• CT ("CAT SCAN")
    • Head
    • Neck
    • Spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)
    • Sinuses
    • Face/maxillofacial bones
    • CT myelogram
    • Temporal bone/IAC (internal auditory canal)/mastoid processes
    • Head
    • Neck
    • Perfusion
  • MRI
    • Brain
    • Orbits
    • Sella/pituitary
    • IAC (internal auditory canal)
    • Trigeminal nerve
    • Neck
    • Brachial plexus
    • Spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)
    • Head
    • Neck/carotids

Neuroradiology studies look at the brain, spinal cord and nerves as well as the bones and soft tissues of the head, neck and spine.

Computed Tomography (“CT”) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) look at structures by different means. CT uses x-rays and MRI uses a large magnet and radiofrequency waves. Each has its own strengths. CT is particularly helpful for looking at bones, especially for fractures or things that change or destroy the structure of bones. CT is the first and most basic exam to look at the brain when a brain injury or stroke is a question and is faster than MRI.

CTA is used most often when a person is being evaluated for a stroke. It is also useful to look for or at aneurysms, blood vessel tears (dissections), and masses of tangled blood vessels (vascular malformations or hemangiomas). CT perfusion is a special part of the CTA which uses computer analysis to help doctors find strokes and determine what strokes are most likely to be helped by thrombectomy or other intervention. Summa Health System has certification as a stroke center and thrombectomy stroke center, so we see many CTAs of the head and neck and are very experienced in reading these studies.

CT exams of the face, sinuses and temporal bones are used for evaluating problems associated with ears, nose and throat most often. Hearing problems, sinus problems which are ongoing, neck lumps, swallowing problems and pain or lump in the face are examples of things that may be evaluated by a CT.

MRI has excellent ability to look at soft tissues. Detail of structures in the brain, spinal cord and of nerves is much better with MRI than CT. MRI is used to look for causes of people not having their senses work right. Problems with sight, smell, hearing, touch or movement may involve brain, spine or nerves and may be evaluated by some form of MRI.

MRA/MRV is used to look at blood flow to the brain and away from the brain to make sure the blood vessels are open and working.

Myelography involves putting material which will show up on x-ray or CT into spinal fluid through a needle in the back. While x-ray pictures are taken (myelogram) the procedure is typically immediately followed by CT of the portion of the spine which is of interest. This procedure is most often used looking for a pinched nerve causing pain or weakness and is usually reserved for situations where a patient cannot have an MRI or the MRI results were not clear for some reason.

Lumbar puncture is a procedure doctors order when they need spinal fluid collected for tests. This is most often to look for infection but can also be used in evaluation of MS (multiple sclerosis) and less often in cases of tumors or looking for rare diseases that involve the brain or spinal cord.

Neuroradiology is a very interesting and very challenging part of radiology. ARI has radiologists specifically trained in the area of neuroradiology who have advanced knowledge of the abnormalities which occur with the brain, spinal cord, nerves and head and neck structures.