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.

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.

4 Myths About MRI Scans That are Just Plain Wrong

In the medical field, because there is so much research happening and so many different beliefs, there can be a lot of miscommunication. However, in this field, miscommunication can be dangerous because it dissuades people from using certain innovations and trusting physicians. So we are going to help dispel some of the common rumors and myths surrounding MRI scans.

You Can Get Radiation Exposure from MRIs

There is a common concern when it comes to medical imaging about radiation exposure. While this fear might have been substantial years ago, medical imaging has changed a lot. X-rays were the first form of medical imaging and did use radioactive material in order to create images. Today however, places like Doctors Imaging use only digital X-rays. CT scans also use radiation for their images but the amount is set to the lightest standards to avoid damage. However, radiation exposure is never a concern if you are having an MRI scan performed. MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging use magnetic power and radio waves to transmit information into images. There is no radiation used ever, so never fear your MRI appointment.

Open MRIs are as Good as Closed

A common complaint for those having MRIs performed is the claustrophobic feeling experienced upon entering the chamber. Luckily, low field open MRIs were created to combat this feeling. While it is appreciated that patients have options when it comes to their MRI preference, open or standing MRIs do not offer the same image quality as standard high field MRI machines. As we stated previously, MRIs use a magnetic circumference and radio waves in order to compile images. Because an open or standing MRI has an opening in that circumference, the magnetic field is slightly broken and the radio waves are not completely resounding back to the machine. While you can still get a relatively useful images, having a standard MRI is really the better option for the best diagnosis.

MRI Myths

All MRI Machines are the Same

Not all MRI machines are the same. Depending on what kind of facility you are having your medical imaging performed at, the machinery used can vary tremendously. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Siemens 3T MRI. This is the most powerful MRI scanning available in routine clinical use today. 3T stands for 3.0 Tesla, a unit of magnetic measurement. And since insurance companies charge based on the exam being done rather than the cost of the equipment being used, you can have the access to the highest quality exams for the same low cost when you have your MRI performed at Doctors Imaging.

MRIs are Only Good for Body Injuries

When you hear about MRIs in the news, you mostly hear about them surrounding professional athlete injuries. That is because MRIs are particularly good at accessing musculoskeletal injuries like soft tissue, ligaments, tendons and the like. But that isn’t all they can do. With advancements happening every day, MRIs are used for numerous reasons: studying mental conditions like bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, for tracking the brains nerve paths, for predicting certain cancers, and so much more. Doctors Imaging now offers advanced brain imaging for concussion patients with lingering problems after their injury. Not is MRI very safe to use multiple times but the information garnered from MRI scans is s crucial to understanding a variety of diseases and conditions.


So you can see, there is nothing to fear! MRIs are very safe and great for your medical imaging needs. If you have more concerns about  having an MRI performed, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 or take a look at our MRI Service Page for more information. If you would like to schedule an MRI, you can fill out our Request an Appointment form and we will get back to you with scheduling as soon as possible!

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 an expecting parent or the parent to a curious child, there are a few steps that need to 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. Here are instruction manuals for both babies and children that are choking.

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, they are 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 xray. 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 it’s way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging in Metairie, now utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

If you have more questions about digital X-rays, please visit our X-ray Services Page or call a representative at Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-883-8111.

Checking on Your Bone Health with Medical Imaging

Bones are the foundation of the human body. When our bones hurt or are out of commission, your quality of life quickly decreases. That is why it is so critical to be concerned with the condition of your bone health. Almost every person has broken a bone at least once in their lifetime and is aware of the frustration that comes with being incapacitated, but what about the changes that occur in bones as you age?

People are often concerned with their physical appearance and the health of organs like the heart and liver. While this is equally important, not taking the proper precautions to protect your bones will have serious effects as you become older. Men and women will both experience the loss of bone density throughout their respective lifetimes but the effects are quite different for both genders.]

Bone Health for Men and Women

Women typically suffer from bone degeneration at a rate four times higher than their male counterparts. For women, the common cause of bone density loss is related to the effects of menopause. The body needs estrogen to maintain bone density and when women experience the hormonal change of menopause, they begin losing estrogen. Men need estrogen as well to keep their bone health at its peak and their body creates smaller amounts of estrogen.

Although men do not go through as severe as of a hormonal change as women, they do lose testosterone as they age and thus, lose bone density. Women also typically live longer than men so they have a greater chance of developing bone density loss.

Other Causes for Bone Density Loss

These are the primary reasons for loss of bone density but there are other causes. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can cause a loss of bone mass as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking or lack of exercise. For men in particular, certain drugs that treat prostate cancer and seizures can also cause bone loss.

If you are getting older and are concerned with the state of your bone health, there are a few solutions you should be researching. Medical imaging procedures can provide you with invaluable information about your bone health. Osteoporosis affects over 40 million Americans, both male and female, and having procedures like X-rays and MRIs can be extremely beneficial in preventing debilitating injury and finding medication to assist with bone density.

MRIs or magnetic imaging resonance, uses magnetized equipment and computer technology to examine joint and musculoskeletal disorders in the body. In addition, MRIs are also proficient in examining soft tissue like tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As these are the support system for the bones, they need attention as well. MRIs are the best choice if you experiencing a decrease in mobility and spinal difficulties.

X-rays are another common medical imaging procedure that your doctor will likely prescribed if you are experiencing a loss of bone density. When you have decreased bone density, small fractures and breaks can be common, so having X-rays performed with regularity is recommended. X-rays are also the preferred method for determining conditions like bone cancer.

If you are over the age of 50 and experiencing pain or decreased mobility in your bones or joints, speak to you doctor about ordering an MRI and X-ray imaging procedure performed so you can see if you need further medical assistance.

Our Doctors Imaging center is for Radiologists concerned with patient care. If you’re looking for New Orleans, Louisiana imaging exams, then schedule your appointment online today, or call us at 504-883-8111.

How Invasive are Medical Imaging Procedures?

The innovations made within the medical technology field have taken away a vast amount of risk and pain done during these procedures, but sometimes in order to get the best images so that your doctor can make the most informed diagnosis possible requires a bit of discomfort. Depending on the concern or condition, there are a variety of medical imaging procedures that can be performed with various degrees of invasiveness. Luckily most of these procedures do not take long and if you have serious concerns or a condition that would make performing these procedures unbearably painful, you should speak to your doctor about different options and features that can still be performed. For this article, the procedures will be ordered from least to most invasive.

X-Ray

X-rays are painless and not invasive at all. The joints and bone structures of the body are imaged while the patient remains still on the procedure table. If a patient is pregnant or may be pregnant, they should inform their doctor. The radiation used in X-rays is an extremely small amount and a lead shield can protect the fetus if the test is medically necessary, but there may be other avenues of imaging that your doctor can perform instead.

PET-CT Scan

For these scans, your facility or doctor may request that you not eat anything for four hours prior to the exam and drink a lot of water. Contrast material is also used in this procedure. Contrast material will be administered intravenously and will require that the patient remain still for 30-90 minutes so that the contrast material has opportunity to circulate.

MRI Procedure

MRI is extremely low in its degree of invasiveness. Despite the slight prick of IV administration of contrast fluid, some patients experience a sense of claustrophobia entering the MRI machine. If this an issue for you, speak to your doctor about having a friend or family member in the procedure room with you or for more serious cases, your doctor may be able to provide you with a mild sedative.

CT Scans

CT scans are a painless procedure. Some doctors may require patients to not eat at least an hour prior to the examination. Contrast material is also used in CT scans and can be administered either through IV or by swallowing. Some describe a metallic taste in the mouth, or slight itchiness around the injection site. If a patient experiences more serious symptoms, it could be indicative of an allergic reaction or a type of condition that reactions to the contrast fluid.

Ultrasounds

Depending on the area or conditioned being examined, an ultrasounds procedure has varying degrees of invasiveness. None are particularly painful just slightly uncomfortable. Speaking with your doctor about your concerns can help to minimize the unpleasantness. And for determining and monitoring pregnancy, detecting signs of infertility or for examining reproductive organs, some patients may have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound in which the transducer is placed in the vagina to image organs like the uterus and ovaries.

On the whole, imaging procedures performed today are minimally or non-invasive. If you’re looking for safe and comfortable imaging procedures in the New Orleans, Metairie, or Kenner area, please call 504-883-8111 or schedule your appointment online today.

What Imaging Procedures Should Men Over 50 be Considering?

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for men over the age of 50 in the United States. Whether this is because of genetic defect, health condition or lifestyle is unclear, but what is perfectly clear is that these two conditions account for more than 45% of the deaths of men between the ages of 45 and 54 (and that number increases to 53% for ages 65+). It is an unfortunate fact that everyone gets old, but more so, visits to your physician can become critical and significant visits if the proper procedures are not performed. If you are nearing or over 50 years of age, even if you feel that you are in good health, discussing these procedures with your doctor can be a great preventative measure to keep you healthy and fit longer.

Your first line of defense in medical imaging procedures could begin with a chest X-ray. X-rays may seem like an archaic medical practice but they are effective in determining many conditions in the chest. A chest X-Ray is inexpensive and may unveil correctable conditions that improve your health. If you are a heavy smoker between the ages of 55 and 80 a low dose lung cancer  CT screen is now considered essential to save lives .

An ultrasound is also a prudent procedure that men over the age of 50 should consider having. Ultrasounds are useful for examining the internal organs and blood flow throughout them. Ultrasounds are used in examining areas like the thyroid and scrotum. In determining conditions like prostate growth or enlargement, ultrasounds may be the first procedure your doctor will order. Ultrasounds are usually painless and non-invasive.

Men over 50  may benefit from a having a CT CALCIUM SCORE TEST. Whether you have lived a healthy, active lifestyle or you spend most of your time eating cheeseburgers and soda, a chest CT scan can be a huge indicator of serious medical problems such as heart disease and cancer. CT scans can help determine problems such as heart tumors, coronary heart disease, and the vascular abnormalities that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

MRIs can provide additional detailed information regarding tumors and cardiovascular disease. MRI scans of the heart structures and blood flow to the surrounding organs can highlight areas containing blockages or diseased tissue. You may feel fine now, but inside, you could be a ticking time bomb and having these procedures done will help to show areas that require attention. A fear of medical procedures, because you’re worried bad news will come back, does not help the situation. Instead, think about how something unfortunate, when caught early enough, can be treated to keep you healthier and happier for years, if not decades longer.

If you’re a man over 50 who hasn’t had imaging procedures performed yet, take the time today to discuss preventive health with your doctor and make an appointment. It just might save your life!