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Diagnostic radiology services are tests that help your physician diagnose your condition. The following diagnostic radiology services are offered:
A radiograph or x-ray is a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Some of the most frequent uses of x-rays are to obtain images of bones and joints, and the chest. The images are interpreted by a radiologist using a computer and special high resolution monitors. The radiologist is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury using medical imaging.
A DXA Scan, also called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, is a non-invasive x-ray technology used to measure bone loss. DXA is the established standard for measuring bone density and guiding treatment for osteoporosis.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology has been commonly used as a non-invasive medical test for diagnosing medical conditions. Most hospitals utilize 1.5T MRIs, but SACH offers patients 3Tesla technology, which produces images with greater clarity and detail. Stroke patients and patients undergoing brain surgeries are among the chief beneficiaries of MRI technology, but it also used for imaging the spine, muscles, bones, joints, and breast tissue. Open MRI testing is also available for patients who may be anxious about confined spaces.
Traditional 16-slice Computerized Tomography (CT) scanners have been used for many years as an important diagnostic tool. They work by directing x-ray beams through the patient's body, which are then caught by detectors that spiral around the body and create 3D images. SACH's state-of-the-art 64-slice CT system is more advanced than traditional 16-slice CT systems and produces greater detail and clarity of anatomical structures. While CT scans have applications for various parts of the human body, they are especially helpful for physicians at SACH's Heart Center, since the scan can reveal a virtual road map of the heart structures and coronary arteries.
An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves to produce an image of the heart. These "echoes" are converted into moving images of the heart. 3D echocardiograms can be used to evaluate the structure and function of the heart and its valves.
Digital mammography and diagnostic ultrasound are offered through the Women's Breast & Imaging Center. Digital mammography is advanced technology that takes highly detailed breast images from different angles, allowing the radiologist to review and manipulate electronic images of the breast for enhanced views. This can assist in seeing subtle or early signs of cancer. Breast ultrasound is also used as a complementary diagnostic test if an area of concern is detected on mammography.
Breast biopsies are performed to evaluate an area of concern identified on a mammogram, breast ultrasound, or other diagnostic test. A stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses stereo images (advanced images of the breast from different angles) to determine the precise coordinates of the abnormal tissue to be biopsied. Stereotactic breast biopsies can usually be performed on an outpatient basis by an interventional radiologist at the Women's Breast & Imaging Center.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive chemical) to look at organs in the body. The tracer liquid is inserted intravenously and moves through your body to collect in the specific organ or tissue being tested. PET scans are often used to detect small differences in the soft tissues of the body which are not seen on CT scans. A PET scan is generally done to check blood flow, check organ function, or to find certain types of cancer.
Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultra sound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultra sound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through arteries and veins.
Ultrasound is frequently used to evaluate the abdominal organs, the uterus and ovaries in the pelvis, and the unborn child (fetus) in pregnant patients. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate blockages in blood vessels, such as the carotid arteries which supply blood to the brain, and to evaluate the veins in the legs to determine if blood clots are present.
Catheter angiography is a minimally invasive test that produces pictures of blood vessels. A thin plastic tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery through a small incision in the skin. The catheter is guided to the area being examined, contrast material is injected, and images are obtained using x-rays.
Angiography is most frequently used to diagnose blockages in major arteries throughout the body. Non-invasive angiography can also be done at times using computed tomography (CTA) or magnetic resonance (MRA).