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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), or magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structures. MRI makes use of the property of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to image nuclei of atoms inside the body. An MRI machine uses a powerful magnetic field to align the magnetization of some atoms in the body, and radio frequency fields to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization. This causes the nuclei to produce a rotating magnetic field detectable by the scanner—and this information is recorded to construct an image of the scanned area of the body.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine tests (also known as scans, examinations, or procedures) are safe and painless. In a nuclear medicine test, small amounts of radiopharmaceuticals are introduced into the body by injection, swallowing, or inhalation. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones, or tissues. The amount of radiopharmaceutical used is carefully selected to provide the least amount of radiation exposure to the patient but ensures an accurate test. A special camera (PET, SPECT or gamma camera) is then used to take pictures of your body. The camera detects the radiopharmaceutical in the organ, bone or tissue and forms images that provide data and information about the area in question. Nuclear medicine differs from an x-ray, ultrasound or other diagnostic test because it determines the presence of disease based on biological changes rather than changes in anatomy.


Open PET/CT

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a powerful imaging technique that holds great promise in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, particularly cancer. A non-invasive test, PET scans accurately image the body’s physiologic changes which helps doctors see how the organs and tissues inside your body are actually functioning. The test involves injecting a very small dose of a radioactive chemical, called a radiotracer, into the vein of your arm. The tracer travels through the body and is absorbed by the organs and tissues being studied. Next, you will be asked to lie down on a flat examination table that is moved into the center of a PET scanner—a doughnut-like shaped machine. This machine detects and records the energy given off by the tracer substance and, with the aid of a computer; this energy is converted into three-dimensional pictures. A physician can then look at cross-sectional images of the body organ from any angle in order to detect any functional problems.

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan shows the structure of the anatomy where the changes are taking place. Combining these two scans in one highly sophisticated PET/CT imaging technique provides, during a single outpatient exam, detailed information to physicians about the presence or spread of disease and accurately identifies its precise location. For patients undergoing treatment, a PET/CT scan can provide a clearer assessment of how each person is responding. This is how PET/CT imaging is truly impacting individual lives.

Bone Density

A bone density test — also called densitometry or DXA scan — determines whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break. In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after you broke a bone. By that time, however, your bones could be quite weak. A bone density test makes it possible to know your risk of breaking bones before the fact. A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. A bone density test is a fairly accurate predictor of your risk of fracture.


Computerized Tomography (CT)

A CT scan — also called computerized tomography or just CT — combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. The resulting images can be compared to a loaf of sliced bread. Your doctor will be able to look at each of these slices individually or perform additional visualization to make 3-D images. CT scan images provide much more information than do plain X-rays. A CT scan is particularly well suited to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can also visualize the brain and — with the help of injected contrast material — check for blockages or other condition of your blood vessels. Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to help diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures, pinpoint the location of a tumor, infection or blood clot, guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy, detect and monitor diseases such as cancer or heart disease, as well as detect internal injuries and internal bleeding.

Mammography

A mammogram is a radiographic image of the breast. Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms typically involve two radiographic images of each breast. These images make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find micro calcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer. Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram can also be used to evaluate changes found during a screening mammogram or to view breast tissue when it is difficult to obtain a screening mammogram because of special circumstances, such as the presence of breast implants. Mammography is believed to reduce mortality from breast cancer as early detection of the disease with screening mammography means that treatment can be started possibly before it has had an opportunity to metastasize.


Ultrasound

An Ultrasound examination, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures within your body. The images produced during an ultrasound examination often provide information that’s valuable in diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a sonar device outside of your body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside your body. You may need to undergo an ultrasound for a variety of reasons. Ultrasound may be used, among other things, to evaluate a fetus during pregnancy, diagnose gallbladder disease, evaluate flow in blood vessels, guide a needle biopsy, guide the biopsy and treatment of a tumor, study your heart, diagnose some forms of infection or cancer, reveal abnormalities in the scrotum and prostate, and evaluate abnormalities of the muscles and tendons.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is procedure to remove a small sample of breast tissue for laboratory testing which will assist your doctor in diagnosing abnormalities within the cells which make up a breast lump or other unusual changes within the breast. It is considered to be the best way to evaluate a suspicious area within the breast to determine if it is breast cancer. Your doctor may recommend a breast biopsy if either you or your doctor feels a lump or thickening in your breast and your doctor suspects breast cancer, your mammogram shows a suspicious area in your breast, an ultrasound scan reveals a suspicious finding, or you have unusual changes around the nipple, including crusting, scaling, dimpling skin or a bloody discharge. A breast biopsy can help determine whether or not you may need surgery or some other form of treatment.


X-Ray

A Diagnostic X-ray (radiography) is an examination using electromagnetic energy beams to produce images onto film or a computer. X-rays are performed for various reasons and involves exposing a part of the body to a small amount of ionizing radiation to produce images. They are a painless, non-invasive way to help diagnose problems such as broken bones, tumors, dental decay, and the presence of foreign bodies.

Needle Localization

A needle or wire localization is a pre-surgical procedure in which a wire is inserted, via a hollow needle into an abnormal area of tissue which can then be surgically sampled. It is used to localize either a mass or calcification which cannot be felt on physical examination. An imaging device such as an ultrasound probe is used to help place the wire in or around the abnormal area. You will then be taken to the operating room where the surgeon will remove the targeted tissue. The tissue will then be x-rayed to ensure the correct tissue was removed and then sent to Pathology where the tissue will be evaluated.