Posts Tagged ‘radiology’

What to Expect with Nuclear Medicine Imaging

Radiology Services Virginia Nuclear medicine imagingWhen you hear the term nuclear medicine, there’s a chance you may be a bit concerned with the treatment. After all, nuclear fallout, nuclear weapons, and nuclear meltdowns all have a negative connotation. When it comes to nuclear medicine imaging, however, there is no danger in it.

What is Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine isn’t something you take, like a pain reliever or antibiotic. Rather, it’s simply an imaging process, or a scan. What happens during this scan is a small amount of radioactive material is used, alongside a special camera and computer, to capture images of the insides of your body.

Of course, there are other imaging techniques, so why use nuclear medicine for imaging? Simply stated, because nuclear medicine imaging is able to detect molecular activity with precision, and can discover diseases in their earliest stages, during which time they’re easier to treat.

Preparing for the Exam

Generally speaking, there isn’t a lot you need to do to prepare for a nuclear medicine scan. If, however, the scan will be looking at the stomach, you may be asked to not eat food before coming. Likewise, if the scan is for the kidneys, you may be asked to drink lots of water beforehand. Whatever the case, your radiologist will let you know what you should do before you come in.

What You Should Expect

Most scans will have you lie down on a table. The camera may look like a CT scanner, however it may also be positioned above the table or below the table. While the images are being taken, you must stay as still as possible so as to get the most accurate image. Don’t worry about the radioactivity lingering in your body, either. The majority of it leaves your body through urine and stool. The rest disappears over time, so if you were hoping to gain superpowers like Spider-Man from nuclear medicine, you’re out of luck.

 

If you need nuclear medicine imaging or other radiology services, please schedule an appointment with us at Peninsula Radiology by giving us a call at (757) 989-8830.

Bone Density Testing: What is it and Why is it Important?

bone density testing at Peninsula Radiology

What is bone density testing?

Bone density testing—also known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA)—uses x-ray images to assess bone mineral density (BMD). The absorption of dual x-ray beams by a patient’s bone is measured to determine the overall strength of the bone and the risk of fracture. The test is typically performed on the lower spine and hips.

What does bone density testing discover?

A bone density test is currently the only way to diagnose osteoporosis, a disease characterized by decreased bone density and quality. Osteoporosis and low bone density (osteopenia) increase the risk of bone fracture. Therefore, DEXA can be used to:

  • Diagnose osteoporosis, either before or after a bone fracture
  • Identify decreased bone density before you break a bone
  • Assess your risk of bone fractures
  • Monitor the success of osteoporosis treatment

When is bone density testing recommended?

Your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough health assessment to determine if you’re at risk for osteoporosis or decreased bone density. A bone density test may be considered if:

  • Further bone testing is recommended based on the results of a screening test such as a peripheral dual x-ray absorptiometry (pDXA), quantitative ultrasound (QUS), or peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT)
  • You’ve lost height of at least ½ inch within a year
  • You’ve lost a total height of 1 ½ inches
  • You’ve had a break or bone loss in your spine
  • You are a woman aged 65 or older
  • You are a man aged 70 or older
  • You break a bone after age 50
  • You are a post-menopausal woman not taking estrogen
  • You have risk factors such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, type 1 diabetes, or a thyroid condition
  • You use medications that can cause bone loss, such as corticosteroids, anti-seizure medications, or high-dose thyroid replacement medications

How is bone density testing conducted?

Bone density tests are fast, easy, and noninvasive outpatient procedures. You will lay on a padded table while a mechanical imaging device passes over your body. You will be asked to stay still and perhaps hold your breath for a few seconds to ensure a clear image. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to is very small.

How are bone density test results interpreted?

Bone density test results are reported in T-scores and Z-scores:

T-score

Your T-score measures your bone mass compared to the bone mass of a healthy young adult of your gender.

  • -1 and above: Normal bone density
  • Between -1.1 and -2.5: Osteopenia (low bone density)
  • -2.5 and below: Osteoporosis

Z-score

Your Z-score measures your bone mass compared to healthy adults of your age, gender, weight, and ethnicity. If your score is significantly higher or lower than normal, you may need further medical tests.

 

If you meet any of the above mentioned recommendations for considering bone density testing, give Peninsula Radiology a call at (757) 898-8830. We’d love to help!

What Is a PET Scan?

PET ScanPeninsula Radiology offers multiple diagnostic tests that are intended to diagnose diseases that are hidden from the naked eye.  While many people know the names of the different types of tests and scans, most do not know what the scans are intended to do.  One of the types of tests that is commonly performed at Peninsula Radiological Associates is a PET scan.

What is a PET scan?

A positron emission tomography, more commonly known as PET, is a type of procedure used to scan for possible diseases inside of your body. It uses gamma rays given off by a tracer to make a 3D image of the interior of your body possible. The way this works is that you are given the tracer, which is swallowed or injected, and it gives off low levels of radiation that the machine can pick up on, allowing it to map the inside of your body. It is a painless procedure, and has few risks associated with it. At the longest, the radiotracer will be out of your system within a day.

Why get a PET scan?

It’s an easy procedure that can detect and measure numerous things about the body, with the most important and often the most relevant being your oxygen use and blood flow. The scan is simple and non-invasive.

Why a PET scan over something else?

A lot of very dangerous diseases can be detected earlier with the aid of a PET scan, from cancer to brain disorders. The test can give you early warning for life-threatening diseases.  It can also detect the stages of heart disease, and can prevent stroke and heart attacks if the disease is found early.

In short, a PET scan is a relatively easy test to perform that can help to diagnose life threatening health situations. If your doctor recommends it, then it is a procedure that could very well save your life.

If you have been advised or referred for a PET scan, contact our office for an appointment with one of our radiology professionals.  Our team of providers has the experience and skill to provide outstanding health services in a compassionate, caring environment.

 

What is Embolization and is it the Right Choice for You?

embolizationEmbolization is a way of therapeutically cutting off a supply of blood to a particular part of the body. This procedure can be used to prevent internal bleeding, stop the flow of blood to a tumor, treatment of aneurysms or to resolve abnormal connections between veins and arteries. Embolization is a less invasive way to address blood flow concerns than open surgery.

The benefits of embolization include:

  • Less Complications – Given that this is a less invasive procedure than open surgery the risk factors are reduced for patients.
  • No Surgical Incision – This procedure only requires a nick in the skin to insert the catheter and therefore no stitches are required.
  • Brief Hospital Stay – Most people need to stay in the hospital only the night after the procedure. Normal activities can usually begin in approximately one week.
  • Options When Surgery is Not Recommended – This method can be used to treat tumors and other vascular issues that can’t be removed surgically or would pose too great of a risk if surgery was attempted.

The procedure is done with the aid of x-ray imaging and a contract material so the blood vessel can be seen clearly. The doctor inserts a catheter into the blood vessel and moves it up to the area that needs to be treated. The catheter is a long, thin plastic tube that fits inside the vein or artery, it is approximately 1/8 inch in diameter so you can compare it to being smaller than a pencil lead used in a mechanical pencil. Once the catheter is positioned properly an embolic agent is inserted through the catheter and this synthetic material or medication is placed for the treatment.

Different types of embolic agents can be used depending on the size of the blood vessel and whether the agent need to be a permanent or temporary solution.
Embolization can provide treatment for a variety of medical needs, so discuss your particular situation with the doctor and they can answer your questions about the benefits and risks of their recommended course of treatment.

Embolization can be performed by the providers of Peninsula Radiology Associates. If your doctor has recommended embolization as the appropriate procedure for you, and you would like more information, please contact us at (757) 989-8830. We would be happy to help you decide if it’s right for you!

What Does a Radiologist Do?

radiologistA recent study presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America meeting determined that more than 64% of respondents stated that they had little or no understanding regarding the critical role of radiologist. Radiologists specialize in producing pictures of the human body using state-of-the-art imaging technology, such as X-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These medical specialists are central members of the multidisciplinary clinical care team who play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries within adults and children, including babies and unborn fetuses.

At Peninsula Radiological Associates, patients are offered the following specialties and services:
CAT Scans, which display several different types of tissue
X-rays, which identify and treat bone fractures
DEXA Scans, which measure bone loss and density
Embolization, which stop blood supply to destructive tumors
MRI, which diagnose cancer, vascular disease, and neurological disorders
Musculoskeletal imaging, which pinpoint spinal disorders and arthritis
Nuclear medicine, such as PET scans, which evaluate respiratory problems and organ function
Radiofrequency Ablation, which locate and eliminate tumors using electrical energy

Of course, there are several other imaging procedures available through the dependable care of our board-certified radiologists. Women’s Imaging, for example, includes a wide range of valuable services related to breast cancer, such as digital mammography and image guided biopsy.

Because these terms can appear confusing or overwhelming to some patients, we uphold the ideas behind the “Radiology Cares” initiative, which seeks to effectively promote effective communication between the patient and healthcare providers. As a result, our patients are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their rehabilitative care.

Overall, direct communication is essential to improving our community’s awareness of the dynamic role radiologists play in healthcare. Even more importantly, direct interactions with these specialists will enhance patient understanding and maintain comfort regarding their undergoing tests and procedures. These are the goals that we strive to achieve on a daily basis in order to provide the best healthcare possible.

We strongly encourage patient education, and are always ready and willing to answer any questions regarding your health. Peninsula Radiology Associates is happy to serve your imaging needs.

Understanding Musculoskeletal Imaging Uses and Methods

muscloskeletal imagingMusculoskeletal imaging is a specialty used to look at disorders of the joints, bones and soft tissues associated with their connections. These images can be done on both adult and pediatric patients depending on individual health concerns.

This type of imaging is used in a variety of health explorations including:

  • trauma situations
  • sports medicine (e.g. forceful impacts or repeated strains)
  • work related disorders caused by repeated motions and vibrations
  • bone and soft tissue tumors
  • joint disorders such as certain types of arthritis
  • tears in tendons or ligaments (i.e. knee, shoulder and hip)
  • congenital malformations of extremities in infants and children
  • swelling or bleeding of tissues around joints

During your first appointment with your medical provider, you can expect a physical examination that will involve inspection, palpation and manipulation of the affected area. First they will look for redness, inflammation and other visible signs of an abnormal occurrence. Next they will touch the area and exert some pressure to see how the body responds to an external stimuli. Finally they will perform a range of motions to see how the area reacts to different types of movement. All of these together will help them to determine what kind of musculoskeletal condition they need to consider.

If your doctor determines that imaging would be necessary to see details of your condition, a number of different imaging options can be used:

  1. X-rays – this basic imaging is usually a start to get a first look at the bones, joints and soft tissue to form an initial assessment.
  2. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – using a large magnet an MRI can produce a detailed look at the structures of the musculoskeletal system giving anatomic detail and even can provide detailed information of bone marrow in cases of infection or tumor.
  3. CT (computed tomography) – these images allow for a production of a three-dimensional view, making them useful in the evaluation of bone architecture, fractures and orthopedic hardware.
  4. Fluoroscopy – is a type of X-ray that creates moving images of joints as they are functioning.
  5. Ultrasound – using sound waves, an ultrasound can produce images of muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments in a noninvasive manner.

Musculoskeletal imaging also assists with soft tissue biopsies when using CT guidance or ultrasonographic procedures.
All of these imaging options have strengths for different diagnosis results and your doctor will help to determine the best course of labs for your individual circumstances.

Peninsula Radiology Associates is a full service imaging provider serving the entire Peninsula.  Our specialists are trained in the latest techniques so that you can have confidence you’re receiving an accurate imaging diagnosis.  Contact us at (757) 989-8830 for an appointment.  We are happy to serve your imaging needs!

 

Ultrasound Facts For Your Consideration

ultrasound factsMany people associate an ultrasound scan with pregnancy, but an ultrasound can be used for many different medical purposes. In this post you will learn what an ultrasound is, what it is used for, and also the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasound scans.

What is an ultrasound scan?
An ultrasound scan, also known as sonography, uses sound waves to capture images of what is inside a person’s body. Much like a bat uses sounds and their echoes to “see” its surroundings, an ultrasound emits sound too high for a human to hear, and then records the echoes to determine the shape of organs or soft tissues. An ultrasound scan allows doctors to see what is inside the body without making an incision.

What do doctors use ultrasounds for?
Pregnancy. Many expectant mothers have an ultrasound performed so the doctor can see how the unborn baby is doing. Some health problems can be detected this way. Also, the parents get a first peek at the child, sometimes learning the sex of the baby.

Diagnosing health problems in many internal organs, such as:
-gallbladder
-kidneys
-liver
-ovaries
-uterus
-pancreas
-spleen
-thyroid
-testicles
-bladder
-eyes
-heart
-blood vessels

Medical Procedures:  Doctors may use an ultrasound scan during certain procedures, such as needle biopsies, to help in precision.

What are the advantages of using ultrasound imagery?
The biggest advantage: an ultrasound is virtually painless, and it does not require an incision.
Ultrasounds are safe! They do not emit any radiation, unlike X-rays and CT scans.
Also, ultrasounds detect soft tissues that X-rays do not capture well.
Ultrasounds are less expensive than many other imaging techniques.

Are there any disadvantages?
Certain areas of the body cannot be imaged using ultrasound. For instance, ultrasound scans cannot go through bone. They also cannot be used in organs where gas is present, such as the lungs.
Ultrasounds are not as detailed as other imaging techniques, and this lack of detail can sometimes result in misleading images.

In conclusion, ultrasound scans allow doctors to see organs and soft tissues without being invasive. This is useful for pregnancies and many other medical conditions. Medical technology continues to advance, giving doctors more and more options to diagnose and treat their valued patients safely and effectively.  If you have been told you are in need of an ultrasound, contact us at Peninsula Radiology at (757) 989-8830 to schedule an appointment.

What Is A CT Scan?

CT ScanA CT scan stands for a computed tomography which scans the abdominal and pelvis which provides diagnostic image testing that will help detect diseases in the small bowel, colon, and many other internal organs in the same region. CT Scans are generally used to determine the cause of unexplained causes of pain.

Are CT Scans Safe?
CT Scans to expose you, very briefly, to a very small amount of ionizing radiation, however it is necessary to help recreate the structures such as organs in the body to determine the cause of the unexplained pain. The tiny amount of radiation that you are exposed to is so small that the increased risks of cancer the person is exposed to cannot even be reliably measured.

When Are CT Scans Done?
CT Scans are often done after the body sustains traumas such as that from a car wreck, work accident, or other traumatic event like a sports injury. These scans will take images of the various parts of the body including cross-sectional images of the body to see if trauma or injury was sustained.
CT Scans are then used to determine plans of treatments, surgeries, or radiation treatments that may need to be completed to help treat the trauma or the issue. These treatment plans can help the patient get rid of the pain and

What Conditions to CT Scans Help Reveal?
CT Scans can help determine some of the following:
Diagnose muscle and bone issues such as tumors or fractures
Pinpoints various procedures that the patient may need such as a biopsy or if they have something more serious like an infection or blood clot
Detection and monitoring of longer-term diseases such as heart diseases or cancers.
Monitor the effectiveness of ongoing treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
Helps detect internal injuries such as bleeding or injuries and internal trauma that was done to the organs.

Pregnancy Notice:
Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant. While the miniscule amount of radiation from a CT Scan is unlikely to harm an unborn baby your doctor may prefer to use other imaging, such as MRIs or ultrasounds just to be safe.

Peninsula Radiology is a full service radiology practice that has team members ready to provide answers about any of the services we provide.  Contact us to make an appointment or ask questions about any of our services.

Season’s Greetings from Peninsula Radiology

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays from our family to yours, at Peninsula Radiology!pra holiday

Holiday Greetings from PRA

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One of the gifts we appreciate most is the trust you’ve placed in our medical care. Thank you and have a happy and healthy holiday season! We look forward to serving you in 2016!