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.

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.

Is It Safe for my Child to Get an X-Ray or other Imaging Procedure?

Due to the nature of children, injuries both minor and major can arise quite often. Whether kids are playing sports, horsing around or happen to be in some kind of accident situation, when they are hurt, every parent wants to make sure that they provide the best care and attention. When a child’s injuries are serious, it is always recommended to have medical attention. But what if a child needs more than just the usual stitches or band-aid? What if they have broken bones or a serious injury?

When a child’s medical needs go beyond the usual, parents are concerned with any additional trauma that their child may have to experience. Obviously, the first concern of any parent is to heal their child but they also don’t want their child to suffer any side effects or complications. This is why many parents are wary of medical imaging for their children.

For those of an older generation or those who aren’t aware of the amazing advances and progress that the medical imaging field has made, the process can sound a tad frightening. Most parents are worried about the effects radiation from these machines and instruments could cause further harm to their children. A recent article has called upon the medical community to create a more standardized method of medical imaging because the lack of regular protocol has led to many alarmed and confused parents.

Dr. Stephen J. Swensen of the Mayo Clinic reports there is an “overuse and misuse of medical imaging among children” and seeks “an appeal to standardize safe and appropriate imaging of children.” Dr. Swensen applies a “right” kind of approach to children and medical imaging meaning that there is a “right exam” for every case, a “right way” for each procedure and a “right radiation dose” for different sized children. This is not to say that if a child breaks their arm they shouldn’t have an X-ray performed. Or if there is a case of pediatric cancer, then CTs should be the test of choice. But because children are still growing, the problem is in the over-usage of medical imaging especially if a facility is not using digital medical imaging. It’s one of the reason that both our X-Ray and Ultrasound equipment both use digital results.

Dr. Swensen’s proposal is not meant to dissuade parents from using medical imaging to help treat their children or to scold doctors and facilities that perform this procedures on children. On the contrary, the proposal is to simply ask these facilities and physicians to take a more personalized approach to their younger patients. While children can bounce back from injury and sickness better than their adult counterparts, physicians are asked to make sure they are following protocol and doing what they can to protect their child patients from any future harm.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie welcomes children of all ages to have their medical imaging needs performed. Like all of our procedures and instruments for the adult patients, children’s medical imaging exams are calibrated to have the lowest radiation settings to ensure both the best images possible but furthermore, the least amount of radiation exposure possible. In addition to our family-friendly staff, we also have the most up-to-date machinery so parents need not worry about radiation when their children come to Doctors Imaging.

If you have other questions about children and medical imaging, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie for answers by calling 504-883-8111 or completing our online form.