Memorial Hermann-TMC – Outpatient Neuro Imaging Center
Answer: Thank you for contacting the Ask an Expert in Neurology Imaging forum. This is a common and difficult problem. For people who have difficulty with insurance and co-pay issues, the best option if you live in Harris County, Texas, is to contact the Harris County Hospital District at 713-566-6400 or hchdonline, click on “patients,” then click on “access care”. The website will tell you who qualifies for financial assistance and how to apply. Other counties have medical care assistance programs as well; you can go to the website for that county. At the Memorial Hermann and UTHealth facilities, you are encouraged to ask the individual departments where you need a service about payment plans. In your specific situation, where there are specific illnesses in your medical history for which you need follow up examinations, I would encourage you to start by going to a primary care physician who accepts Medicare/Medicaid, who can help you decide which imaging exams are really important for you at this time. Perhaps there is another, less expensive way to assess how you are doing. One more option is to look for a research study, which can occasionally offer good free care as part of the study. Start by looking on ClinicalTrials.gov. Type in the location and the type of illness or procedure you are looking for. Check for whether the study is still going on, and where.
Answer: Thank you for contacting the Neurology Imaging Ask an Expert forum. The answer is yes, we are able to perform this test, and many other special exams like it. Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center has doctors called interventional radiologists, some of whom specialize in imaging of the blood vessels of the brain and spinal column (a neuro-radiologist, or neuro-angiographer). These doctors are part of the UTHealth team of physicians who serve Memorial Hermann Hospital–TMC, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital–TMC, and Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital. The procedure involves light sedation, or rarely full anesthesia, and local numbing. A long catheter is inserted into the large blood vessel in the groin. There is no pain as the catheter is advanced to exactly the right spot, then a contrast (like a dye) is injected and many very low-dose x-ray pictures are taken. The contrast may cause a warm sensation or other temporary discomfort. When the catheter is removed at the end of the procedure, pressure is applied, and the patient will stay in bed with the leg straight for about 4 hours to prevent bleeding where the catheter was inserted, sometimes overnight. For the next few days, one should avoid activities such as heavy lifting that put stress on the groin. Call the doctor if you have an increasing lump in the groin, dizziness or chest pains, fever, seizures, weakness, or a rash (sometimes caused by allergy to the contrast). If you need to schedule an appointment for angiography of the brain or spinal column, you can call 713-512-6040 for Memorial Hermann Hospital, or 713-526-4243 for LBJ Hospital.