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Old 02-04-2010, 05:56 AM   #1
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difference between mra,mri,contrast

hi could anyone explain to me the difference between mri with contrast,mri and mrv????? ive got loadsa problems at the moment and would like the blood vessels/arteries in my brain looked at. ive had a normal mri.
any help will be great thank you x
also can a mrv and mra be done at the same time?

Last edited by jellebeans; 02-04-2010 at 06:01 AM.

 
Old 02-04-2010, 08:58 AM   #2
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Re: difference between mra,mri,contrast

was your MRI actually done using a contrasting agent or not? that alone when trying to fully see espescially the vascular level really IS rahter crucial to have added to the MRI. that would make a bigger difference in what actually does and does not get seen upon the films. exactly what IS the problem you are having that leads you to feel this is actually a vascular level problem? thats kind of the key question?

there are a few different types of scans/ways to really see blood vessels within the brain more clearly as you have already noticed? there is the MRI with contrast that better highlights the arterials more so than the venous? then the MRA which sees ONLY just the actual arteries with NO other tissue present what so ever so it IS only arteries alone that show up on film. and the MRV which will only highlight the venous vessels the way the MRA does with only venous vessels? for for the absolute best way to see the real best type of 3 D type of pic, getting an angiogram where they snake a cath up to your brain thru the femoral artery to the brain itself then shoot contrast dye into it, that is a really clear pic overall.

thats about all that i am aware of. there could be others too by now. i did have an aneurysm back in 2005 that had to be coiled. my non contrasted MRI never actually picked it up at all. it took the MRA along with a 3 tesla scan(uses three times the magnetism of a regular MRI) to actually find it. then an angiogram done by who are interventional neuroradiologists to totally better see it and then he coiled it too. that initial angio was done about a month before the actual coiling was.

so depending upon just what you need to see here and what symptoms you are having would seriously best dictate what exact types of scans you really need to have done. not every type of scan will always pick up what can actually even be there either. these are just 'scans' of an area and NOT a total actual 'picture" like you would take with a camera, ya know what i mean? just what exactly are you dealing with here as far as symptoms that make you feel that something vascular is going on? that would help to just know for the best advice to give you. Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: difference between mra,mri,contrast

thanks marcia, my story is far too long to write now but a quick run through ...ive suffered chronic headaches for few years,last 16 months more symptoms ,stomach problem,chest pains,back pains,now pain around my kidneys and back of knees,ive had various tests with nothing showing to cause the intense pain im in,my head the last few months is worse than ever,im dizzy whenever i move, pain in speccific place everytime i move,sudden frightening pains,very intense.neck pain and back of head/top of neck has very painful pressure,my left eye also is very bad pain. i feel my problems are related and think i have some sort of blood flow./vessel problem. im waiting on other tests at the moment for other stuff but i need to get my head sorted,it feels like somethings going to burst,im worried about anerysms also. my mri was to check for chiari so i didnt have contrast,but i also wasnt getting these pains as bad! im in uk so dont pay for doctors etc but my head cant wait as far as im concerned and ive decided to go private but need to make the decision on if to ask my doc to send me for mri/mrv or to see a neuroligist first..whic will obviously cost me more money! i just need to make the right decision!

Last edited by jellebeans; 02-04-2010 at 10:07 AM.

 
Old 02-05-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
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Re: difference between mra,mri,contrast

wow, that alot of symptoms you have goin on there. just wondering how far down the actual c spine they go when they are checking for the chiari? i do know what it is, so i know they would be looking more at the very base of the brain and into at least the very top of that c spine? have they ever done a full c spine MRI just to rule out possible there? believe me you can have certain typees of c spine issues that can create alot of head pain among other things depending upon level of the issues and what they are impacting too? do you have a copy of that MRI report at all? my best advice when it comes to just being IN that diagnostic mode is to make darn certain to ALWAYS obtain any copies of any testing done on you at all, ever. it does help for YOU to actually read thru your own testing results since alot of different things would even dictate what a person even gets 'told' that was a true finding intheir own reports? you just need to keep your own copies and place everything into like some type off folder thing that you just can also take with you to any doc appts or even an ER if that should ever be needed along the way? trust me it helps tons to just keep this stuff. becasue of all my insane crap i have been Dxed with i have had at this point, like 18 MRIs, like five CTs a ton of angios and a few other assorted scans along the way and i have copies of every single test result. they do come in VERY handy at times.

what you are describing here as symptoms quite honestly could be either a vascular type issue or some level of cranial nerve impact somewhere along the way too? our cranials can create some very crazy symptoms when impacted in some direct ways too? the one cranial that tends to kind of actually innervate ALOT of the areas you described actually would be the vagus nerve pretty much? this just is one of the longest of the cranial nerves we have and its called the 'wandering nerve' for good reason too. this nerve starts in the brain then runs down thru the neck area and actually also innervates alot of the abdominal areas too? just something i would really research right now if i were you? just look up vagus nerve images and you can see exactly what just is innervated by this one nerve alone. i think you will be kind of suprised at how your symptoms and areas are compared to just where and how this particular nerve actually runs? this is just a possible along with what you already are thinking with the vascular angle too? the key here is to track back symptoms to what would be considered the more 'base' of operations so to speak? there just are certain things that can easily impact nerves and vessels depending upon even YOUR own actual individual anatomy too? not everyones anatomy is textbook actually. there can be in some cases alot of differences thru the spine, brain and just about any part of our own bodies when we were being formed? just little or bigger anomalies that wpould not really be noticed unless they are impacting something or just show up on any real good scan. it would be noted as one of those fun "incidental findings"?

that is how my what is called cavernous hemangioma was discovered just sitting inside my spinal cord when i herniated a c spine disc and had to have my first ever MRI back in 2001? little sucker was just sitting there since before i was even born and just did not have a clue til the incidental finding it showed as upon my routine MRI. ya just never truely know what actually is in your own body til you can get that good look inside it, ya know?

but DO look up that vagus and also read how it runs too. but the image really will just show you how that really winding nerve just runs in our bodies. if you have any questions that i can actually answer, i will try if you need me to. marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 02-05-2010, 10:02 AM   #5
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Re: difference between mra,mri,contrast

hi marcia, ive had lots of incedental findings through my tests but nothing major to cause my pain.ive emphysema and im getting a lung ct tuesday as i coughed up some blood so he wants to check for clots.
my last scan was to check for chiari,my tonsils are borderline and neuro say i dont have it. i have copy of scan.
i have a doctor app on monday and still not sure whether to get him to send me for mra/mrv or to a consultant first???? i know i def need some sort of testing but not sure what to ask for.
do you have any idea on how much the angiogram is???? i know id need to see a neuro first to see if i needed one.
going to look up on the vagus nerve, i try not to google my symptoms tho because sometimes it can be quite scary !!!!! x
and im only getting a thoracic spine mri x

Last edited by jellebeans; 02-05-2010 at 10:06 AM.

 
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