Posts Tagged ‘best radiologist in Hampton Roads’

What are the Differences Between a CT Scan and MRI?

What are the Differences Between a CT Scan and MRI?If your doctor requests an advanced imaging scan to aid in making a diagnosis, two of the most common tests requested are the CT Scan and MRI. Let’s take a look at how each of these tests show cross-sectional pictures of the body using different techniques.

CT stands for computerized tomography. This scan uses multiple x-rays that are taken at different angles in order to produce a cross-sectional image. 

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. Here a combination of magnetic fields and radio frequencies are used, so the MRI scanner can generate a 3D image of the part of the body being examined. 

Both of these techniques can be used to examine the same parts of the body, and the choice of which one should be used is based on the possible diagnosis. In general, CT scans are used for diagnosing serious injuries to the head, chest, spine, abdomen, and pelvis, and are helpful when trying to determine if fractures are involved. In contrast, the MRI does a better job of diagnosing issues in joints, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues. MRIs are often used to scan the brain, spine, neck, breast, abdomen, and muscles. 

 

Differences between a CT Scan and MRI

  • Radiation – CT scans use X-ray technology so minimal radiation exposure is present. CT scans are not usually used during pregnancy for this reason. MRI’s do not involve radiation.
  • Cost – CT scans are usually less expensive than MRI tests.
  • Time for Procedure – CT scans are done fairly quickly. Most CT scans take around 5 minutes to complete. MRI’s can range from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the part of the body that is being examined.
  • Patient comfort – CT scans are done in an open machine so concerns about being in a small space are rarely an issue. MRI’s are traditionally done in a narrow tube, and can sometimes cause anxiety. Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine has an open MRI machine to help with concerns about anxiety if MRI is the best choice for the diagnosis. 
  • Limitations – The table used in CT scans accommodate approximately 300 pounds, so if a larger table is required, a patient may need to go to a facility with appropriate equipment. MRI machines with the conventional tube design may also have limitations based on the size of the patient. Open MRI machines would be an alternative option. In addition, MRI machines utilize magnetic fields during the scan so patients with certain metal objects implanted in the body (e.g. pacemakers, rods, some prosthetic joints, and even certain tattoos) may prevent the use of MRI tests.

 

Your doctor will discuss the type of test that they are considering to make the diagnosis. If you have any questions or concerns please share that with your specialist. Schedule an appointment at one of our seven locations!

The Importance of Regular Breast Cancer Screenings

breast cancer screenings

Cancer is a heartbreaking illness that is very difficult to treat and incredibly painful to go through. Based on 2010-2012 data, 39.6% of Americans are diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime. There are several forms of cancer that can develop many different ways, and a few ways to take breast cancer screenings.

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that develops from breast tissue. It is most common in women over the age of 40 but also affects younger women as well. Men also have a risk of developing breast cancer, although the rate of breast cancer seen in men is far lower than the rate of breast cancer seen in women. In the United States, less than 5 percent of women with breast cancer are younger than 40. Breast cancer rates are highest among women over the age of 70. With any form of cancer, it is better to detect the problem earlier on before it escalates further and becomes harder to treat.

There are several ways to check if breast cancer is present. One way to check yourself for breast cancer is to do a self-examination once a month. Self-examination is the process of an individual looking for physical or visual changes in the breasts. To do a self-examination, your breasts should be dry and there should be no lotions or other similar products on your fingers. Find a comfortable couch or bed and lay down flat on your back. Use the pads, not the tips, of your index, middle, and ring fingers. Start from the outer areas of the breast and work your way towards the center, carefully feeling for any lumps that might exist. If you feel anything, do not panic, for many of these lumps turn out to be non-cancerous.

Self-examinations are just one way to check for breast cancer, but the best and most effective way to screen yourself for breast cancer is by making an appointment with your doctor and scheduling a mammogram or breast ultrasound. Even if no lumps are felt by the self-examination, women over the age of 40 should schedule these breast cancer screenings regularly. Always keep an eye on your health and be sure to check with your doctor if you come across anything concerning. The best way to fight cancer is to detect it early.

Peninsula Radiology urges you to do a monthly breast self exam.  If you or a family member require guidance to find a qualified breast health specialist in your area, please contact one of our seven locations for help.  

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!

Concussions

concussionA concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Concussions are a concern for young athletes in sports that involve contact. Signs and symptoms generally show up soon after the injury. However, you may not know how serious the injury is at first and some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. Monitoring an injured child or adult is essential to recognizing symptoms that require medical care.  Diagnosing a concussion through the appropriate imaging testing, such as those done at Peninsula Radiology, is the most accurate form of diagnosis.

 

Common Causes of Concussion

There are many ways to get a concussion. Some common ways include

  • fights
  • falls
  • playground injuries
  • car accidents
  • bike accidents
  • Participating in any sport or activity such as:
    • football
    • soccer
    • boxing
    • hockey
    • skiing
    • snowboarding

 

Symptoms of a Concussion

It is not always easy to tell if you have a concussion. You don’t have to pass out (lose consciousness) to have a concussion. Symptoms of a concussion range from mild to severe and can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. If you notice any symptoms of a concussion, contact your doctor. Physical symptoms of a concussion include:

 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache and pressure in head
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Balance problems
  • Feeling tired or having no energy

 

How is a concussion diagnosed?

You need to see a doctor if you have sustained an injury or blow to the head and are showing symptoms of a concussion. If a doctor thinks that you have a concussion, he or she will ask questions about the injury. Your doctor may test your reflexes and order a CT Scan or an MRI to make sure the brain is not swelling, bleeding or bruised.

 

Treatment for a Concussion

The treatment for a concussion involves resting and abstaining from all physical activity until your doctor has determined it is safe. Rest is the best way to recover from a concussion. Getting plenty of sleep and avoiding activities that are mentally and physically demanding will hasten your recovery rate.

 

Preventing Concussions

Experts agree that the best ways to prevent concussion are to:

  • Play by the rules. Teaching young athletes to respect and follow the rules of their sport is part of good coaching.
  • Wear the appropriate equipment for your sport and wear it properly. Always close a chin strap if your sport requires a helmet; many concussions occur during practice.
  • Examine the playing field for uneven areas or holes.
  • Make certain that goal posts are padded sufficiently.
  • Practice good sportsmanship. Teaching good sportsmanship is part of good coaching and good parenting; minimizing unnecessary aggression on the field.
  • Learn and use proper technique for your sport. Some sports organizations have taken additional action to minimize the risk of concussion by limiting the number of contact practices allowed during the season.

If you’ve suffered any of the above causes of concussion and are showing symptoms, it is vitally important to seek medical care.  Peninsula Radiology’s team of highly trained imaging professionals and medical providers are able to diagnose concussion after a thorough review of imaging tests.  Contact us at (757) 989-8830 for more information.

 

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.

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 Nuclear Medicine and How is it Used?

Nuclear MedicineAt Peninsula Radiology Associates, one of our core beliefs is that our patients deserve to know in detail about any radiologic procedures or scans they or their loved ones plan to have at one of our facilities. This month, we focus on exactly what “nuclear medicine” is and how it is used by doctors to diagnose and treat patients.

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty which uses radioactive “tracers,” also known as radiopharmaceuticals, to evaluate the status of bodily functions and to diagnose and treat disease. It is safe and painless.

The term “radiopharmaceutical” refers to the combination of medicine (a pharmaceutical) attached to a small quantity of radioactive material (a radioisotope) introduced into your body in order to facilitate scanning. Which radiopharmaceutical will be used depends upon your procedure, but all are FDA-approved.

Radiopharmaceuticals can be injected into a vein, inhaled as a gas or swallowed. The radiotracer gives off gamma radiation as it decays, allowing a gamma camera to scan the radiation area and create a moving image which details, for example, your gastrointestinal system as it processes the radiopharmaceutical through your body. Your particular radiopharmaceutical is designed to go to a specific place in your body where disease or an abnormality may be suspected.

Gamma cameras, placed a few inches from your body, do not transmit any radiation to patients, unlike other imaging devices such at computed tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They are silent, not rattling noisily as some scanning machines do. Nuclear medicine imaging carries no risk of long-term radiation exposure.

Nuclear medicine procedures often can identify abnormalities quite early in the progression of a disease. This early detection allows a disease to be treated sooner rather than later, when a more successful prognosis is likely. Radiologists can make diagnoses based on the way patients’ bodies are known to handle substances in the “health” state versus the “disease” state.

Nuclear medicine can be used for many diagnostic functions, including:

  • Identifying abnormal lesions deep within the body without exploratory surgery.
  • Determining whether or not certain organs are functioning normally: whether your heart is adequately pumping blood; whether your brain is receiving an adequate blood supply; and whether your brain cells are functioning normally.
  • Evaluating your kidneys for normal function, and discerning whether your stomach is emptying properly.
  • Determining your blood volume, lung function, vitamin absorption and/or bone density.
  • Identifying the sites of seizures.
  • Finding cancers, determining how they respond to treatment and determining whether infected bones will heal.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at Peninsula Radiology Associates if you have any questions or concerns regarding your nuclear medicine procedure. To schedule an appointment with us at any of our seven convenient locations, please call (757) 989-8830. Don’t worry; at PRA, you are always in good hands!

Peninsula Radiology Associates Features Dr. Valentine Curran

Meet Dr. CurranMeet Dr. Valentine Curran M.D.

Dr. Valentine Curran is Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiologist with special interest in the areas of body imaging and musculoskeletal.

 

Education

Dr. Curran is passionate about the role of radiology in patient care. He enjoys interacting everyday with his fellow PRA radiologists and Riverside physicians to improve the health of patients throughout the Virginia Peninsula. Dr. Curran achieved the following degrees and doctorates:

 

  • B.S., University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
  • M.D., Georgetown School of Medicine, Washington, DC with Honors
  • Surgery Internship, Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA
  • Radiology Residency, Bethesda Naval Medical Center/Walter Reed Medical Center, Chief Resident

 

Experience/Accomplishments

After a surgical internship at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, he completed a tour as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon with Marine Prowler squadron VMAQ-2. During this tour, he earned an Air Medal while deployed overseas twice for combat operations in the Bosnia and Kosovo Conflicts.

 

He completed his radiology residency at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center/Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he served as Chief Resident and was awarded “Resident of the Year”.

 

He then served as attending radiologist at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth where he was an adjunct professor of radiology for USUHS, and was awarded “Teacher of the Year”. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he provided radiology interpretations for Allied forces in Kuwait, and southern Iraq, earning a Navy and Army Commendation Medal.  After 12 years of military service, he joined Peninsula Radiology Associates in July, 2007.

 

Patient Testimonial

“I recently had to have a study done at the hospital. I was an add-on patient later in the day, and my study actually ended up carrying over into the next shift. All of the staff I dealt with were incredibly professional, friendly, and comforting. Dr. Curranwas so compassionate and caring. He asked me questions about my symptoms so he could make sure all possibly causes were evaluated to ensure I had the best study possible. He explained what he was doing and then took the time to answer my questions to the best of his ability at the time. Everyone and everything was so efficient, my referring doctor had the results for his review the next morning. I appreciate the time Dr. Curran took with me and the way he made me feel like I was the only patient he had to deal with, when in fact, he had several. I have no doubt each and every patient felt the same way I did and that is because of Dr. Curran’s exceptional bedside manner.”- Diane Forbes

 

Outside the Office

Dr. Curran lives in Williamsburg with his beautiful wife and two daughters who keep him smiling, laughing, and always on the go.

 

At Peninsula Radiology, it is our goal to utilize the latest in diagnostic technology and the least invasive procedure. Call (757) 595-6363 or go online to schedule an appointment for imaging services.

 

A Radiologist’s Vital Role in Cancer Care

mammography screeningDid you know that in addition to reading X-rays, radiologist do so much more? The field of radiology is the cornerstone of the healthcare industry. In fact, it is vital for the first diagnosis of many diseases and illnesses, such as cancer. Radiology plays an important part in monitoring a patient’s treatment and potential outcome.

Radiology’s Role in Cancer Care

Radiology directly impacts the care of a cancer patient. Cancer patients undergo a variety of different scans throughout the course of their treatment, including MRIs, CT and PET scans, and x-rays. A radiologist will review these scans and inform oncologists if the current treatment is either helping or not beneficial to the patient. If the current treatment is not effective, a radiologist, along with an oncologist, will recommend a different course of treatment.

Radiation Therapy

About 60% of cancer patients undergo radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Radiation therapy is an important part of cancer treatment. Radiologists, who specialize in developing radiation treatment plans, use an individualized approach for each patient. Radiation therapy may be used:

  • To help destroy cancer cells.
  • In conjunction with chemotherapy to stop cancer cell growth.
  • Before other treatments, such as surgery to shrink the size of a tumor.
  • After another treatment to stop growth of more cancer cells.
  • To relieve symptoms of an advanced cancer.

How Peninsula Radiology Associates Can Help

A cancer diagnosis is frightening for all people involved. At Peninsula Radiology, we understand the fears and reservations you may have of the unknown. During this time, you can be assured that Peninsula Radiology utilizes the latest in diagnostic technology and the least invasive procedure. Call (757) 594-2911 or go online to schedule an appointment for imaging services. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, contact us to discuss your options with a radiologist who specializes in cancer treatment.