Diagnostic imaging refers to technology that allows your doctor to look inside your body to help determine the causes of an injury or an illness, and confirm a diagnosis. It’s also used to monitor how your body is responding to treatment.
The radiology team at Spectrum Healthcare Partners has the expertise to perform the full range of these non-invasive diagnostic imaging exams and interpret the findings for your doctor. Here’s an overview of their capabilities:
Bone densitometry (DEXA):
Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology used to measure bone loss, particularly in diagnosing osteoporosis.
Computed tomography (CT):
A CT scan combines a series of x-ray images taken from different angles around your body, then uses a computer to produce cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, soft tissues and blood vessels inside the body. These images are more detailed than standard x-rays.
Also called a virtual colonoscopy, this exam uses special x-ray equipment to examine the large intestine (colon) for polyps and cancer. During the exam, a small tube is inserted into the rectum to inflate the colon with gas while CT images of the colon and rectum are taken.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
This imaging technology uses strong magnetic fields, radio waves and computer processing to create detailed images of the organs and tissues inside the body—without the use of radiation.
A mammography exam, called a mammogram, uses low-energy x-rays to examine breast tissue to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases, including cancer. Mammography remains the gold standard for breast cancer screening.
Neuroradiology is a subspecialty of radiology focused on diagnosing abnormalities of the central and peripheral nervous system, spine, and head and neck. Neuroradiologists also perform interventional procedures to treat diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the skull and spine.
Nuclear medicine imaging uses small amounts of radioactive materials called tracers that typically are injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed. The tracer travels through the area being examined, emitting energy in the form of gamma rays; these are detected by a special camera and a computer to create images of the inside of your body.
This subspecialty of diagnostic radiology focuses on children, from infants to adolescents and young adults. Because children’s developing bodies are more susceptible to the adverse effects of radiation than adults’, pediatric radiologists are highly trained to determine which imaging tests are most appropriate, and that the exams are performed safely.
Positron emission tomography (PET):
A PET scan is a nuclear medicine imaging test that uses a radioactive tracer to help reveal how tissues and organs are functioning (not just their structure). The tracer collects in areas of the body that have higher levels of chemical activity, which often correspond to areas of disease. A PET scan is often used to evaluate cancer, heart disease and brain disorders, often in combination with CT or MRI scans.
Also called ultrasound, this type of imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of your body. Because it doesn’t use radiation, it’s considered safe and non-invasive, and is often used to examine pregnant women and infants. It’s also used to help guide biopsies, diagnose heart conditions, and assess damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack.
If you have any questions about an upcoming diagnostic imaging exam, please feel free to call us. Simply call the main number at the hospital or imaging facility where your exam is scheduled and ask to be connected to the radiology department.