Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

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An MRA image of the kidneys

An MRA is a minimally invasive test that helps physicians diagnose and treat various medical conditions.

It can help detect aneurysms of the brain and major arteries, or narrowing of the blood vessels (stenosis). MRA does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays), and may be performed with or without contrast material. If needed, the contrast material is usually injected using a vein in the arm.

A computer then processes the signals and generates a series of images each of which shows a thin slice of the body. The images can then be studied from different angles by the interpreting radiologist. Overall, the differentiation of abnormal (diseased) tissue from normal tissues is often better with MRI than with other imaging modalities such as x-ray, CT and ultrasound.

When a contrast material is introduced to the bloodstream during the procedure, it clearly defines the blood vessels being examined by making them appear bright white. To learn more about MR Angiography, you can visit Radiology Info.

MRAs Offered at Our Facilities:

  • MRA Brain
  • MRA Neck (Carotid)
  • MRA Chest (Thoracic Aorta)
  • MRA Abdomen (Abdominal Aorta)
  • Renal
  • Extremity Runoff
  • Chest Pulmonary Veins Left Atrium and Esophagus

What to Expect

What to Expect

You will be asked to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, credit/bank cards, and any metallic objects. These may affect the quality of the images produced or cause harm or discomfort to you when placed within the magnetic field. There will be no sensation, discomfort or pain associated with the exam. You will, however, hear knocking/thumping noises from time to time. This is normal, and you may wear earplugs to muffle these noises.

It is important to lie as still as possible. Movement may cause unsatisfactory images and necessitate a repeat of the exam. You may find it easier to relax if you do not consume coffee or other caffeinated beverages prior to your exam.

Also, in some cases, your physician may order an injection of a contrast agent to enhance the diagnostic capabilities of the exam. If so, this will be administered and supervised by our on-site qualified technicians and doctors. The physician radiologist will review and interpret your MRI examination upon completion. Within 24 hours, your physician will have a written report.

How do I schedule an MRI scan?

Your doctor will decide if an MRI is needed to help diagnose your symptoms. The doctor’s staff will then notify us and schedule an appointment. We will verify your health insurance coverage and ensure that your doctor’s office obtains any necessary precertification from your health insurance carrier. If you do not have health insurance, payment is expected at the time of service.

Can a friend or family member be in the room with me during the exam?

In most cases, yes. However, please advise our staff if the guest is pregnant or has anything metallic in the body.

How long will the exam take?

Due to the sophisticated technology of the 3T magnet, most exams can be completed in 15-20 minutes rather than the standard 30-60 minutes utilizing more inferior MR technology. More time may be required if you need to be sedated, require intravenous contrast administration, or if your doctor has ordered more than one scanning test.

How should I prepare for the exam?

There are no special preparations. If you are not undergoing an intravenous contrast administration, you should eat normally. Intravenous contrast administration requires a minimum of 4 hours of fasting prior to the examination. Also, follow the normal dosing of your prescribed medications unless your doctor gives instructions to do otherwise. Dress in loose, comfortable clothes with no metal snaps, zippers, etc.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

If you have a pacemaker, metallic implant, previous brain surgery, or have had metal fragments in your eyes, or known allergies to Gadolinium; please call Sand Lake Imaging prior to appointment time.

A simple blood test of the glomerular filtration rate will be performed for patients requiring intravenous contrast who are 60 or older, renal insufficient, diabetic or hypertensive. No other preparation is required unless sedation is needed.

Is it safe?

For most people, the MRI is completely safe. However, in most cases, women less than 12 weeks pregnant should not have MRI scans. Please let the staff know if you are pregnant. MRI does not use any type of radiation, but does produce a powerful magnetic field. To assure that you will have no adverse effects from the magnetism, the staff needs to find out if you have any metal in your body.

Please advise the staff if:

  • You have a cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
  • You have a metal plate, pin, surgical staples or clips, or other metallic implant
  • You have aneurysm clips
  • You have an inner ear implant
  • You have an intrauterine device, such as Copper-T IUD
  • You have permanent eyeliner (tattoo)
  • You have any metal fragments in your eye or in your body
  • You have ever been a metal worker
  • You have a biostimulator
  • Also, if anyone accompanying you during the exam has any of these conditions, please bring it to the staff’s attention.

Is it OK for patients with dental fillings or braces to have an MRI?

Yes. Your teeth will not be affected by the exam.

Can I drive home after the MRI?

Most patients do not require sedation and therefore are able to drive immediately after the exam. If you need a sedative to help you relax for the exam, please arrange for a friend or relative to drive you home.

How long does it take for my physician to get the results of the examination?

The radiologist will review and interpret your MRI examination upon completion. Within 24 hours, your physician will have a written report.

How to Prepare

Drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours before your exam. If your exam includes contrast, do not eat anything for four hours before your exam. Avoid strenuous activity 24 hours in advance of your study. Medications may be taken with a small amount of water. If your exam includes oral contrast, you must drink it 2 hours before your exam. When you arrive for the exam you will be given another cup to drink. Please call our offices if you have a history of contrast reactions/allergies.

Equipment Used for This Procedure


Siemens MAGNETOM Skyra 3T MRI

The Siemens MAGNETOM Skyra 3T MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine has a magnetic field of 3 Tesla (3 T). Most MRI Machines fall within the range of 1.5 - 3 T. The higher magnetic field, the more accurate imaging capabilities. This machine can be used for many different medical purposes including Oncology, Neurology, Cardiology, and Angiography.