Whittier Imaging

Whittier Imaging offers the latest technology geared toward preventive medicine. Our state-of-the-art Philips MRI scanners offer the most advanced imaging equipment and techniques to screen individuals for underlying disease and also assist your physician in the diagnosis and treatment of known or suspected illness.


Whittier Clinic & Pharmacy

2810 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55408


Our Diagnostic Services

Whittier Imaging offers highly trained and experienced staff who are registered Radiologic Technologists with advanced certifications in MRI. Our Radiologists are all faculty of the University of Minnesota. Our facilities are fully accredited by the Joint Commission (JCAHO). Our staff can provide you or your referring physician with a copy of your scan images. The report will be sent to your doctor.

Whittier Imaging offers state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for all your scanning needs. Our MRI scanners are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The MRI scanner at Whittier Imaging features:

  • Advanced perfusion and diffusion imaging to diagnose stroke and other neurological diseases
  • Fast imaging sequences allow pediatric patients to be done without sedation
  • MR angiography of the head, neck, body, and lower extremities
  • Advanced brain, spine, abdominal, and heart imaging
  • High–field magnet with the shortest bore
  • Research Scanning (vendor or clinical)
  • High-resolution orthopedic imaging


What is an MRI and how does it work?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Unlike other radiology procedures that use x-ray radiation, MRI uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to help produce the images of the body. The MRI scanner is able to produce images in any direction with such detail that it has revolutionized medical imaging.

The patient lies on a long table and the large magnetic field surrounds the table. The magnetic field causes the hydrogen protons in the body to align themselves with this magnetic field. A radio frequency is then transmitted through the body causing the hydrogen protons to move. When the radio frequency is turned off, the protons stop moving. As this happens the protons give off a slight signal, which in turn is measured by the computer and transformed into images. Thousands of these signals are measured and processed during a single scan series.

When are MRI Scans performed?

MRI scans can be used as an extremely accurate method of diagnosing diseases in many areas of the body. The exquisite detail produced by these images has made MRI the gold standard for imaging the extremities, especially the joints. In the head, MRI is used to look for tumors, strokes, aneurysms, and nervous system diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. MRI is considered to be the best exam to look at the entire spine and neck.

Although CT still dominates imaging of the chest and abdomen, MRI is continually coming up with new applications for these body areas and now can be used to evaluate the structures of the heart and aorta as well as the arteries of the abdomen and legs. MRI's ability to look at soft tissue structures has made it one of the newest tools to look at the breast for implant rupture or newly diagnosed breast cancer.

How do I prepare for an MRI Scan?

Most MRI exams do not require any fasting before the procedure. Abdomen exams require the patient to not eat or drink for four hours before the test. When you are scheduled for an MRI, it is important to know whether you have any metal objects that have been implanted in the body. The MRI staff will ask you or the scheduler about such things as aneurysm clips and pacemakers.

  • Abdomen - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • MRCP - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • Pelvis - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • Abdomen MRA - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • Pelvis MRA - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • Lower Extremity Run-off MRA - Nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before test.
  • All other procedures do not require preparation.
Are there any risks involved?

MRI is a painless radiology procedure that has the advantage of not using any x-ray radiation. There are no known side effects of the scan.

However, since the MRI scanner is a large magnet, it is very important to notify the technologist of metal implants and it is necessary to remove all metal objects such as keys and watches before entering the scan room. A screening form must be completed before starting a scan. In some cases, the exam cannot be performed due to certain implants. The most common contraindications for scanning are:

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Implanted defibrillator
  • Brain aneurysm clips
  • Metal in the eyes
  • Implanted devices, such as insulin pumps
  • Certain types of ear implants

The technologist will give you a more complete list and can answer any questions you may have before the scan.

The MRI exam may require an injection of a contrast material. The most common contrast is called gadolinium. This basically does the same thing for MRI as iodine does for CT scans. The complication rate for this contrast is very low.

What will I experience during a scan and how long does the scan take?

You will be asked to lie on a table and this table will slowly move to the center of the magnetic field. The scanner is a long tube open at both ends. The part of the body being scanned must be in the middle of this tube. Some patients find that they can be somewhat claustrophobic during this scan. However, the Philips scanner has a very short bore and claustrophobia is not usually an issue.

The scanner generates loud knocking noises during the scan so the staff will provide earphones during the procedure. You can listen to your favorite radio station or CD. The scan times are very short and every consideration will be taken to make you comfortable during the procedure.

The procedure usually lasts 15 - 30 minutes and you must lie very still. Some patients like to take a light sedative or pain medication before they arrive for the test.

When will I get the results?

The exam will be reviewed by your radiologist shortly after the completion of your exam. Some procedures require post processing and can take some time to complete so a report is not always readily available. The Radiologist will dictate a report that will be sent to your referring or primary physician within 24 hours of the procedure.

A complimentary CD-ROM or x-ray film copies of the exam are available to you or your doctor.

Vein Care

Whittier Imaging provides patients the latest in diagnostic imaging technology, interventional radiology, and vein care. Vein care offered at Whittier Clinic includes varicose and spider vein repair as well as treatment of other vascular conditions.

Vein Care Treatments

At Whittier Imaging Vein Care, you will undergo a comprehensive assessment of your veins by a specialist with extensive training and experience in treating patients with vascular disease. Your past vein history and current leg problems will be reviewed. A detailed physical exam and complete ultrasound evaluation of the venous systems of your legs will be performed.

Your specialist will carefully explain the how veins function and the details of your assessment. An individualized treatment plan will be devised to specifically address your vein care needs.

  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Vein Ablation, or Endovenous Laser Ablation

Insurance coverage for treatments

Varicose vein treatments and procedures are usually covered by insurance companies. We accept most insurance plans and Medicare. Spider vein treatments are usually not covered by insurance companies. Your initial consultation, diagnostic ultrasound, and office visit are usually covered by insurance.

Entrust us with your vein care. We are committed to improving the quality of your life.

Exam Preparation

For your initial visit, please bring a pair of loose fitting shorts.  Our pre and post treatment instructions are available below.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us at Whittier Imaging Vein Care at 612-873-7833.


How will I benefit from vein treatments?

Whittier Imaging Vein Care treats patients with cosmetic and medical venous problems. We artfully combine the latest minimally invasive techniques to provide customized treatment plans for each patient.

If you have visible varicose or spider veins, vein treatments will remove unsightly varicose veins that appear to be large, blue, bulging veins, or spider veins which are small, thin red or purple veins that lay close to the skin surface.

What are some of the symptoms of venous insufficiency?
  • Leg pain, aching or cramping
  • Burning or itching of the skin
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Heavy feeling legs
  • Skin discolorations (at the ankle)
What is an Ambulatory Phlebectomy treatment?

Ambulatory phlebectomy is surgical procedure used to remove varicose veins. Under a local anesthetic, tiny incisions are made over the abnormal veins and they are removed. The incisions are small enough that stitches are not required. Patients are able to walk after the procedure.

After the Ambulatory Phlebectomy treatment, a compression bandage and/or compression stockings are worn. Your physician will advise you how long to wear bandages or compression stockings. We recommend that you walk or bike after your treatment to alleviate any pressure in the veins and increase the blood flow in the veins. This will greatly reduce the risk of forming a blood clot.

What is Sclerotherapy?

For varicose veins, sclerotherapy is a very useful method to close down veins that cannot be treated with Endovenous Laser Ablation. This procedure is often performed under ultrasound guidance using a foam solution of a drug called Sotradecal. Ultrasound is the most useful tool for evaluating the function of the veins in the leg and plays a critical role in determining the location and cause of the varicose veins. The ultrasound evaluation usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes per leg to complete. It is completely painless.

Spider veins are readily treated with sclerotherapy. Using a special light, a small needle is placed in the tiny vein and a drug is injected to close down the vein. In most patients, several sessions of sclerotherapy over a 3 month period will be required. Most patients will see an improvement 90% of the time. Often, an ultrasound study will be performed prior to sclerotherapy to ensure the other veins in the leg are functioning normally.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins. In most patients, they are caused by faulty valves which allow blood to "leak" back down into the leg. This causes increased pressure within the veins of the leg causing them to enlarge. As the veins enlarge, they look like ropes under the skin. Varicose veins cause a variety of symptoms such as burning, itching, tingling, fatigue, heaviness, cramping, aching, swelling, edema, and restlessness. Left untreated, symptomatic varicose veins can progress to more serious medical conditions including skin inflammation, skin ulcers, venous inflammation, and venous blood clots.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins result from increased pressure in the venous system of the leg. The most common cause is failure of the valves in the veins. Less commonly, the veins of the leg can become blocked. The veins then enlarge as the pressure inside them increases. Patients see these as blue ropes under the skin. A common cause of varicose veins in the legs is reflux in the great saphenous vein.

What are the risk factors for varicose veins?

Heredity is the number one factor causing varicose veins. This is due to a weakness of the vein wall and vein valves. Women are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, because of pregnancy and hormonal factors. Other risk factors include advancing age, obesity, trauma, intense weight training exercise, and occupations involving prolonged sitting or standing.

What if I have varicose veins during pregnancy?

Many women first experience vein problems during pregnancy and these can be treated with compression stockings. Normally, within 3 months of delivery, improvement in varicose veins can be seen but veins remaining after this time likely will not improve. Patients should not undergo any of these procedures while pregnant but can be treated if they are planning future pregnancies.

Do varicose veins get worse over time?

Yes. In many patients, the disease progresses with time. Discoloration of the skin in the ankle area occurs not infrequently. Painful venous ulcers can develop in the calf. Superficial thrombophlebitis (a condition in which a vein near the surface of the skin becomes inflamed and develops clot) may also occur.

Are varicose veins a common problem?

Approximately 30% of the U.S. population has venous disease. It is more common in females and elderly patients.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are smaller, colored veins that look like the legs of a spider. Spider veins are often considered to be unsightly and can cause leg pain and/or a feeling of heaviness. There is not always a correlation between amount of discomfort felt and the number of spider veins present; e.g. a person may have only a few spider veins and feel a fair amount of pain. Conversely, a person may have many spider veins and feel little or no pain. Just like larger varicose veins, spider veins are a result of increased pressure in the veins.

What is Endovenous Laser Ablation?

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is procedure used to close abnormally functioning veins. EVLA is an outpatient procedure done under local analgesia. The laser is placed inside the abnormal vein through a tiny incision in the skin. The laser energy heats up the vein causing it to shrink and collapse. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour and you can return normal activities almost immediately.

What symptoms does venous insufficiency cause?

The symptoms caused by venous insufficiency and varicose veins include aching pain, burning, tired and heavy legs, all of which worsen as the day goes on. In many patients, leg elevation relieves these symptoms. In more severe cases, venous insufficiency and reflux can cause changes in skin color and eventually wounds in the skin. People who have venous insufficiency can have symptoms even without visible varicose veins.

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a common condition that occurs when valves inside the veins do not function normally. This allows blood to flow backward ("reflux") down into the leg causing increase pressure inside the veins.

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