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MRI

(MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses a combination of a strong electro-magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of the body and internal organs. No x-rays are used. Magnetic Resonance Imaging can evaluate virtually all areas of the body, and is often used to visualize the brain, spine, bones, joints, abdomen, and pelvis.

Because of the strong magnetic field produced by the scanner, patients must remove all metallic and electronic devices such as jewelry, hairpins, glasses, hearing aids, etc. Certain devices such as pacemakers, aneurysm clips, pumps, or metal implants are affected by the magnetic field, and some people with these devices cannot undergo this examination. Sometimes metal from spine and orthopedic surgery causes artifacts that interfere with the images. The vast majority of patients will have no problems with the exam.

During the procedure, which lasts from 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the number and complexity of scans to be performed), the patient lies motionless on a table that slides into the scanner. During the scan, a clicking and humming noise is created as the magnetic fields change and radio waves are sent from the scanner. You will need to hold still through the whole exam in order to obtain the best images. Our technologists will be in constant communication with you during your scan.

Due to the scan time and the feeling of claustrophobia experienced by some patients, the imaging center has both a “donut” type scanner and a “pancake” open scanner, whose design minimizes the sensation of claustrophobia. 

Contrast material may be administered by vein in order to see internal structures more clearly. This contrast material is extremely safe, although caution is recommended in patients with advanced renal failure.

 MRA
 
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method of producing extremely detailed pictures of body tissues and organs without the need for x-rays. The electromagnetic energy that is released when exposing a patient to radiofrequency waves in a strong magnetic field is measured and analyzed by a computer to produce images of the specific organs and/or structions of the body. MR angiography (MRA) is a detailed  MRI study of the blood vessels. The procedure is painless, and the magnetic field is not known to cause tissue damage of any kind.  These images are reconstructed in a 3D format and provide incredible clarity and diagnostic quality.

The carotid arteries in the neck that take blood to the brain are a common site of narrowing or plaque that can be shown by MRA. Patients with headache or family history of aneurysm, a ballooning of the vessel wall, can be screened with MRA.
MRA is also used to detect disease in the aorta and in blood vessels supplying the kidneys, lungs and legs.

 CT

Computed Tomography (CT Scan) Computed Tomography (CT or “CAT” scan) uses a combination of x-rays and computerized reconstruction to produce images of the body in much greater detail than standard x-rays. All areas of the body can be evaluated with CT.

Typically, a CT scan is performed quickly, with most of the time used for preparation. Actual scan time only lasts a few seconds. The patient lies flat on a table which moves through the large, donut-shaped opening of the scanner as the study is performed. Our technologists are always in constant communication during the exam.

Intravenous contrast material is sometimes given to better define internal structures. Although safe, this material contains iodine, and patients with iodine allergies and previous reactions to CT contrast material should consider MRI instead if contrast is needed. Similarly, patients with renal insufficiency or failure should also avoid CT contrast material and should consider MRI.  The staff radiologists carefully screen potential at risk patients for contrast studies, and if required, can suggest alternate, but effective, imaging studies to the referring physician.

 X-RAY

Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce an image of the internal organs and body structures. X-rays are absorbed in varying amounts by different tissues, which show up as shadows of different density on the radiographic image.

A chest x-ray is usually done for the evaluation of lungs, heart and chest wall. Pneumonia, heart failure, cancer and other medical conditions can be diagnosed by chest x-ray. X-ray images of the bones spine, joints are performed to diagnose broken bones, or assess fracture healing. Arthritis and degenerative changes of can also be diagnosed.

ULTRASOUND
 
Ultrasound imaging uses high frequency sound waves to make pictures of internal organs. Reflected sound wave echoes are recorded, reconstructed by a computer, and displayed as images on a computer screen. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs, fetal development, and blood flow. There is no harmful radiation.

Diagnostic (Abdomen, Pelvis, Thyroid, Retroperitoneal)

Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body's internal organs, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, and ovaries. Because ultrasound provides real-time images, it can also be used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to sample cells from organs for laboratory testing

Obstetrical

Some indications for obstetrical ultrasound may be

  • Establish presence of a living embryo/fetus
  • Estimate the age of the pregnancy
  • Evaluate the position of the fetus
  • Evaluate the position of the placenta
  • Determine if there are multiple pregnancies
  • Diagnose congenital anomalies

Vascular

Ultrasound imaging of the body's veins and arteries can help the radiologist see and evaluate blockages to blood flow, such as clots in veins and plaque in arteries. Ultrasound of the vascular system also provides a fast, noninvasive means of identifying blockages of blood flow in the neck arteries to the brain that might produce a stroke or mini-stroke.

DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY 

All mammography and breast imaging performed in the Breast Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology and fully comply with all FDA mammography requirements.  In addition the center utilizes only digital mammography which, compared to traditional mammography, provides a reduced radiation dose and enhanced clarity for diagnosis.

Screening Mammography
A screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. It usually involves two x-rays of each breast. With periodic mammogram screening, it is possible to detect micro-calcifications (tiny deposits of calcium in the breast, which sometimes are a clue to the presence of breast cancer) or a tumor that cannot be felt.

3D Mammography
3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.

What is a 3D Mammography Breast Exam?

What to expect during your 3D Mammography Exam

Diagnostic Mammography
A diagnostic mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that is used to diagnose breast changes, such as a lump, pain, thickening, nipple discharge, or a change in breast size or shape. Diagnostic mammography may also be performed after an abnormal screening mammogram or because of a history of breast cancer or the presence of breast implants. Diagnostic mammograms frequently take longer than a screening mammogram because they may involve more views of the breast or special magnified views.

Breast Ultrasound
Ultrasound is another way to evaluate breast abnormalities detected by mammography, or physical exam. Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is also a highly accurate way to evaluate suspicious masses.

Breast Biopsy
Mammography or ultrasound are excellent ways to detect breast abnormalities, but it may be necessary to obtain a tissue sample for microscopic examination to be certain whether or not these abnormalities are cancerous. A dedicated,  computerized mammography machine called a stereotactic unit, or ultrasound may be used to pinpoint the area of concern after which a hollow needle may be passed through the skin into the suspicious lesion. The small sample of breast tissue obtained in this way can show whether the lesion is malignant or benign.  These procedures are performed exclusively by a radiologist with fellowship training in breast imaging.
      
Additional informaiton about Breast Biopsys can be found on the Susan G. Komen website.
 
NUCLEAR MEDICINE

Nuclear medicine involves the administration of small amounts of a radioactive isotope which migrates to the specific organ being imaged which then generates computed images based on the radiation released within the organ over the duration of the study.  

Once injected or ingested, the radioactivity is imaged using a special camera which makes images of the inside of your body. A computer may be used to analyze and measure the radioactivity released to measure the function of your heart, kidneys, gallbladder or thyroid. Other common uses of nuclear medicine include bone scans which evaluate for bone tumors, fractures or infection. A PET/CT scan is a combined nuclear medicine scan and CT, most commonly used for tumor detection.

PET/CT

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a highly specific,  non-invasive imaging technique used primarily for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of cancers.  This technology is based on injecting a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) into the body which then migrates to any rapidly growing tissue which are typically cancerous.   

A PET scan can demonstrate abnormal tissue before anatomical changes take place, while the CT scan provides detailed information about the body's anatomy. By combining these two scanning technologies, a PET/CT scan enables physicians to more accurately diagnose and identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.

FLUOROSCOPY

Fluoroscopy is the examination of the tissues and deep structures of the body using the fluoroscope, which projects x-ray images onto a TV screen for viewing by the radiologist.  Fluoroscopy is performed under the direct supervision of a radiologist.

DEXA

Safe and painless, the 10 minute DEXA scan (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is the most accurate and reliable test to determine bone density.  DEXA is most useful for identifying and monitoring patients with osteoporosis and osteopenia.   Minimal radiation (less than 1/20 of a chest x-ray) is used to determine the bone density of the spine, hip or wrist. A DEXA test is more sensitive than ordinary x-rays, more accurate than radiographs (radiographic absorptiometry) and can diagnose bone loss associated with osteoporosis at an earlier stage.  Based on the findings of a DEXA scan a physician can accurately diagnosis conditions and prescribe a treatment regiment to minimize any calcium loss within the bone structure.

CTA

CT Angiography uses a CT scanner to produce detailed, 3D images of both blood vessels and tissues in various parts of the body. An iodine-rich contrast material (dye) is usually injected through a small catheter placed in a vein of the arm. A CT scan is then performed while the contrast flows through the blood vessels to the various organs of the body. After scanning, the images will be processed using a special computer and software and reviewed in different planes and projections.