Posts tagged ‘position’

August 22, 2014

Head Aches and Head Issues #4: Head MRI – What To Expect

MRI of headIf you are experiencing headaches and your evaluation by your doctor suggests the need for imaging, you may be sent for either an MRI or CT scan. CTs are quick and valuable in the evaluation of patients presenting with headaches after trauma. MRI is an alternative means of imaging the brain and adjacent tissues.

CT vs. MRI

The main differences in the two technologies are as follows. The decision as to which test is needed is based on your history and findings, as well as the following:

 

CT:

  • uses ionizing radiation (avoided in pregnancy unless there are significant findings or significant trauma) in conjunction with computers to generate images
  • takes 10 minutes or less
  • may or may not use IV iodinated contrast material
  • great in looking for blood in and around the brain, which can be traumatic or non-traumatic in origin
  • uses a short bored tube

 

MRI:

  • uses magnets and radiofrequency waves in conjunction with computers to generate images – no radiation
  • can be used in pregnancy after the first trimester and without IV contrast material
  • may or may not use IV gadolinium contrast material
  • takes 30 minutes or more
  • uses a long bore tube (can seem confining although there are ways of treating this sensation!)
  • shows anatomy in greater detail than CT
  • some pathologies such as multiple sclerosis are best visualized on MRI
  • must hold still for longer time periods – may be difficult for younger children

 

 

What To Expect

Before an MRI of the head, no special preparation is necessary. However, metal is a big issue (seriously, the machine is one giant magnet and any metal on your body can become a hazardous missile with potential for harm to you, the technologist or the machine). So – extreme care is used to ensure that you have no metal on your body. Also, metals in things like artificial joints and pacemakers can create problems so full disclosure is needed.

The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes with only the head moving through the machine.

Holding still during the imaging is key to getting good pictures. Images are taken without contrast to begin with and then if needed (and patient is not pregnant) additional series may be run after an IV injection of a contrast material containing the heavy metal gadolinium. This should be used in caution in certain patients with kidney problems, so we always obtain a full history prior to giving this, and may check your kidney function before giving it. The injection may cause a cooling sensation.

What Happens Next

After your exam is completed, the images are studied by your radiologist for interpretation and reporting. The results are then shared with your referring doctor to integrate the new information gained from your head MRI with clinical symptoms for a specific diagnosis. After the test, we recommend drinking extra fluids to help flush the contrast from your system if it was used.

On Your Way!

Headaches can be a vexing issue, and getting you on the road to being headache-free is the goal of the medical team, including the radiologist carefully analyzing those images. As ever, we hope to help to get you on the road to your best possible health.

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

April 1, 2014

The Places You’ll Go, the Things You’ll See… Imaging in Other Countries

Guest blogger, Rebecca

Guest blogger, Rebecca

Rebecca is our guest blogger today, one of our many great employees who make DIC what it is, committed to service not only here but in areas of great need…

We are proud of Rebecca for what she brings to our patients here and for her commitment to sharing her knowledge and compassion with those in need around the world.

 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go (by Dr. Seuss)

“You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself any direction you choose…”

This book was, and probably still is, a very popular graduation gift.  As young adults, the path to the future is wide open and many times uncertain.  I can say that I never imagined going to x-ray school then to ultrasound school in Kansas would lead me to Guatemala and Haiti to share that knowledge.

Luckily with time technology is catching up with the human need for quality healthcare.  The generosity of the American Society of Radiologic Technology and Rad-Aid who sponsored our Haiti trip and the Emporia United Methodist Church who sponsored the Guatemala trip is greatly appreciated.

Diagnostic Imaging Centers is committed to:  Dedication, Innovation, and Compassion.  All three are brought to our local community, but we also can bring those attributes to people in need – even in other countries.

Dedication:  Promoting patient care and safety. In Guatemala and Haiti, the maternal death rate during childbirth is high due to lack of knowledge of placenta location (placenta previa) or fetal position in the womb.  I was able to help instruct a midwife to learn these critical skills with ultrasound imaging. The Guatemalan midwife told our group that we were helping bring her dream of quality heathcare to reality and advance them to a higher level of care.  The dedication of many radiology personnel has helped form organizations for radiology medical missions. (For more information: www.odimguatemala.org)

Innovation:  The progressive innovation of increasingly smaller and truly portable ultrasound machines has helped bring quality healthcare to the poverty stricken and remote areas of the world.  But now the need is for trained professionals to teach the local doctors and potential students to use this equipment to the benefit of their patients.

Since the Haiti earthquake four years ago, most all healthcare supplies have been made available through donations.  Medical schools are open, but education for critical support staff such as technologists is limited.  At my location in Haiti, Hospital Bernard Mevs, there is a radiologic technologist school, but only one book to share among 6 students.  There is not currently an ultrasound technologist school.

The Rad-Aid group I was with hopes to change that reality. During the week in Haiti, we were doing lectures and hands-on training for the 1st class of Haitian radiology residents in 8 years, surgeons, and a few medical students.  A week is not enough time for proficiency, but with self motivated practice, internet capability to learn, donated textbooks (thanks to DIC‘s Dr. Linda Harrison), and hopefully future medical mission groups, we see a bright future for Haiti and other areas in need.

Compassion:  Compassion, consideration for another person, and living a life of service for others helps me enjoy my job and helped motivate me to search out these medical missions.

In Haiti, I did an obstetrical ultrasound on a 38 yr. old woman that had been in a car wreck, had a head injury, and bilateral mandible fractures.  She was 22 weeks pregnant at the time, and had never seen or knew about ultrasound before that day.  Due to machine and bed position, she was unable to watch the monitor.  And, unlike the USA, there was no picture printing or CD availability to provide her with images of her baby.  So, I took screen pictures of the baby on my camera to show her.

Though she had some memory loss and confusion, she was able to recognize her baby’s face.  The love that showed in her eyes and the smile on her face, I will never forget.  In Guatemala, my translator and I were able to attend a home visit with the midwife of a new mom and her infant son.  We brought her a gift for the baby and thanked her for allowing us to visit.  She said she wanted to thank us for wanting to meet them and learn about their culture.

In conclusion, I would like to encourage everyone to get involved with a group that supports your passion and to take that leap of faith to broaden your horizons.  It’s not always going to be easy and what you experience may not be easy to comprehend, but it will help make a better you and a better world.  I never thought my love of ultrasound, travel and service could be brought together, but now I can’t imagine separating them.