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 do have a radioactive element but before expectant mothers become worried, 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 in Metairie means that your doctor and our radiologists will seek alternatives to radiation and if unavoidable, to reduce the dosage of radiation exposure. As the rule with all medical procedures, if you think that you might be pregnant, be sure to let your doctor or the radiology technician know.

Other procedures that cause mothers to worry are CT scans and MRIs. CT scans do use X-ray  combined with computer technology in order to compose images for medical use. Once again, pregnant women should discuss with their doctor whether CT medical imaging is really needed.

The other procedure we hear the most concern about from expectant mother is having an MRI performed. We love to dispel this fear because MRIs are the safest procedure for pregnant women! Having an MRI during pregnancy is safe because MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, only uses the magnetic mechanic components along with radio frequencies in order to map the interior of the body. There is 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 machine is the most powerful MRI in clinical use and for the women that have problems with claustrophobia and need their MRI performed, we also have an open MRI at our facilities.

We don’t recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers have a PET-CT scan. PET or positron emission tensor imaging CT scans use nuclear medicine in order to highlight differences between healthy and diseased tissue in the body and brain. Because the radioactive drug is administered directly into the body it can be harmful for baby. Physicians will find another diagnostic method for these cases.

We are committed to keeping both mommy and baby as comfortable and healthy as possible at Doctors Imaging. If you have more questions about X-rays, CT scans or MRI during pregnancy, please feel free to call our offices in Metairie at 504-833-8111, Monday through Friday or visit our Services Page for more information.

What is a CT Scan?

CT ScanHere at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we find that first time patients to our facility have a lot of general questions they might be prepared to ask. That is what our FAQ section and blog is for: to help our patients get more information so that they feel more comfortable when coming in for their procedures. One of the most common of the questions: what is a CT scan anyways? Well, let’s find out.

What Does CT Stand For?

CT stands for “computed tomography.” Let’s begin our lesson about CT scans by breaking down the name of the procedure. Tomography comes from the Greek word tomos meaning “slice.” Tomography refers to any form of imaging displaying a cross section through the body or object using either X-ray or other technologies. Computed tomography is combining the X-ray features with computer technology in order to create the highly detailed images or slices that physicians use to diagnose and treat patients.

How Do CT Scans Work?

CT scans are extremely beneficial because they allow medical professionals to see into the interior of the body without making incisions. This technology was not available 40 years ago which lead to a lot of invasive, exploratory procedures that may or may not have yielded conclusive results.

As we stated earlier, CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software in order to create medical images. If you have never a CT scanner before, it looks like a large circular chamber with a bed inside in which patients lay down and are then slowly placed inside the circular chamber or “gantry.” The interior of the chamber is equipped with video and microphone so CT technicians and doctors can still hear and see you.

CT scans do not take too much time, at most 30-45 minutes. It is very important for patients to remain as still as possible in order to produce the clearest images. Inside the CT’s opening, on one side there is a X-ray tube that emits X-rays and on the other side of the circle is a large detector. As the machine makes a entire rotation,  X-rays move through the body and are caught by the detector. The detector captures the X-rays as one “slice” or angle and transfers them to computer software that translates the image.

What are CT scans used for?

What a CT scan searching for in the body is dependent on what the patient needs. Doctors use CTs for a number of reasons: broken bones, cardiovascular problems, blood clots, bleeding, cancer detection and much more. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our Siemens CT machine can take up 64 slices of an area of the body ensuring thorough examination for patients and accurate diagnosis for doctors.

If you have more questions about what a CT scan is, what to do to prepare for your CT or what to expect, you can visit our CT Services Page. If you would like to schedule a CT appointment you can do so through our Request an Appointment page or you can call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8:00am until 5:00pm.

The Better Health You’ll Get When You Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst vices to have. Thankfully, over the past 50 years, the research and education about the dangers of smoking has become widespread. Nationally, there are still some that pick up the habit. For those smokers out there, quitting cigarettes is like the saying “better late than never.” It’s hard but there are ways to do it. Let’s examine them.

Nicotine Patches and Gum

Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical additive in cigarettes that keeps you coming back for more. In a way, it is just as deadly as the dangerous carcinogens found in cigarettes because they allow for just enough to not immediately harm you (you can actually overdose on nicotine) but enough to keep you addicted. Nicotine gum has proven effective at stopping people in the beginning of their transition out of smoking cigarettes. In the beginning, you are taking in about the same amount of nicotine and then slowly decrease your levels in an effort to wean yourself off the habit of smoking. For many smokers, one of the hardest parts of quitting is losing that oral habit, so chewing gum can be helpful in keeping that bit of routine. However, be careful not to give into the cravings when you are using nicotine replacement products. The overload of nicotine to your system can have harmful side effects.

Electronic Cigarettes

The sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cig has exploded in the last 3-5 years. Former smokers can still have the sensation of smoking cigarette without any of the carcinogens or the harmful second hand smoke. They are allowed to be used in most places so if a craving should hit, you can employ it. The e-cig is actually filled with a solution of “propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings” and then superheated to a breathable vapor. Like the patch and gum, the nicotine in the e-cig solution is supposed to decrease your smoking until you don’t have the urge anymore. Electronic cigarettes have come under fire because of the potential health risks of the chemicals in the solution, some say that it just acts as a stall before actually quitting, but there are solutions that do not use nicotine, do your research and speak to your doctors about your quitting solutions.

Quitting Prescriptions

Some smokers have found relief from the addiction through nicotine replacement therapy found with certain prescription medicines. The two major brands of anti-smoking medications are Zyban and Chantix. Zyban contains the active ingredient Bupropion and is helps to lessen the urge to smoke while Chantix contains Varenicline which helps with nicotine withdrawal and if a smoker does decide to smoke again the medicine blocks the nicotine from cigarettes. These medicines are still in their infancy and have serious side effects such as “nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting as well as headaches, abnormal dreams and taste disturbance” as well as some psychological problems.

Weaning oneself off of any addiction is extremely difficult that is why if you are attempted this journey, find support, reach out to an online community and don’t participate in the same activities where you once smoked. The benefits of quitting smoking, no matter when, can be felt immediately. Former smokers report better moods, better digestion, better taste, better sleep patterns and not to mention the long-term health benefits.

LUNG CANCER SCREENING

Doctors Imaging in Metairie has been officially accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Certified Lung Cancer Screening Center. By using low-dose CT capability, radiologists are able to determine the presence of lung cancer better than ever before. Because of our state of the art 64-slice Siemens CT, our radiologists’ experience and highly trained staff, patients of Doctors Imaging can be assured that their lung cancer screening is thorough. Thanks to this accreditation, Doctors Imaging often sees the damage of smoking on the body and encourages the benefits of quitting smoking as soon as possible. We recommend that if you are over 50 and used to or still smoke cigarettes or tobacco, you should consider a lung screening. The earlier lung cancer is detected and treatment begun, the higher one’s chances are of survival.

If you would like to schedule a lung cancer screening CT or you have more questions about CT capabilities at Doctors Imaging, you can Book an Appointment or you can call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Saturday.

A Look at Doctors Imaging’s Medical Equipment

At Doctors Imaging, we like to provide the best service, staff and equipment along with the best price for our patients. We believe that everyone should have access to these machines so that they can be confident in their treatment plans and knowledgeable about their health conditions.

We have a 3T MRI and we offer an open MRI for the patients that feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic in the traditional MRI. A 3T MRI is the most powerful MRI machine for commercial use today and we are the region’s first freestanding center to offer its capabilities. There are other facilities and hospitals that use the 1.5T MRIs, but at Doctors Imaging, we want the most powerful equipment and since insurance companies usually charge the same price no matter what the equipment is, you can have the best equipment and images for a lower price that you would pay at a hospital.

In addition to our MRI machines, we also offer the 64-slice CT machine, a powerful CT machine with the lowest radiation settings possible. With this machine, 64 different “slices” or pictures of the examined area can be provided to doctors allowing them to see further and deeper into the body so they can give a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan. This machine allows for 68% reduction rate in radiation as opposed to many other CT machines on the market. We understand that radiation exposure is a concern for many of our patients which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing the best and safest care possible.

At Doctors Imaging, we also provide digital X-rays so there is less radiation exposure from this as opposed to the traditional X-ray machines. We also offer 3D and 4D ultrasounds so that expectant mothers as well as medical patients can have the most in-depth and detailed images of their babies and bodies available to them. At our facility we also have the GE PET-CT Fusion which is manufactured by one of the most trusted companies on the market.

We want people to know that if you need a medical imaging procedure, you are not required to go to a hospital. Instead you can come to Doctors Imaging in Metairie and have an immediate appointment, almost no waiting time, fast results and a great affordable price.

Visit our Make an Appointment page or call 504-883-8111 for the best days and times for your imaging procedure.  

The History of Medical Imaging

Medical 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.

1895

Professor Wilhelm Röntgen accidently 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.

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.

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.”

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. If you have questions about medical imaging, speak to your radiologist about scheduling an appointment soon.

Looking for medical imaging in the Louisiana area? At Doctors Imaging, we’re Radiologists concerned with patient care. Meet our Radiologists here.

What is better at Evaluating for Heart Disease and Stroke? MRI or CT?

With the constant advertisements about what is “heart healthy” or “preventative” it can be difficult to decipher what is actually beneficial to your health and what is just clever marketing. Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Everyone knows that a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are some of the best ways to keep your heart well and to offset the chance of developing a stroke, but what else can be done? If you have a history of heart disease or stroke in your family, or if you are high-risk for these conditions, a good way to determine your probability of developing these conditions is for you and your doctor to consider having medical imaging procedures performed regularly. The two most recommended for these conditions would be an MRI or CT scan. Read more to find out which of these procedures or others will provide the most warning if you are at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

MRI

MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging procedure that uses a combination of magnets, radio waves and computer technology to create highly detailed images of the body’s internal organs. MRIs are particularly beneficial for the detection and diagnosis of cardio-vascular disease because of the ability of the machinery to see the difference between healthy and diseased tissue which can be symptomatic of heart disease or blood clot.

MRIs can be performed on both the brain and the heart. Images will be taken of the aorta, and surrounding blood vessels to determine the functionality and condition of these structures. These procedures are the easiest ways for your doctor to see if there are areas for concern. If there is an alarming image or if your doctor just wants to be thorough, he may recommend you have an echocardiogram or further cardiac testing.

CT Scan

CT scans are another extremely beneficial medical imaging test that doctors use to help determine the probability of heart attack, stroke and other conditions. CTs or computed tomography use computers and x-ray technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. If you are concerned about the condition of your heart or the possibility of a stroke, having a CT scan performed is recommended because they can image bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at once in order to determine the functionality of all of these elements together.

CTs can be performed on every part of the body but if the possibility of heart disease or stroke is worrying you, you can ask your doctor to order a screening Calcium Score test and if abnormal to consider a CT angiogram (CTA) or a standard angiogram. During a CTA, contrast material is injected into the body in order to highlight the functionality of the blood vessels and arteries in the chest. If there is a blockage in this area, the contrast will allow doctors to see the exact location so that imaging can be localized to that area. If your doctor is concerned about the possibility of stroke in the brain, they may order a perfusion CT, a new imaging technique that draws maps of the blood flow in the brain, the blood volume and the time blood takes to travel throughout the brain. Using these technologies, doctors are better equipped to find problem areas in the brain and access the risk of stroke.

Which Should I get then?

In conclusion, CT scans are not as proficient at seeing the details of soft tissue as MRIs are but MRIs and CT are some of the best imaging procedures that a patient can have if they are concerned about stroke or heart attack. Speak to your physician or radiologist about having these imaging tests performed to better understand the possible risks and results.

Looking for a CT scan or MRI near New Orleans, Louisiana? At Doctors Imaging, our radiologists are concerned with patient care. You can schedule your imaging exams online, or by calling 504-883-8111.

What do CT Results Look Like? What is my Doctor Looking For?

CT scans are a commonly performed medical imaging procedure because they generate incredibly useful information while providing just a low level of discomfort for the patient. CT, or computed tomography scans, are helpful due to their use of a combination of X-ray and computer technology to create the images that doctors and patients will examine together to find the best treatment options.

When doctors ask patients to undergo a CT scan, there could be a number of reasons why. CT scans are primarily used for looking at the different tissues of the body such as: lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels. Doctors will also order these scans when they need to examine the chest or body prior to surgery or after an injury. Other reasons to have this procedure would be for the diagnosing of cancer, skeletal malformations and vascular dysfunction.

Once you have had your CT scan performed, the results will be prepared for patient and doctor review. CT technology creates cross-sectional images of the internal structures meaning that the images will be layers or splices of the same location. To the unfamiliar patient, all of the images may look similar or unrecognizable. Doctors will walk the patient through the results and answer any questions they may have.

By having several layers of images of the same structure, doctors are able to observe the structure from different angles. This kind of imaging assists doctors by allowing them to see the size, shape, depth, location and degree of growth of the examined area. This will help doctors in their diagnosing capabilities and finding the best treatment options for the patient. The most up-to-date and thorough information is best for keeping you healthy and informed. Speak to your doctor today if you would like to schedule an appointment for a CT scan or if have further questions or concerns.

If you require a CT Scan in the Greater New Orleans or Metairie area, contact us at Doctors Imaging. We’re Radiologists concerned about patient care. You can either schedule your appointment via online form, or give us a call at 504-883-8111.