MRIs for Kids and Young Adults

When your child is hurt, every parent wants to be sure that their child is receiving the best medical treatment. Children may be even more susceptible to getting hurt because of their rambunctious and curious natures. Sports are a great way for children to make friends, learn discipline and responsibility as well as getting them to engage in much needed physical exercise. While sports may provide a host of benefits, it is also one of the most common ways that children receive injuries.

Whether kids perform martial arts, or play football, baseball, soccer, even more feminine sports like ballet and cheerleading can be sources of serious injuries for children. Childhood gymnasts often experience joint and tendon problems because of their movements and overuse. Children that play contact sports are even more likely to experience a debilitating injury like broken, or sprained limbs. The dreaded injury for any athlete, regardless of age, is an ACL tear.

The ACL is a ligament that helps the knee to bend forward and backwards. Because it is located on the outside of the kneecap, it can be easily broken with a forced jump, a wrong twist or rough contact from an opponent. An ACL tear may require surgery and months of physical therapy and for many athletes, it can be a career-ending injury.

Other common injuries for children in sports include shoulder and elbow injuries. If you have a child that is active in sports and they complain often of pain in these areas, be sure that you ask your pediatrician about an MRI for kids. MRIs are one of the safest methods of medical imaging for children for a number of reasons.

MRIs for kids are the highest recommended form of medical imaging because they involve no radiation. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. That means that inside the machine is a large orbiting magnet. Let’s go back to Biology class, everything is made up of atoms right? Well hydrogen atoms make up a majority of our body. When you enter an MRI chamber, the machine blasts these hydrogen atoms with sound waves making them disruptive and chaotic.  Then the magnet makes the atoms realign where they were. The machine then takes a “photo” of the body and transcribes what it sees with the help of computer technology. So if there is something like a break, mass or strain, the hydrogen atoms would conform around this object because it isn’t meant to be there, creating a photo of the injury for doctors.

In addition to using no radiation, MRIs are more adept at seeing beyond factors like bone, muscle and organs and still giving high quality images. This is especially important for children who often have trouble staying still, especially when they are hurt. Although they need to stay as still as possible for the procedure, if they can do that once, they usually don’t have to do it again. MRIs for kids are the easiest way of determining the degree and severity of an injury.

CT scans are also proficient at determining the extent of injury however they do use  radiation in order to create their images. Where CTs differ from MRIs, besides the use of radiation, is that CTs give cross sectional images of the interior body. MRIs can take images of the same area of the body however MRI has less picture clarity than MRI because it is more susceptible to breathing and other movements.

In or around Metairie, Louisiana and need a MRI or other imaging scan for your child? Give Doctors Imaging a call at 504-883-8111 or use this online form to get the expertise your family needs.

Common Radiology Myths Debunked – Facts and Answers

At Doctors Imaging, we’ve heard nearly every question and concern from patients. With the proliferation of information available on the internet, it’s becoming a lot more common for patients to come in with questions about confusing or simply incorrect information they found online. With this post, our goal is to clear up some of that information for you.

When people come in for their medical imaging procedures, they feel a number of different emotions. Fear, insecurity, and anxiety are the most commonly described feelings. Some are afraid of what the results will be, others are afraid of a painful procedure, but many patients find themselves worried about the radiation exposure from the machinery involved in procuring internal images.

Myth #1: Radiation from Medical Imaging is Dangerous

Radiation is an important concern. If you are going to a doctor’s office to see if something is wrong, then you likely don’t want to do anything that could hurt you. Doctors Imaging is just as concerned with your safety and wants you to know that they have every possible safeguard in place to protect you and the technicians that work around these machines everyday.

To begin, you should know that radiation is a common element of everyday life. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, “we are surrounded by naturally-occurring radioactive elements in the soil and stones” and the “radioactive particles we take into our bodies through food and water.” Furthermore, we are composed of radiation in our bones and blood and are exposed through consumer products like aluminized watches and ionized smoke detectors, even airplanes give off bits of radiation. Our body is constantly bombarded by bits of radiation but people are still healthy.

This is because radiation can only have negative effects on the body when you are exposed to large doses in an unsupervised environment. At Doctors Imaging, our technicians are selected for their experience and knowledge as well as their patient care. We are committed to making you feel comfortable with your imaging procedure and keeping you informed by answering all of your questions. We minimize radiation in every way possible. If a procedure is important for your health, you should not hesitate to follow your doctor’s recommendations. But feel free to discuss with your doctor or us as to whether there are good diagnostic alternatives available.

Myth #2: Radiation Will Make me Sick

A common question with any imaging procedure is “Can I get sick from the radiation?” And the answer would be no, it would be very rare to have an adverse reaction from the imaging procedures provided by Doctors Imaging in Metairie. We have state of the art equipment and experienced professionals working in our facility to make sure that your health is constantly protected. All of the imaging machines at Doctors Imaging are programmed to have the lowest possible radiation exposure while still providing the clearest images for the doctor and patients viewing.

At Doctors Imaging, we offer a number of imaging procedures including MRIs, X-rays, CT scans, PET-CT scans, and ultrasounds. The only way to be exposed to radiation would be through X-ray and CT machines. MRI and Ultrasound do not use radiation. While X-rays may expose the body to radiation, it is usually limited to a specific area. In addition, the X-ray machines at Doctors Imaging are digital X-rays, which means that the radiation exposure is significantly reduced. Having digital X-rays provides doctors with better images and gives patients the peace of mind that their medical procedures are safe.

The other common way patients are exposed to radiation is with CT machines. CT stands for computed tomography. CTs use computer software along with X-ray capabilities to create cross-sectional images of the body. By doing this, doctors can see deeper into the body’s soft tissues and blood vessels and have clearer images. As stated earlier, the amount of radiation coded into the machine is at the lowest possible setting to insure that the images produced are still of the best quality.

Myth #3: Open and Closed MRIs produce the same images

Some patients ask our technicians about the difference between open and closed MRIs. Open MRIs are low strength and refer to machines that have a large opening so that patients do not feel as enclosed. While this may be more comfortable for some, the images produced in standard high strength MRIs are superior and preferred. By using advanced high field MRI, the machine creates clearer images. Doctors Imaging offers both MRI machines. Whatever the patient decides is best for them will be respected but if you having an imaging procedure performed, it is recommended that you get the best quality images you can. If you are nervous or claustrophobic about any of our imaging equipment, speak with your doctor or our staff about playing calming music or having a sedative available.

If you’ve heard any other “facts” about Medical Imaging you’d like us to double-check, post a message on our Facebook or tweet at @DoctorsImaging and we’ll answer them next time.