have. We offer the use of a 3T MRI or open MRI machine, the strongest available machines for routine imaging procedures in the efforts to give our patients the best imaging. If you have scheduled your appointment and have more questions about our MRI equipment, we want our patients to know that they can call anytime and speak to a representative about their procedures, what should be done before, costs and results.

You can get in touch with our specialists by calling 504-883-8111 or through this form.

What You Need to Know Before Your MRI Procedure

Regardless of the reason you need to have a medical imaging procedure performed, you likely have a few questions about what will occur. MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, are performed for numerous conditions, everything from sports injuries to detecting cancer and functional disorders, so the questions posed to radiologists often have a great deal of subject range.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we try to answer all of your questions and to make sure that you have the most beneficial and comfortable imaging procedure possible. One way we do this is by having a thorough consultation process as well as sharing information regarding precautions that need to be taken before and after your MRI procedure.

If you are coming in to have an MRI performed, there are a few facts that you need to know to help make your procedure as efficient and suitable as possible. To begin, if you are unaware, an MRI machine uses a large circular magnet (or incomplete circle for open MRIs) and radio waves combined with computer technology in order to create images of the internal structures of the body. Because of the strong magnet within the machine, be sure that you have removed any metal objects such as jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, watches, belts, and shoes. If any of these objects have metal parts, they will interfere with the image’s quality.

If you have certain implanted objects, be sure to let the radiologist or technician know about these objects before your MRI procedure begins. Items like prosthetic joints, pacemakers, IUDs, tattoos, metal plates or surgical screws can alter the MRI image. Women and girls should not wear any form of eye makeup to their MRI because some mascaras and eyeshadows contain metallic flecks that can cause problems with the images. Yes, even something that small can cause the images produced to be inconsistent so if you have other questions about what to wear or bring to your MRI, feel free to call Doctors Imaging at any time. In addition, if you think you may be pregnant or if you are having kidney difficulties, it is important that you let our staff know these things. While MRIs do not use radiation, doctors may want to go with another option for getting their results if the patient is pregnant. Kidney function problems need to be shared with doctors because contrast material may be used during your imaging procedure and as you’ll see below, contrast material can have adverse reactions in those with kidney problems.

Depending on what your MRI is for, doctors may sometimes ask that you refrain from eating up to an hour before your procedure in order to improve the quality of the images. Your doctor may also have to use contrast material during your MRI in order to highlight and enhance the visibility of certain blood vessels and areas of the body for examination. Technicians will begin the exam and about two-thirds of the way through the exam, the contrast will be administered intravenously. Most patients describe a flushing or cooling sensation around the injection site or a slight metallic taste in the mouth. These are all normal sensations but if you feel uncomfortable at any time during your procedure, speak up and let the technologist know so they may assist you. If you have kidney function problems, be sure to let your radiologist know so that safe use of contrast material can be considered. In those with normal kidney function, contrast material is eventually filtered out of the body with no problems but for those with kidney problems, contrast material may not be filtered out of the body ,

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we’re radiologists concerned about patient care. Fill out this online form or call 504-883-8111 to get in touch with us.

How Can MRIs be Used to Help Diagnose, Stage and Treat Prostate Cancer?

If you’re a male above the age of 50 years old, you have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. If you’re between the ages of 70 and 74, you find yourself right in the average age group of men who are diagnosed.

Most forms of prostate cancer are slow growing, but more aggressive ones may occur. The more aggressive ones run the risk of spreading further throughout the body, including bones and lymph nodes.

While a good number of men who live with prostate cancer never feel symptoms and simply pass away from other causes, even before realizing their condition, regular precautions such as screenings should be conducted.

An MRI Scan is the preferred method of prostate cancer imaging before or after biopsy if treatment is anticipated with hormones, surgery or radiation. . Talk to your doctor about any symptoms or family history of prostate cancer before getting any imaging tests.  Ultrasounds may also be used, but are typically reserved to the biopsy portion of testing due to the low tissue resolution of the technology.

With those at risk of progressive prostate cancer, a MRI helps the doctors in surveillance of the patient. With those who have been diagnosed but are slow progressing, MRIs help doctors determine the stage of the disease. For advanced prostate cancer patients, MRI helps detect the possibility of the disease spreading.

Medical imaging, specifically MRI, is a helpful tool in staging and monitoring. Once a high PSA blood test is obtained, MRIs are used to target a specific area for the next, more definitive test for prostate cancer – a biopsy.

If you suspect you may be suffering from symptoms of prostate cancer, first discuss it with your doctor. Medical imaging experts may then be contacted to give you a more accurate idea of what you’re up against.

If you’re located near New Orleans in Metairie, LA, contact the professionals at Doctors Imaging. Their Radiologists have a special interest in Prostate MRI and are concerned with patient care. You can schedule an appointment online, or by calling 504-883-8111.

What can I expect after an MRI scan?

An MRI scan is a completely safe and necessary procedure for many people. Thousands of MRIs are performed every day within the United States. Despite the frequency of the exam, many can be nervous about what happens during and after. This brief article should allay your concerns.

Depending on the number of images or the degree of detail needed, most MRI procedures take only 15-45 minutes with 5-10 minute breaks between sequences. Contrast material can be administered through an IV or by swallowing a solution. Some describe a flushed, cooling sensation at the injection sites or a slight metallic taste.

If you are particularly nervous about the procedure or have strong feelings of claustrophobia, your radiologist may recommend that you have a mild sedative to help ease your discomfort. If you decide to have sedation during your scan, your doctor will likely recommend 1-2 hours of recovery time at the facility.

After your MRI scan is performed, you will likely want to see your results immediately. Sometimes you will need to stay behind in case your doctor needs more images. If not, the doctor will release you from the facility and you can continue with your daily routine. A radiologist will analyze your test results and send a signed results page. Then, your test results will be sent to your physician.

The information gleaned from MRIs is incredibly beneficial to your health and your doctor’s ability to give the best treatment options and patient care experience. If you have other questions or want to schedule an MRI appointment let your local radiologist know.

Looking for a convenient, low-cost, and most importantly safe MRI scan in the Metairie, Louisiana area? Contact the experts at Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111 to schedule your appointment, or fill out the online form here.

MRIs and Migraines: All You Need to Know

Headaches can happen to any person at any age for a number of reasons: stress, hunger, depression, or lack of sleep, just to name a few. While headaches may be irritating and bothersome, for some, a simple headache can transform into something much more painful. A migraine is a more debilitating form of head pain. Migraines are a form of severe headache that can present quickly and stay active for an unpredictable amount of time.

Symptoms of migraines can vary among patients, but the most common complaints include a throbbing or pulsing pain, typically localized to one side of the brain. Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and a strong sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraine sufferers also experience what is known as “auras.” Auras are sensory hallucinations such as zig-zags, flashing lights, or dark spots. Auras can also present as a strange taste in the mouth, a noticeable smell, or ringing in the ears. These symptoms can range in severity so patients have very little stability or consistency in the ability to deal with the onset of a migraine.

There are many different kinds of migraines, all with varying descriptions and effects. Women are also three times more likely than men to suffer from migraine headaches. Because of the strong sensory symptoms of migraines and their specific location of pain, many specialists theorize that migraines are a disorder found in the central nervous system. There is no definitive cause of migraines but there are a number of theories such as low serotonin levels, magnesium deficiency, nitric oxide release causing the blood vessels to swell, fluctuating hormones and inflammation of the facial nerves.

There are a number of medications and therapies available to those that suffer from migraine headaches, but without knowing the actual cause, many patients must bear with the painful symptoms. If you suffer from severe migraines that interfere with your work, daily activities and relationships, then you should consider having a medical imaging procedure to see if there is any help that can be provided.

MRIs would be the most beneficial medical imaging procedure to have performed if you suffer from frequent and unrelenting migraine headaches. MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging is a procedure that uses magnetized equipment and computer technology to produce detailed images of the body’s internal structures. MRIs are most sensitive to the brain’s functions and the best technique to view the blood vessels of the face and brain because they can view through structures like organs and bone. For deeper examination of the blood vessels, you could speak to your doctor about ordering a MR angiography at the same time. MRIs are painless and non-invasive, so if you are experiencing a migraine attack, the procedure should not irritate you.

If you suffer from the pain and incapacitation of migraine headaches, speak to your physician about your options. An MRI could be a beneficial procedure to identify a possible cause of your migraines and hopefully provide a road to ease and comfort.

Getting tested is the only way to know for sure. If you’re looking for an MRI Exam in Metairie, Louisiana, then go with the experts at Doctors Imaging. You can book an appointment online, or via phone by calling 504-883-8111.

What is it like to be in an MRI Machine?

An MRI machine is a fascinating piece of medical imaging equipment. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is an instrument that doctors use every day to help diagnose and treat a number of illnesses and conditions. But for those that have never had an MRI scan performed, the machinery can seem a tad daunting. But relax and read through, and you’ll see that there is nothing to fear.

In essence, a MRI machine is a giant magnet. The magnet uses radio signals to create the images that doctors and technicians will use to make medical decisions and consider diagnostic options.

To begin, a technologist will ask that you remove your clothing and use the provided gown to cover yourself. You must remove any jewelry, piercings or electronic devices from your person. These materials can seriously aggravate the machine and distort your results. If you have surgical implants or any type of shrapnel or metal within the body, be sure to make your doctor aware of these details. Also if you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant, let the doctor know before the test is performed.

Once you are properly attired to have the MRI performed, you will be asked to lie down on your back on the MRI table. Then the table will begin moving you into the chamber, usually feet-first. While in the chamber, you will hear some loud noises such as banging and whirring sounds. These noises should not alarm you, as they are just the machinations of the MRI. The most important aspect of the scan for the patient is to remain very still. Each section of the examined area will take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. The patient must remain as still as possible for these interludes as even the slightest movement can distort the image and make the procedure take longer. Doctors Imaging now has software the minimizes motion problems. The exam can take anywhere from an 20 minutes to an hour depending on what needs to be examined and what is found.

If you are claustrophobic or extremely nervous about the exam, ask your doctor if you can be provided with a light sedative to calm your nerves. For some MRI scans, the doctor may ask that contrast be used. Contrast is a material that doctors will administer either through an IV or by mouth so that key areas like tumors and blockages can be highlighted for easier diagnosis. If you have kidney function problems, be sure make your doctor aware before taking contrast. MRIs do not use any radiation so they are safe and relatively painless.

If you other questions or concerns, let your doctor or technician know before the exam. The key to remaining healthy is to have the best imaging results and the most information available as possible.

If you’re looking to get your first MRI in the Metairie or New Orleans area, come to Doctors Imaging, where we’re concerned about quality patient care. You can schedule your MRI appointment online or via phone at 504-883-8111.

How Can MRI Scans help prevent cancer?

Medical technology has come incredibly far in the last century. One of the best inventions made in the medical field is the MRI machine. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is one of the best diagnostic tools your doctor can use to determine treatment options. MRIs are used for a variety of reasons but how can they be beneficial for those trying to prevent or treat cancer?

MRI machines use magnetic fields and radio frequencies to capture images of the internal structures of the body. Because they do not use radiation, it is safe to use on any part of the body as well as children. If you want to know if you have a possibility of cancer or a tumor present, your doctor will likely order this imaging test for you. The most frequent use of MRI today is the evaluation of spine and joint problems.

MRIs are extremely beneficial for seeing into the various tissues such as heart, brain and abdomen and will be used to highlight the possibility of cancer. You will be asked to lie down on the machine’s table and then you will be slowly moved into the magnetic chamber. The test can take some time but most importantly, you must remain still so that the doctor can obtain the highest quality images.

While MRIs won’t themselves prevent cancer from forming, they can produce the best quality images for your doctor to decide if you are high-risk for cancer or if there is already a tumor forming. For some MRI exams, the doctor may tell you that contrast material needs to be administered. This will either be done through an IV or by drinking the contrast material. Contrast material is sometimes a necessary instrument for doctors to get better detail from your MRI results. Contrast material can highlight a tumor or abnormality that may have been hidden or too small to see in prior tests. If you have problems with kidney function be sure to let your doctor know prior to taking contrast fluid. If your kidneys cannot filter out the contrast material, there may be complications.

Unfortunately, medical technology has only found a handful of ways to prevent a handful of cancers, but having the availability of medical imaging procedures like MRIs performed easily can make it so that you know immediately if there something dangerous or suspicious.

If you have questions or concerns or want to set up an MRI appointment in the Metairie, Louisiana area, just give us a call at 504-883-8111, or schedule your MRI online.

Could an MRI Help with my Back Pain?

Back pain is one of the most common complaints doctors hear. Whether it is labor intensive employment, lack of exercise, age or just everyday strain, back pain can one of the most debilitating forms of pain. Not only does it affect your physical functionality but it becomes difficult to mentally distinguish from the pain, and the result is your family, friends, and associates begin to notice your change in behavior. If holistic methods like stretching and massage are no longer working on your back pain and it has begun to interfere into your everyday activities, perhaps it is time to speak to your doctor about searching for more strategized solutions for difficult back pain.

What is an MRI? How can it help with my back pain?

To begin your search for solutions, speak to your doctor about scheduling an MRI appointment. An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a tool that uses strong magnetic and radio waves to create an electronic image that can detail the tissues, organs and bones more efficiently than with X-rays or CT scans. Using MRI, doctors can take a deeper and more extensive look at problems such as joint and musculoskeletal disorders, especially within the back. An MRI machine contains a large magnet that excites the atoms around the body, then when exposed to radio waves, the original placement of the atoms is interpreted by computer technology. Radio waves transmit the signals atoms produce to a computer that processes an image of the examined area into thin slices. This type of imaging allows for doctors to examine deep into the tissues as well as revealing all parts of the spinal vertebrae, discs, and nerves.

Using an MRI, doctors can help patients find the causes of their pain such as:

  • herniated, disintegrated, or bulging intervertebral discs
  • compressed (pinched) or inflamed nerves
  • diseased spinal tissues
  • spinal bone abnormalities
  • nerve damage
  • possible infections
  • tumors
  • spinal cord diseases

Will an MRI hurt?

If your MRI examination requires the use of contrast fluid, a small IV will placed within the examined site and a cooling sensation may be felt around the area. Besides the contrast injection, some patients describe a slight feeling of claustrophobia going into the MRI machine. If this is a serious problem, speak to your doctor about the possibility of a mild sedative. A friend or family member is allowed inside the room at your request but will have to sign a written clearance beforehand. Besides these concerns, an MRI is completely painless and takes about 2-15 minutes depending on movement or distortion of the image.

The reason most people do not get these specific imaging procedures is because they can be somewhat frightening, particularly for children, the first time. But remember, that any type of back pain that interferes in your daily ability to work, enjoy your family, or sleep comfortably is a problem that needs attention and could be the warning signal of a much more serious complication.

What Happens During an MRI?

During an MRI, the patient will lay down on the examination table and technicians may strap the patient down, but only to keep the correct position for the maximum display of the image. Depending on the facility and the examination, some patients may have contrast fluid injected after about ⅔ of the exam is completed. Contrast fluid is a totally harmless chemical administered intravenously that creates a reaction within the  body to highlight abnormalities like compressed or blocked blood vessels or diseased tissues. Your doctor will inform you prior to the procedure if contrast fluid will be necessary. The table will be slowly moved into the MRI chamber, you will usually be head-first, and then the exam begins. Patients can often hear a steady drumming or thumping sound within the chamber. Some doctors request that a patient abstain from food or drink varying hours before the exam. Your doctor or imagining technicians can answer all of these questions for you. Also, the doctors can see and speak to you and you to them as well. So if anything is particularly uncomfortable or confusing, let your doctor know immediately.

Living with pain is unnecessary and harmful to your mental and physical health. Having these examinations can help alleviate the everyday pain that holds your back from experiencing and enjoying your life to the fullest. A life without the constant, straining aggravation of back pain is possible if you can take control of your medical health and talk to your doctor about getting serious about solutions for your pain.