What’s the difference between an MRI and an MRA?


In the world of radiology, there are so many types of procedures that can be done. At Pueblo, we specialize in open MRI’s, we utilize open MRI’s for the comfort of our patients. A common diagnostic imaging exam that routinely gets mixed up with an MRI is a scan called an MRA. The confusion begs the questions: What’s the difference between and MRI and an MRA?


What is an MRI?


MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. MRI is an imaging technique that uses strong magnetic fields, and radio waves to produce an in-depth picture into the human body. MRI’s are commonly used for injuries, soft tissues, and muscles. It is a highly common procedure and takes about 45 minutes to complete.


What is an MRA?


MRA stands for magnetic resonance angiography. MRA is similar to an MRI because it lets you see inside the body in the same fashion as an MRI does. However, an MRA focuses more on the blood vessels of the body rather than an MRI which focuses on the bones. Patients who have had blood clots, a stroke, or heart disease have most likely gotten an MRA. Angiography means to look at the inside of blood vessels, that’s the basic difference between MRI’s and MRA’s.


Are they similar?

An MRI and an MRA are actually the exact same machine and used in the exact same way. However, MRI’s look at internal organs, the chest, pelvis, abdomen, and an MRA looks inside a person’s blood vessels. These exams both also usually take the same amount of time which is 30-45 minutes.


We know medical imaging can seem tricky to understand, but it’s really easy once it’s all laid out!  At Pueblo, we want our patients to be informed and aware of the variety of diagnostic imaging procedures. If you’re in need of an MRI, make an appointment with us today. We would love to answer any questions and assist you along your medical imaging journey.

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