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    The information contained on the RemakeHealth website and its blog is provided for your general information only. RemakeHealth does not give medical advice or engage in the practice of medicine. RemakeHealth under no circumstances recommends a particular treatment or test for specific individuals and in all cases recommends that you consult your physician before pursuing any course of treatment or test.

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    What does an MRI of the Pituitary Gland (Sella) show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Wed, Mar 03, 2010
      
      
      
      
      
      

    mri pituitary sella glandMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the brain. Pituitary gland MRIs are used to discover tumors of the pituitary gland. FYI a pituitary MRI is also sometimes called a sella MRI.

    In the picture to the right the pituary gland is the gray structure sitting in the white bone. You can see the thin stalk connecting it to the brain.

    Your pituitary gland secretes many different kinds of hormones. Pituitary tumors can either destroy normal hormone secreting cells or create excessive hormones. Pituitary tumors can cause symptoms such as tiredness, headache, nipple discharge, excessive growth, and thirst. Some of the larger tumors can also press against nearby structures such as your optic nerves and affect your vision.

    An MRI of the pituitary gland will look for:

    Microadenoma - These are tiny (less than 10 mm in size) tumors that are usually suspected because they secrete a hormone such as prolactin for example. Prolactin causes milky nipple discharge.

    Craniopharyngioma - These pituitary tumors are generally found in young children and cause symptoms related to their size. They press on the optic nerves causing vision symptoms and compress nearby brain and can cause hydrocephalus leading to headaches.

    Cysts - Most pituitary cysts are asymptomatic and small. But some large cysts can act like tumors in that they press on nearby brain structures and cause symptoms such as headache.

    Apoplexy - Some pituitary tumors can bleed and destroy much of the pituitary gland causing severe hormone imbalances. Or if the pituitary gland loses its blood supply it will result in a similar set of symptoms. This condition is called pituitary apoplexy and can be life threatening. The MRI will look for blood or tissue death in the pituitary gland.

    An MRI of the pituitary gland (sella) will evaluate:

    Pituitary gland

    The pituitary gland is a pea sized structure in the middle of your brain just behind your eyes. It sits inside a bone cavity called the  sella dorsica. The gland is attached to the brain by a thin stalk called the infundibulum. 

    Orbits

    Although Pituitary MRIs are not tailored to look at the orbits, parts of the visual pathways are included as large pituitary tumors can compress the optic nerves (optic chiasm) and cause visual symptoms.

    Bones

    Parts of the skull are included in a Brain MRI and can detect bone tumors, infection and large fractures. It can also detect bleeds in the space between the skull and brain (aka epidural and subdural bleeds). Some larger pituitary tumors erode the sella dorsica.

    Brain matter

    Parts of the white and gray matter of the brain are  seen. MRI can detect tumors, infection, bleeds, and stroke. Since some pituitary tumors grow and expand into the brain, the nearby brain structures are always included in the study.

    Your Pituitary Gland MRI Scan

    A pituitary MRI generally takes about 30 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room. This test is nearly always done with IV MRI contrast.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the pituitary gland, you can use our website to look up MRI scan costs and then purchase with your credit card.

    Have you had a Pituitary MRI scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    32 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What does an MRI of the Hips show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Thu, Sep 24, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    mri hipsMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the hip joints. A variety of trends have increased the use of MRI in evaluating joints - more sports activity, increase in obesity rates, and we've remained much more active into our later years than previous generations.

    If you've injured your hips or have chronic hip pain, your doctor will probably first order an x-ray. After an x-ray, an MRI may be needed to evaluate the internal structures of the hip. On your doctor's order for the MRI you might see:

    "r/o internal derangement" -  internal derangement is a general term referring to any type of injury/damage to the internal structures of the hip. The labrum (a ring of cartilage in the hip joint) can be torn or frayed, causing pain or clicking.

    "r/o fracture"- some hip fractures are not seen on x-rays and may only show up on an MRI. MRI is very good at picking up "edema" or swelling in the bone.

    "r/o djd" - djd is short for degenerative joint disease. These are changes in the bone, labrum, and cartilage of the hip that can occur as we age or after an old injury to the hip.

    (FYI - "r/o" is short for "rule out")

    An MRI of the hips will evaluate:

    Bones

    A hip MRI will include parts of the upper femur, acetabulum (groove for the femur in the pelvis) and nearby pelvic bones. The hip MRI can detect bone bruises, fractures, cysts, tumors, infection and dislocations. An MRI can also determine the extent of arthritis and help in pre-operative planning.

    Cartilage

    Hip MRIs are very good at looking at the cartilage and labrum (a ring of cartilage) in your hips. MRI can detect fraying (like frayed edges of jeans), fissuring (cracks, similar to a dry river bed), and defects (the cartilage is missing). Damaged cartilage or injury to the labrum can lead to arthritis. Some hip MRIs are done with a direct injection of contrast material into the joint to get a detailed look at the cartilage and labrum.

    Tendons and Ligaments

    Your hip has many nearby tendons and ligaments that help with motion and stabilize the joint. Any of these can be injured and may only be detected on MRI.

    Soft Tissues

    This refers to the muscles and tissues around your hips. A hip MRI scan will show parts of the thigh muscles and muscles of the buttocks area. MRI can detect muscle tears, strains, tumors and infection.

    Your Hip MRI Scan

    A standard hip MRI generally takes about 20 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room. If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the hip, you can use our website. Click here to see MRI scan costs.

    Have you had a Hip MRI scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    54 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What does an MRI of the IACs (IAMs) show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Tue, Sep 22, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    mri iac iamMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the brain. IAC MRIs are a type of Brain MRI that is used to evaluate the structures of the Internal Auditory Canal - IAC (aka Internal Auditory Meatus - IAM).

    The IAC contains among other structures the 8th cranial nerve. This is a large nerve that conducts hearing and balance signals from your inner ear structures. This nerve can become damaged, inflamed or give rise to a tumor commonly called an "acoustic neuroma." Most IAC MRIs are ordered to rule out an acoustic neuroma in patients who are experiencing dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, fullness, for example. Although these tumors are slow growing and generally benign, they are close to vital structures in the brain and can be difficult to treat.

    An MRI of the IACs is done with MRI dye. The dye helps detect small tumors and subtle inflammation that a non-contrast MRI may miss.

    IAC MRIs also include the cerebellum, brainstem, vessels of the back of the brain and other nearby structures. Some IAC MRI protocols also include a few scans of the entire brain.

    Your MRI IAC Scan

    An MRI of the IACs generally takes about 30-40 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room.

    This test will be done with IV MRI contrast. The first part of the test is done without contrast. Then the scan is paused and the table on which you are lying will be pulled out (remember don't move!). The technologist will then inject the IV dye and return the table into the tube for the remainder of the scan.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the IACs (IAMs), you can use our website to look up MRI scan costs and then purchase with your credit card.

    Have you had an MRI of IACs scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    32 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    RemakeHealth achieves HON certification

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Mon, Jun 29, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    When we first launched our site we knew that gaining the trust and confidence of health care consumers would be an important on-going task. Having relevant, meaningful blog posts and keeping the site safe and secure have always been a top priority. One of the key leading certifications for health care websites is offered by the Health on the Net Foundation, based in Geneva Switzerland:

    The Health On the Net Foundation (HON) promotes and guides the deployment of useful and reliable online health information, and its appropriate and efficient use. Created in 1995, HON is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. For twelve years, HON has focused on the essential question of the provision of health information to citizens, information that respects ethical standards. To cope with the unprecedented volume of health care information available on the Net, the HONcode of conduct offers a multi-stakeholder consensus on standards to protect citizens from misleading health information.

    We recently received HON certification after satisfying all of the requirements of the HON code of ethics and principles. We're excited to announce our achievement and will display the HON code throughout our site. Of course, we won't stop here. We'll continue to look hard at our site and look for ways to grow your trust and confidence in us and make shopping for Radiology tests such as MRI scans, CT scans, Ultrasounds, X-rays easy and safe.

    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
    verify here.


    0 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    Adding nearly 600 more Radiology centers to RemakeHealth

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Sat, Jun 27, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    We're adding nearly 600 additional Radiology centers throughout the U.S to our site over the next few weeks. It is a monumental task so please pardon our mess as we upgrade and clean up bugs!

    You'll be able to shop and buy your Radiology tests from over 1500 imaging facilities. Each Radiology facility is accredited by the ACR, features American Board of Radiology certified Radiologists and has undergone a rigorous selection process.

    Are there any other states or facilities you'd like us to add? Please leave your suggestions below:

    0 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    Adding 150 Radiology facilities from 12 more states to RemakeHealth

    Posted by John Holden on Mon, Jun 08, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    We're adding 150 Radiology centers from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Washington DC over the next several days to our site. Please pardon our mess as we upgrade and clean up bugs!

    You'll be able to shop and buy your Radiology tests from these facilities. As with our other Radiology facilities each is accredited by the ACR, features American Board of Radiology certified Radiologists and has undergone a rigorous selection process.

    Are there any other states or facilities you'd like us to add? Please leave your suggestions below:

    2 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What does an MRI Scan of the Brain show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Thu, Apr 23, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    brain mri picMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the brain. Brain MRIs are not only used to discover tumors, infection and chronic diseases but also are now increasingly used in acute settings to look for bleeds and stroke.

    Brain MRIs are typically ordered for many different symptoms to exclude a tumor, aneurysm or unusual infection and as a follow up for stroke, surgery, etc. Below are a few common diagnoses that brain MRIs can pick up.

    Aneurysm - Aneurysms are ballooning of vessels that risk rupturing. If blood leaks from the aneurysm patients describe the headache as a thunderclap and sharp/shooting pains. Patients can also have stroke-like symptoms with weakness, slurred speech and confusion. These MRI scans are usually done without contrast but also with an MRA which gets a more detailed look at the vessels of the brain.

    Tumor - Tumors can be primary (from brain tissue) or secondary (from other sites, eg breast cancer). These typically present with headaches, weakness, and seizures. These MRI scans are done with contrast to help highlight and characterize the tumor.

    Infection - Brain infections present with headaches, fever, stiff neck (meningitis). Some infections can be chronic such as tuberculosis (Tb). If looking for infection the MRI is typically done with contrast.

    Stroke - Also known as a "brain attack", stroke refers to a blocked artery that deprives a part of the brain of blood (and therefore oxygen). This part of the brain loses it function and patients present with weakness, slurred speech, difficulty walking and on occasion, headaches.

    An MRI of the brain will evaluate:

    Sinuses

    A brain MRI will include parts of the sinuses. Though not used to primarily look for sinus disease, an MRI can see thickening of the sinus tissue (mucosa) or fluid in the sinuses.

    Orbits

    Brain MRIs include the orbits but are not tailored to specficially look at the orbits. This requires a dedicated Orbit MRI which uses different sequences (sequence is a type of image) to look at the internal structures of the orbits. Nevertheless, it can pick up some disease of the orbits such as large tumors, bleeds, inflammation, etc.

    Bones

    The skull is included in a Brain MRI and can detect bone tumors, infection and large fractures. It can also detect bleeds in the space between the skull and brain (aka epidural and subdural bleeds).

    Brain matter

    The white and gray matter of the brain are well seen. MRI can detect tumors, infection, bleeds, stroke and congenital defects. Part of the pituitary gland, optic nerves and upper brainstem are also evaluated. A "routine" brain MRI is done without contrast.

    Ventricles

    These are the fluid filled structures inside the brain that help circulate cerberospinal fluid. Tumors and bleeds can extend into these structures and cause blockage which can lead to headaches, confusion and problems with walking for example. 

    Your Brain MRI Scan

    A brain MRI generally takes about 20 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room. If you've had surgery or have a history of cancer, you'll probably have the test done with IV MRI contrast.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the brain, you can use our website to look up MRI scan costs and then purchase with your credit card.

    Have you had a Brain MRI scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    205 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What does an MRI scan of the shoulder show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Sun, Mar 22, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    mri_shoulder_remakehealthMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the shoulder. A variety of trends have increased the use of MRI in evaluating the shoulder - more sports activity, repetitive motion injuries, and we've remained much more active into our later years than previous generations.

    If you've injured your shoulder or have chronic shoulder pain, your doctor will probably first order an x-ray. After an x-ray, an MRI may be needed to evaluate the internal structures of the shoulder. On your doctor's order for the MRI you might see:

    "r/o rotator cuff tear" -  the rotator cuff is a group of muscles, ligaments and tendons that stabilize and move your shoulder. These structures are frequently injured or damaged over time. The most commonly injured tendon is that of the supraspinatus muscle.

    "r/o labral tear"- this refers to injury to the cartilage in your shoulder joint. The labrum stabilizes the shoulder and can be torn. Labral tears cause pain and "catching."

    "r/o djd" - djd is short for degenerative joint disease. It is a generic term that is used to look for a number of shoulder problems including chronic changes to the tendons, ligaments, and bones. 

    (FYI - "r/o" is short for "rule out")

    An MRI of the shoulder will evaluate:

    Bones

    A shoulder MRI will include the ball and joint socket of the shoulder (humerus and glenoid), parts of the scapula and upper arm. The shoulder MRI can detect bone fractures, tumors, infection and evaluate post-surgical changes. An MRI can also determine the extent of degenerative changes (arthritis) and be used for pre-operative planning for surgery.

    Cartilage and Labrum

    Shoulder MRIs can also evaluate the cartilage of the shoulder joint and the labrum. The labrum is a stabilizing piece of cartilage which can be torn or irritated and cause pain.

    Tendons and Ligaments

    Your shoulder is stabilized and moves via complex set of tendons and ligaments. These can be frequently torn, partially torn or exhibit signs of age (degeneration) that leads to pain or difficulty in moving the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff includes the group of tendons around the shoulder joint.

    Soft Tissues

    Soft tissues visualized include muscles such as the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, deltoid, subscapularis, and teres minor. MRI can detect muscle tears, strain, atrophy, tumors and infection. Shoulder MRI can also detect joint fluid, lymph nodes in the axilla (armpit) tumors or cysts in the suprascapular notch (this is a small pathway through which a nerve passes to supply muscles of the back of your shoulder).

    Your Shoulder MRI Scan

    A shoulder MRI generally takes about 30 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room. If you've had surgery or have a history of cancer, you'll probably have the test done with IV MRI contrast. Some shoulder MRIs are done after a direct injection of contrast into the joint. This is called an MR Arthrogram of the Shoulder.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the shoulder, you can use our website to look up MRI scan costs.

    Have you had a Shoulder MRI scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    119 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What do MRI scan and CT scan prices include?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Fri, Mar 13, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    Trying to get MRI scan and cost of CT scans is challenging. Even when you have the information, it's not clear what exactly you might be paying for. Does the price include contrast? What about the Radiology report? And what if you need additional testing? This post will be a work in progress, but I hope it sheds some light on what MRI and CT scan costs include and don't include...

    Prices vary by body part and medical condition

    Most MRI and CT scan exams each have different prices. For example, an MRI of the Brain may not cost the same as an MRI of the Knee. Your test might also be two different tests bundled into one order. A CT scan to look for kidney stones is actually two scans - a CT scan of the Abdomen and a CT scan of the Pelvis.

    Price will change if you are going to have contrast/dye

    Pricing medical procedures using a multi-tier cost scheme is very common in medicine. For example, most MRI and CT scan be done in three different ways. This changes the cost of the scan.  In order of increasing cost they are:

    • Without contrast - images are taken without administering any IV contrast/dye.
    • With contrast - images are taken only after the IV contrast is given.
    • With and without contrast - images are taken before the IV contrast is given and then again after wards.

    Some facilities (particularly hospitals) will also charge for the actual performance of placing the IV. For uninsured patients this cost is usually bundled into the price of the rest of the scan as opposed to a separate charge.

    Many CT scan exams are done with IV contrast. IV contrast for MRI scans is usually given if you have had surgery to the area begin scanned, history of cancer or if looking for infection. Even for those tests that are ordered without contrast, sometimes during the scan the Radiologist may see something "unusual" or detect a tumor or infection and then ask for the contrast to be given. 

    Note, there is no additional cost if you get oral contrast to drink. That is, if you are given oral contrast for a CT scan of the Abdomen and do not receive the IV contrast it is considered a CT Scan of the Abdomen without contrast.

    The Radiology report is included

    MRI and CT scan costs include the official Radiologist interpretation. This includes comparing to older scans even if done at another hospital or imaging center. Your doctor receives a copy of the report.

    Copies of the CD or films

    Sometimes you'll be asked to take a CD or films of your MRI or CT scan to your doctor to review. Most facilities will give you a copy, if requested, free of charge.

    Call back for additional images may not be included

    You won't be charged for call backs if due to technical issues or if you were unable to complete the exam because of  pain or claustrophobia. However, if it is for "more testing", then yes, there will be additional costs.

    Simplifying it for you...

    As you can see it is hard to pin down the actual cost of an MRI or CT scan. Unfortunately, much of healthcare works this way.

    We've taken a different approach with our Radiology shopping site and are trying to simplify MRI and CT scan prices for you. Our prices include the test and report. There are no extra charges for contrast/dye injections. We think this is a good first step in reforming how medical services are priced and purchased. We hope you do too. 

    Do you have any suggestions for us? Please leave your comments below:

    8 Comments Click here to read/write comments

    What does an MRI scan of the lumbar spine (low back) show?

    Posted by John Holden on Sun, Mar 08, 2009
      
      
      
      
      
      

    MRI lumbar spineMRI scans are frequently used to evaluate the internal structures of the lumbar spine, also known as the low back. A variety of trends have increased the use of MRI in evaluating the spine - more sports activity, increase in obesity rates, and we've remained much more active into our later years than previous generations.

    If you've injured your back or have chronic back pain, your doctor will probably first order an x-ray. After an x-ray, an MRI may be needed to evaluate the internal structures of the lumbar spine. On your doctor's order for the MRI you might see:

    "r/o disc disease" -  this refers to the discs that act as shock absorbers between the vertebral bodies of the spine. They can be injured or "flatten" over time and bulge and press on nerve roots.

    "r/o herniation"- this refers to a disc herniation. If the outer part of the disc tears, a jelly like substance can escape out (aka herniate) and cause radiating pain or weakness in the leg and foot.

    "r/o stenosis" - this refers to narrowing of the spinal canal and openings for the nerve roots. Bulging discs and other degenerative changes of the spine can narrow the spinal canal, causing back pain.

    (FYI - "r/o" is short for "rule out")

    An MRI of the lumbar spine will evaluate:

    Bones

    A lumbar spine MRI will include the lumbar vertebral bodies, lamina, facets, spinous process and parts of the lower thoracic spine and the upper sacral spine. The lumbar spine MRI can detect bone fractures, tumors, infection and evaluate post-surgical changes. An MRI can also determine the extent of degenerative changes (arthritis) and be used for pre-operative planning for spinal fusion.

    Discs

    Lumbar spine MRIs are very good at looking at the discs between your vertebral bodies. A lumbar spine MRI can detect disc flattening, bulges, herniations, and infection (aka discitis).

    Spinal Canal and Neural Foramina

    Spinal nerves travel down through the spinal canal and leave at each level of the lumbar spine. The nerves leave the canal through holes called the neural foramina. The canal and these exit points can be blocked and cause pain or leg and foot weakness.

    Conus and Nerve Roots

    The conus is the end of the spinal cord - it looks like a cone with many nerve roots extending from it. A lumbar spine MRI is very good at detecting tumors, inflammation or impingement on these structures.

    Soft Tissues

    This refers to the muscles and tissues around your lumbar spine. The lumbar spine MRI can detect infections, fluid collections and tumors of these structures.

    Your Lumbar Spine MRI Scan

    A lumbar spine MRI generally takes about 20-30 minutes or so to complete. If you are going for one, wear loose comfortable clothing and remember to remove all metal (jewelry, phones, rings, etc) before going into the MRI scan room. If you've had surgery or have a history of cancer, you'll probably have the test done with MRI contrast.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an MRI scan of the lumbar spine, you can use our website to look up MRI scan costs.

    Have you had a Lumbar Spine MRI scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.

    142 Comments Click here to read/write comments

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