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 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.

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.

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.