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 to do if Your Child Swallowed an Object

Any parent will tell you that children do not come with instruction manuals. They are curious, messy and sometimes the only way they learn to not do something, is to do it. That is why so often, 911 dispatchers and pediatricians get that frantic call from a parent that their child has swallowed something. If you are the parent of a child, there are a few steps that need to be followed.

1. Make Sure They Aren’t Choking

Sometimes when kids swallow things, it can end up in their stomach or in their windpipe. If the child is coughing, grabbing at their throat or having difficulty breathing, that tiny piece might be caught in their windpipe. Only try to grab the object if you can clearly see it in the throat, otherwise, you may push it further into the windpipe. If they are showing that they are choking or are overwhelmed, give them the Heimlich Maneuver.

2. Try to Determine What the Object Was

We understand, you turned your back for one second and that is all it took for your child to ingest something they weren’t suppose to. Not only are children curious, but they are also quick. For younger children, using the mouth as an exploratory instrument is pretty standard. See if there are missing pieces and parts around where the child was playing. If it was toxic, like household chemicals or batteries, call your local poison control center. Seek medical attention for sharp, metallic or unknown objects that the child may have ingested.

3. Speak to Your Doctor about Ultrasound or X-ray

Typically speaking, if a child swallows something like coins or toy pieces, they usually pass them on their own. However, sharp objects can sometimes cause painful tearing or bowel movements. That is why Doctors Imaging recommends having your child undergo proper medical imaging procedures in order to determine the condition of internal organs after foreign-body ingestion.

For most children and their parents, swallowing something unintentionally can be a scary moment. That is why medical imaging procedures can be more difficult. Scared children are commonly difficult to maneuver. However, most doctors will recommend having X-rays performed in order to track the foreign object. Not all objects will show up on an X-ray. Ultrasounds are easier to perform because they do not require the child to be separated from parents and does not expose them to radiation. However, X-rays are really the only fool-proof method available to track a swallowed object if it has material that is visible and even if not visible may show some changes in the airway or in the lungs; and if in the digestive system, may help to make sure it does as little damage as possible on its way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging, utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

In an emergency, call 911. When you’re ready for your next medical imaging appointment, please call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111 or simply request your appointment online.

The History of Medical Imaging

The first X-RayMedical imaging is a form of technology that has revolutionized the medical field in the past century.  With these new innovations, doctors were able to elevate the standard of practice and the experience of the patient. Now, areas of pain or trouble can be non-invasively examined and treatment can begin without the patient even needing to go under. But when did the innovation of medical imaging begin?

Read below to take a trip down memory lane and find out how the medical field and the technology industry have been working together to build a better, healthier world.

Röntgen performs X-Ray in 1895

Professor Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovers the ability to look through the skin and see the bones of the body while performing experiments on another project. While working with a cathode ray generator, he noticed an image that was left when the cathode rays came into contact with the vacuum tube. He performed the first X-ray on his wife’s hand and even gave the technology the name we use today, calling this discovery “X” rays because they were unsure what exactly they were. This invention was eventually standardized by William Coolidge and his X-ray known as the “Coolidge tube” is what all modern X-ray machines are based from.  The first X-rays required at least 11 minutes of exposure to produce a quality image. Now X-rays take only a few seconds and they use about 2% of the radiation amount seen in the early 20th century machines.

Scientists Use Ultrasounds in the 1960s

The basics of sonar had been discovered and utilized during World War II as a form of maritime warfare. In the early 1960s, scientists discovered that sending sound waves into the body would bounce off the internal structures and then returned to the ultrasound machine to be reformatted into images for doctors to see. This allowed doctors to non-invasively search for tumors and other growths.

Damadian Discovers MRI in 1970

Dr. Raymond Damadian discovers that different animal tissues emit different signals, as well as that cancerous tissues, take much longer to return the signal sent through them. This is the basis for magnetic resonance imaging. In 1977, Dr. Damadian created the first full-body MRI machine which he named the “Indomitable.”

Hounsfield Invents CT Scans in 1972

The 1970s showed the first instance of computer technology mixing into the medical field with Sir Godfrey Hounsfield’s invention of the CT machine. He theorizes that you could see into an object if you took X-rays from different angles of the object through a machine that would appear as “slices” which could then be put together to form an image. With his idea, he formed the first “axial tomography” machine which we now know as the CT machine. In 1979, he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and was later knighted by the British Royal Family.

Since then, all of these machines have entered into the digital age and are now updated with the latest technology available. This means that there is less potential risk for patients as well as a greater ability to diagnose and treat.

Looking for medical imaging in Louisiana? At Doctors Imaging, we’re Radiologists concerned with patient care. Meet our Radiologists or request your next medical impaging appointment online.

Can I Have an MRI During Pregnancy?

When we become injured or sick, it can be troubling, but with support and medicine, we can treat ourselves and our symptoms. However, when a woman is pregnant and becomes sick or injured, there are more lives than hers to consider during treatment. There are lists of activities and products that pregnant woman have to avoid but should medical imaging be one of these? We are going to discuss the precautions and protections in place to help keep both mommy and baby healthy.

The first thing that probably comes to mind when considering the danger of medical imaging while pregnant is radioactive substances and procedures that utilize this kind of medicine. And when we think of radioactive medical procedures, the first that come to mind are X-rays, CTs, and PET-CT scans. All of these procedures have a radioactive element. But before expectant mothers become worried, they should know that there are safety guidelines for their benefit.

Expectant mothers should not be barred from accessing potentially life-saving imaging procedures. As such, medical imaging equipment manufacturers and researchers work hard to give the best quality equipment along with the safest for all potential patients. Being the oldest form of medical imaging technology, X-rays have been used by pregnant women since their invention. Having your X-rays performed at a facility like Doctors Imaging means that your doctor and our radiologists will seek alternatives to radiation and, if unavoidable, will work to reduce the dosage of radiation exposure. As with all medical procedures, if you think that you might be pregnant, be sure to let your doctor or the radiology technician know.

At Doctors Imaging, the procedures that seem to cause mothers the most worry are CT scans and MRIs. Please know that CT scans use X-rays combined with computer technology in order to compose images for medical use. Pregnant women: Please talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of CT scans.

The other procedure we hear the most concern about from expectant mother is an MRI. Fortunately, we can often alleviate these concerns because MRIs are one of the safest procedures for pregnant women. Having an MRI during pregnancy is safe because MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, only use the magnetic mechanical components along with radio frequencies in order to map the interior of the body. There are absolutely no radioactive components for mothers to worry about and the detail that can be gleaned from MRIs during pregnancy is both valuable and necessary. At Doctors Imaging, our 3T MRI technology is the most powerful MRI in clinical use for every part of the body. For MRI patients with claustrophobia, we also have an open MRI machine this tends to be much less intimidating.

Finally, please know that we don’t recommend PET-CT scans for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. PET (positron emission tensor imaging CT scans) use nuclear medicine in order to highlight differences between healthy and diseased tissue in the body and brain. This test utilizes a radioactive drug that is administered directly into the body. This drug can be harmful to the baby. Often, physicians will find an alternative diagnostic method in these cases.

We are committed to keeping both mom and baby as comfortable and healthy as possible at Doctors Imaging. If you have more questions about X-rays, CT scans or MRIs during pregnancy, please feel free to call our offices in Metairie at 504-883-8111, Monday through Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avoiding Bone Cancer and Maintaining Bone Density

Our bones are our foundation and yet so many forget their importance. Despite their high importance to the body, bones can be fragile. They can be easily fractured, broken, moved out of place and can lose their density with age, disease and lifestyle choices. One major concern for the bones is the development of bone cancer.

Bone cancer is not a common cancer. Bone cancer affects about 3,000 people a year but if caught early enough and the patient does not have other health concerns, the five year survival rate for bone cancer is about 70%. Cancer can begin in almost any bone which means that having immediate check-ins with your doctors and X-rays where you have symptoms is the best way to make sure that you do not have to suffer through advanced bone cancer.

Bone density is another major concern for doctors because so many people participate in density-depleting activities and do not give their bone health the attention they deserve. Your bones are the foundation for your body, what you use to move and function in our daily lives. Sure lots of people know that calcium is good for your bones. But did you know that your body stops acquiring calcium after 30 years of age? And for women this can occur even earlier and have a higher effect because of breast-feeding. Smoking cigarettes not only destroys your lungs but it eradicates much of the calcium out of your bones. Excessive drinking is also disruptive to the calcium in your bones as well as high consumptions of soft drinks.

One of the best things you can do to promote bone health is physical exercise along with drinking milk or taking an everyday calcium supplement. Another great way to keep your bones in tip-top shape is focusing on your nutrition. Foods like yogurt, broccoli and spinach are all great for building strong bones and maintaining as much calcium as possible. Avoid soft drinks and energy drinks as well. Excessive caffeine can be detrimental to bone health. Sodas contain high levels of phosphate which binds to calcium in the digestive tract and reduces the amount of much-needed calcium that is absorbed. Then calcium is released into the bloodstream to balance the amount of acid caused by phosphates in the bloodstream.

Bone health is a concern for both men and women. Because the body reaches it maximum bone density in the mid to late 20s, once that time has passed it becomes much more difficult to incorporate calcium back into the bones. Women begin losing bone mass after menopause has begun at a fast rate and because men have more of the hormone testosterone so they also begin losing bone mass but  later. Testosterone can be damaging to the body, especially to bone density, which is why men who take testosterone supplements should be very aware of the potential risks both now and in the future.

Keeping your bones healthy should be one of your highest concerns, you are going to need them for a long, long time. So be sure that you pay attention to your nutrition, lifestyle choices and get X-rays performed if you are concerned about bone cancer or your bone density.

There is no need to set up a specific appointment if you just need an X-ray. Just come by with your doctor’s order. You can visit the X-ray Services Page of Doctors Imaging or you can call our offices at 504-833-8111.