Magnetic Resonance Angiograms

One type of diagnostic imaging we provide at Envision Radiology is MRA Scans (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram). MRA scans are obtained using the same kind of scanning machine as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. The machine combines radiofrequency waves with a strong magnetic field to generate images with incredible detail of your body’s blood vessels.

MRA scans are most often used to take a look at the vessels in your neck, kidneys, legs, and brain. Once the scans are obtained, the information they provide gives your doctor information about the health of your blood vessels and blood flow. These scans can be kept on film or a computer and are examined to find any abnormalities. Sometimes, a contrast dye is injected into the vein of your arm to make your blood vessels easier to see in the resulting images.

Common Uses for an MRA Scan

MRA’s are extremely useful as they provide information that cannot be obtained from X-rays, CT scans or ultrasounds. Their main purpose is to find issues with blood vessels that may cause reduced blood flow. Some of the most common reasons an MRA is used include:

  • Detecting clots, aneurysms or calcium deposits within blood vessels to the legs, kidneys or other parts of the body
  • Evaluating abnormalities of the brain’s blood vessels, which could include aneurysms, dilation, inflammation or congenital defects
  • Finding stenosis or narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the legs, lungs or kidneys
  • Diagnosing lesions in the carotid or vertebral arteries which could disrupt blood flow to the brain
  • Evaluating patients with stroke symptoms
  • Defining blood supply to cancerous tumors in the brain
  • Detecting aorta narrowing
  • And more

How to Prepare for an MRA Scan

Before you receive an MRA scan, the team at Envision Radiology will ask you to fill out a screening form, so we can determine if you have any health risks or other factors that could interfere with the imaging, such as allergies. This form will be reviewed before your screening by your technologist. Also, let us know if you have claustrophobia as we may be able to provide something to help you with this. Here are other things you will do to prepare for your MRA scan:

  • Do not eat or drink for at least four to six hours before the test.
  • Empty your bladder.
  • Change into MR appropriate attire, such as medical scrubs (top and pants) or a hospital gown provided at the facility.
  • Remove all metallic objects, such as hearing aids, jewelry, hairpins and the like.

If you have any questions, consult with the technologist before you enter the MR suite.

What to Expect During an MRA Scan

During an MRA, the area of your body being studied is placed inside an MRI machine. You may be injected with contrast dye intravenously before the imaging begins. Then, you will lie on a padded bed that fits into a large, enclosed cylinder. This is what contains the MRI magnets. Throughout the procedure, you will be asked to remain as still as possible as movement can distort the scan. The whole time you’ll be able to talk to the technician via a microphone that is inside the machine.

When the scan is working, the machine will make loud thumping sounds. If you need to block the noise, ask for earplugs or headphones so you can listen to music. The whole procedure usually takes only 30 to 90 minutes, but it can last longer if you had a contrast dye injected.

Find a Location Near You

You can find Envision Radiology imaging centers in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Louisiana. Be sure to check ahead of time to see if MRA services are offered since each location has its list of imaging procedures it provides.

To make an appointment, contact a center near you in one of the following regions: