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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) vs. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) vs. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body's internal structures that are clearer, more detailed and more likely in some instances to identify and accurately characterize disease than other imaging methods. It is used to evaluate the body for a variety of conditions, including tumors and diseases of the liver, heart, and bowel. It may also be used to monitor an unborn child in the womb. MRI is noninvasive and does not use ionizing radiation.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

MR angiography (MRA) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to evaluate blood vessels and help identify abnormalities. This exam does not use radiation and may require an injection of contrast material. The contrast material used for MRA is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than the contrast material used for computed tomography (CT).

Tell your doctor about any health problems, recent surgeries, allergies and whether you are pregnant. The magnetic field is not harmful, but it may cause some medical devices to malfunction. Most orthopedic implants pose no risk, but you should always tell the technologist if you have any devices or metal in your body. Sometimes, your doctor will give you a card with information about your implant. Give this to the technologist. Guidelines about eating and drinking before your exam vary between facilities. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, take your regular medications as usual. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. If you have a fear of close spaces or anxiety, consider asking your doctor for a mild sedative prior to the exam.