MRI, MRA, MRV: What’s the Difference?

The dif­fer­ent types of mag­net­ic field imag­ing tests

Your doc­tor may have recent­ly ordered an MRI, MRA and MRV scan of your head, but your head is spin­ning with what all these acronyms mean. Each type of mag­net­ic field imag­ing test serves a spe­cif­ic pur­pose. Here are the dif­fer­ences between an MRI, MRA and MRV:

Mag­net­ic Res­o­nance Imag­ing, MRI

The gen­er­al term for most MRI scans. In this case, the doc­tor has request­ed a scan be done of the entire head to look for any abnor­mal­i­ty in general.

Mag­net­ic Res­o­nance Angiog­ra­phy, MRA

A spe­cif­ic type of MRI exam that allows the doc­tors to look specif­i­cal­ly at the arter­ies, with­out see­ing all the over­ly­ing tis­sues. It may or may not require the injec­tion of a con­trast mate­r­i­al, depend­ing on the spe­cif­ic ves­sels being scanned.

Mag­net­ic Res­o­nance Venog­ra­phy, MRV

A spe­cif­ic type of MRI that exam­ines the veins with­out the over­ly­ing tis­sues being vis­i­ble. Typ­i­cal­ly, this exam will require an injec­tion of a con­trast mate­r­i­al to enhance the vis­i­bil­i­ty of the veins.

There are many types of MRI scan­ners in the mar­ket with vary­ing capa­bil­i­ties and strength. Learn more about our state-of-the-art, High-Field MRI machines and our board-cer­ti­fied radi­ol­o­gy team. 

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