News & Media

The Role of a Radiologist

role of radiology Depending on the illness or injury that brought them there, people tend to walk into their doctors’ offices with several questions that will hopefully guide them onto the path of recovery.  As new technologies develop and diagnostic systems advance with ever-increasing accuracy, the discussions between doctor and patient can become complex.  In order to properly diagnose and treat all of the injuries and diseases that occur within the human body, it is important that patients have a clear understanding about radiological procedures and all of its benefits.

A 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.  To clarify, 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.

Since Peninsula Radiological Associates is affiliated with the esteemed Riverside Health System, 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.

What is Nuclear Medicine?

nuclear medicineWhat is Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that is used to diagnose and treat diseases in a safe and painless way. It uses small amounts of radioactive material are used to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. The procedures that are used are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, and therefore offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages.

When is Nuclear Medicine Used? 

Molecular imaging procedures are used to diagnose and manage the treatment :

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Lung disorders
  • Bone disorders
  • Kidney and thyroid disorders,  and more.

What are the Benefits of Nuclear Medicine?

  • Examinations provide details on both function and anatomic structure of the body that is often unattainable using other imaging procedures.
  • For many diseases, scans provide the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis or to treatment plan.
  • less expensive than exploratory surgery.
  • Offers the potential to identify disease in its earliest stage, often before symptoms occur or abnormalities can be detected with other diagnostic tests.

If you have any questions, please ask your physician. You can find more information about nuclear medicine on our services page. Thank you for choosing Peninsula Radiology for your diagnostic needs!

International Day of Radiology: Emergency Radiology

Emergency Radiology Hampton Roads VAThe International Day of Radiology is building greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care, and better understanding of the vital role radiologists perform in healthcare delivery. November 8, 2017 marks the sixth annual International Day of Radiology (IDoR). This year’s theme is dedicated to emergency radiology, and the essential role that radiologists play in the emergency room.

The International Day of Radiology is celebrated on November 8, because it is the anniversary of the 1895 discovery of the X-ray by German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen.

Radiologists are not always the most visible members of the healthcare team, but, in many cases, they are the ones who provide the answers about a patients’ condition. Our radiologists use images produced with a variety of techniques and technologies, to pinpoint the exact nature and location of your fracture, whether your head has sustained any serious damage, and whether your stomach pains are due to a swollen appendix.

The International Day of Radiology serves an excellent opportunity to build greater awareness of the value that radiology research, diagnosis and treatment contribute to safe patient care, and better understanding of the vital role radiologists perform in healthcare delivery.

Radiologists in the emergency room increase the quality of care and treatment of patients.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness MonthSeptember is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. As one of the most deadly cancers, it is crucial to raise awareness and increase patient education about ovarian cancer. As there is no test for ovarian cancer, recognizing the symptoms and being diagnosed early are critical to saving lives.

Ovarian cancer symptoms are often subtle and difficult to diagnose. However, some symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: 

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary urgency or frequency

Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Backaches

Talk to your doctor if symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks. You are your best advocate!

Ovarian cancer does not discriminate. It can strike a woman of any race or at any age. Women with certain risk factors may have a greater chance of developing ovarian cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of cancer
  • Women over the age of 55
  • Women who were never pregnant
  • Women on menopausal hormone replacement therapy

Spreading the word about the symptoms can help save lives. It is our goal to promote awareness and early detection of ovarian cancer through advocacy and education, while providing support to people affected by ovarian cancer.

Benjamin J. Pettus, MD, PhD – A Leading Physician

Our very own Dr. Benjamin Pettus has been featured by the International Association of HealthCare Professionals as a Leading Physician. We are honored to have such incredible doctors on our team at Peninsula Radiology!

Dr. Pettus is Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology and is also a member of the Radiological Society of North America, American Roentgen Ray Society, Society of Breast Imaging, Phi Delta Lambda PLNU Graduate Honor Society, and the American College of Radiology.


Holiday Greetings from PRA


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!


What is MRI?

MRI at PRAMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions. The MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and all other internal body structures. Detailed MR images allow physicians to see various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases.

An MRI is a valuable tool for diagnosing a broad range of conditions including:

  • cancer
  • heart and vascular disease
  • stroke and other anomalies of the brain
  • joint and musculoskeletal disorders


What is an MRI used to assess?

MR imaging of the body is performed to evaluate:

  • Musculoskeletal System
    • knee
    • ankle
    • shoulder
    • spine – disc herniation, spinal stenosis, spinal tumors
    • soft tissue such as ligaments and tendons
  • Organs of the chest and abdomen—including:
    • heart
      • aorta
      • coronary artery disease
      • arteries
      • blood vessels
      • damage caused by heart attack or heart disease
    • liver
    • biliary tract
    • kidneys
    • spleen
    • bowel
    • pancreas
    • adrenal glands
  • Pelvic organs including the bladder and the reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries in females and the prostate gland in males.
  • Lymph nodes

Physicians use an MRI procedure to help examine and diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:

  • tumors of the chest, abdomen or pelvis
  • diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis, and abnormalities of the bile ducts and pancreas
  • inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • heart problems, such as congenital heart disease
  • malformations of the blood vessels and inflammation of the vessels (vasculitis)
  • tumors of the brain, developmental anomalies of the brain, vascular anomalies of the head (aneurysm)
  • disorders of the eye
  • disease in the pituitary gland
  • certain chronic disorders of the nervous system and causes of a headache

An MRI of the brain and other cranial structures is clearer and more detailed than other imaging methods.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer

An MRI is a valuable tool in the early detection of breast cancer. In the early diagnosis of breast cancer, MRI is an alternative to traditional x-ray mammography. At Peninsula Radiology Associates, an MRI of the breast helps us to gather information about many different breast conditions that are not obtainable through a mammography or ultrasound. Breast MRIs are a valuable supplemental tool, but are not a replacement for a yearly mammography or ultrasound.

At Peninsula Radiology, we deliver the most comprehensive range of medical diagnostic imaging and interventional radiological procedures available on the Virginia Peninsula. Peninsula Radiological Associates is affiliated with the highly esteemed Riverside Health System. This partnership allows for the greatest level of expertise, technology and service to our patients. Call today to schedule an appointment (757) 989-8830.

What is MSK?

Radiology Services Virginia The musculoskeletal system is the network of muscles and bones within the body. Injuries, conditions like arthritis, and other growth and degeneration problems can cause pain and disorders that cannot always be immediately identified externally. It is a musculoskeletal radiologist’s job to conduct medical imaging of the problem areas to figure out what, exactly, is going on.

Musculoskeletal problems can be the result of various circumstances, ranging from work accidents and sports injuries to genetics and lifestyle choices. Some of these problems include osteoarthritis of the knee, osteoporosis of the bones, and many other joint or muscle issues.

In order to accurately diagnose and treat Musculoskeletal Conditions, Peninsula Radiology offers a full spectrum of imaging services. Our radiologist utilize CTMRI, musculoskeletal ultrasound, bone biopsies and bone mineral density studies to effectively look inside of a patient’s body. Since musculoskeletal disorders and injuries affect bones and muscles specifically, this is where these kinds of radiologists focus their attention. Thanks to these technologies and our expert staff, we are able to diagnose a wide range of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our Musculoskeletal Imaging Radiologists work closely with our other departments to ensure that every diagnosis is accurate and that treatment plans for musculoskeletal conditions are the most effective available.

Conditions that fall in the range of Musculoskeletal Imaging include patients with the following:

  • Patients with disorders of the spine, upper & lower extremities
  • Arthritis
  • Cancers of the soft tissues & bones

For more than 50 years, Peninsula Radiological Associates has provided quality medical imaging services. Our team of board certified and fellowship-trained radiologists have over 200 years of combined experience.  As a team we deliver the most comprehensive range of medical diagnostic imaging and interventional radiological procedures available on the Virginia Peninsula.

At Peninsula Radiology, it is our goal to always utilize the least invasive technology for diagnosis. We only advance to more complex procedures when it is necessary. Call (757) 595-6363 or go online to schedule an appointment for imaging services. For more information on this topic, please visit

Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital Offers Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 4.22.20 PMRiverside Shore Memorial Hospital now offers ultrasound-guided breast biopsy to patients on the Eastern Shore. Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a quick, nonsurgical office procedure for obtaining tissue samples from suspicious breast abnormalities.

A suspicious area in the breast may be found by mammogram or may be large enough to be felt upon examination.  In order to determine if the mass is benign or malignant, a sample of the mass must be obtained.  Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses a hollow needle to obtain a tissue sample.

This method is a safe, effective and accurate way to diagnose breast problems, and in some instances is preferred over surgical biopsy.

“The procedure is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little or no scarring and can be performed in about an hour”, explained Dr. William Marshall, Medical Director of Radiology at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital.   “By offering this advanced procedure, we eliminate the need for Eastern Shore residents to travel to multiple centers to receive their diagnosis.  We have the capabilities right here, close to home.”

In ultrasound-guided biopsy, a radiologist will first numb the skin and the affected area of the breast with a local anesthetic.  Using radiation-free sound waves, the ultrasound device produces a real-time image of the mass inside the breast.  The image allows the radiologist to guide the needle to the exact spot of the mass.

The collected tissue sample will then be reviewed under a microscope by a pathologist to determine if the suspicious area is malignant or benign.  Because most breast masses are benign, this low-impact biopsy method is often the last procedure that is needed for a suspicious mass, and patients can avoid more invasive surgery.  Aftereffects of the biopsy are minor and might include slight bruising or bleeding;  most patients can resume normal activities in 24 hours.

“This advanced diagnostic technology lets us quickly and accurately diagnose conditions and diseases.  The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin,” stated Dr. Marshall.

Happy Nurses Week

Have you thanked your nurse today? Happy Nurses Week to all of our team at PRA! This week celebrates the hard work, dedication, and compassion that nurses provide daily to their patients everyday. Please show your appreciation for the nurses this week for their service to our all our patients! Happy Nurses Week

During National Nurses Week and throughout the year, Peninsula Radiology is proud to celebrate the role nurses play in delivering the highest level of quality care to our patients. The National Nurses Week 2015 theme “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” recognizes the importance of ethics in nursing and acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display in their practice and profession.

Our outstanding team of nurses includes Stephanie, Tammy, Kim, Sherry, Ana, Jennice, Julie, Lisa, Becky, Caron, Mary Ann, Heather, Chris, Leslie, Kendra, and Jeanette. To all of our amazing and dedicated nurses: Thank you.

Peninsula Radiology is grateful for all the hard work and compassion demonstrated by nurses everywhere, every day.