Differences between the MRI and MRA
MRIs and MRAs are similar tests. Both tests use powerful radio waves and
magnets 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. The primary
difference is the application of the technology – MRIs tend to include
a bigger area for the doctor to examine where the MRA examples a single
vessel or vein.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The MRI helps the physician examine areas of your body such as the chest,
abdomen, liver, heart, internal organs and pelvis. MRI is noninvasive
and they don’t use a contrast material in every MRI.
The MRI is the most commonly used imaging test of the spinal cord and brain.
Doctors often use it to help them diagnose:
- Disorders of the inner ear and eye
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injury from trauma
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
An MRA is specifically used for examining blood vessels. Without making
any incisions, the physician can examine your body’s blood pathways
between your kidneys, brain and legs. This exam does not use radiation
and may require an injection of contrast material to highlight your vessels
and potential blockages.
Physicians use MRA to:
- Identify abnormalities in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood
away from your heart to the rest of your body.
- Detect plaque disease and injury in arteries of the neck, legs, chest,
abdomen, pelvis or limbs following trauma.
- Show the extent and severity of coronary artery disease.
- Examine pulmonary arteries in the lungs to detect blood clots.
How to prepare for MRI or MRA?
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. 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.
Leading edge technology backed by compassion and commitment.
At Gunnison Valley Health, we provide advanced imaging services right here
in the Gunnison Valley. Our on-site radiologists and certified technologists
offer expertise, experience, and diagnostic excellence to the residents
and guests of our area.
For more information, speak to your physician or
contact Gunnison Valley Health's Diagnostic Imaging Department at (970) 641-7253.