Differences Between MRI and MRA

An MRI and an MRA scan are very similar, but besides the single letter at the end, they differ in why they are used.



How are MRI and MRA scans different?

A MRA, or magnetic resonance angiography, is basically a type of magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan. Both tests use a strong magnetic pull and pulses of radio waves to show us images of blood vessels inside the body. However,

what's different...

is an MRA is particularly good for finding problems with blood vessels that may be causing a restricted or reduced blood flow in a person’s body.

In both an MRI and MRA, a patient's blood vessel walls can be captured for a doctor to assess their condition. But..

what's different...

is with an MRA, both the blood flow and the condition of the blood vessel walls can be seen. With these added benefits, an MRA scan can find problems with a person’s arteries and veins, such as an aneurysm, a blocked blood vessel, or the torn lining of a blood vessel (dissection). As such, the MRA test is often used to check the blood vessels leading to the brain, kidneys, and/or the legs.

Both an MRI and an MRA are done almost exactly the same way. During both exams, the area of the body being studied is put inside an MRI machine. However,

what's different...

is during an MRA, a contrast material, often called a dye, is used to make the patient's blood vessels show up more clearly in the images. The contrast 'dye' is a liquid that is administered through an IV. And even though it's often called a dye, it doesn't stain or dye your blood or any part of your body. Patients often describe it as a warm sensation throughout their bodies. It's important to note, however, MRA and MRI scans are both painless procedures that, even with the contrast dye, do not use any radiation.

With both an MRI or MRA exam, most patients are able to leave immediately after the test is performed. And much like an MRI, information from an MRA scan can be saved and stored on a computer for more study. Photographs of selected MRA views can also be made.

Finally, in many cases, both an MRA or MRI can give doctors and their patients information that cannot be seen from an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan.



Getting a MRI and MRA:

Find out what the experience is like and what you should expect.


Before the MRI or MRA
During the MRI or MRA
After the MRI or MRA

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MRI of Neck


Published on YouTube by Christopher Kelly on Jul 22, 2017
Dynamic MRI of neck and cervical spine using a 3T scanner. MRI Physicists: Anthony Price and Jana Hutter


MRA of Neck



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Other Types of MRIs

AbdomenAdrenal GlandsAppendixBackBile DuctsBladderBlood VesselsBoneBowelBrainBreastCervical SpineCervixChestDiscFallopian TubeFetusFootFull BodyGallbladderHeadHeartJointKidneyLegLiverLumbarLymph NodesMRANeckNoseOveriesPancreasPelvisPenisProstateScrotumShoulderSpineSpleenTesticlesTumorUrethraUterusVertebraeWhole Body


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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.








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