Posts Tagged ‘local radiologists’

Interventional Radiology

Interventional RadiologyOperations can be scary to even think about. While operations are effective at solving problems, many people tend to prefer a less invasive method of treatment. That’s where interventional radiology comes into play. 

Using their expert skills, interventional radiologists use x-rays, ultrasounds, and other medical imaging to guide small instruments — such as catheters — through blood vessels or other pathways in order to treat disease through the skin. This method is far less invasive and less costly. Of course, this method of treatment is still effective.

There are many uses for interventional radiology, and we will cover a few of them here.

Angiography: An X-ray exam of the arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems.

Chemoembolization: This method delivers cancer-fighting agents directly to the tumor.

Gastrostomy Tube: For people who are unable to eat through their mouth, this gastrostomy tube is inserted into the stomach instead.

Needle Biopsy: The needle biopsy is an alternative to a surgical biopsy and is a diagnostic test for various cancers, such as breast and lung cancer. 

Stent: Stents are tubular supports and are generally inserted into a blood vessel, duct, or canal in order to help the healing process or fix an obstruction.

Thrombolysis: A blood-clot killer, the thrombolysis injects drugs at the site of the clot, which then dissolves the clot.

These are just a few of the ways interventional radiology works to help make your treatment even easier. Of course, there are other methods that benefit from interventional radiology as well; this is a sample of what radiologists can do with this technology.

At Peninsula Radiology, we are pleased to be able to provide interventional radiology at our Riverside Regional Medical Center location. If you are interested in any of these procedures, please schedule an appointment by calling (757) 989-8830. We look forward to seeing you!

Early Screenings for Early Lung Cancer Detection

Early Screenings for Early Lung Cancer DetectionGenerally, chest x-rays are used to diagnose patients who already show signs of lung cancer. Many times, the disease has already reached an advanced stage by the time it is discovered. However, patients at high risk for lung cancer can now get early detection screenings which will help discover any signs of lung cancer before symptoms develop.

Who Is High Risk?

There are a few factors that come into play when deciding who is a candidate for lung screenings. In order to be considered, the patient must meet the following requirements:

  • Current or former smoker
  • AND in the age group from 55 to 74 years
  • AND with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (this means one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.)

Other factors may come into play, and the risk of lung cancer is different for every person, so be sure to discuss early screenings with your doctor.

The Process

The screening process is fast–just a few seconds is all it takes. In order to acquire the most accurate image, patients are asked to hold their breath while the x-ray is taken. Following the x-ray, the patient will meet with a specialist to review the screening. If the result is negative, it is recommended to go in for another screening once a year for the next two years. Also, it is highly recommended to quit smoking during that time (or before, for that matter). If the result of the screening is positive, additional tests or follow-ups will be required to determine if it is lung cancer or another problem altogether.

Screening is not a substitute for quitting smoking. The most effective way anyone can reduce their risk of lung cancer is to avoid tobacco. Riverside offers Smokeless®, a program to help people quit smoking on the Peninsula. For information and help to quit smoking, call Holly Hicks at (757) 875-7533.

 

Visit us online to schedule an appointment near you!

Ultrasounds: What They Are and When You Should Get One

Ultrasounds: What They Are and When You Should Get OneUltrasounds are used for more than just pregnancy, although that tends to be what most people associate it with. Here, we will discuss ultrasounds and learn what they’re used for, and when we may or may not recommend one.

The ultrasound scan

Sonography (more commonly known as an ultrasound scan), captures images of what is inside a person’s body. Consider a bat or dolphin that uses echolocation to “see” their surroundings. In similar fashion, an ultrasound emits a noise too high pitched for humans to hear, and then records the echoes to determine the shape of organs and soft tissues. This allows for a clear look inside the body without needing an incision.

What do doctors use ultrasounds for?

Ultrasounds look for a variety of things. One of which is pregnancy, of which you’re most likely already aware. During pregnancy, the doctor can see how an unborn baby is progressing. Also, some health issues can be discovered in this manner. For many parents, the sex of the baby can be discovered through use of ultrasound.

But it’s more than just for pregnancy, as mentioned. An ultrasound can detect health problems in a host of internal organs, including:

    • gallbladder
    • kidneys
    • liver
    • ovaries
    • uterus
    • pancreas
    • spleen
    • thyroid
    • testicles
    • bladder
    • eyes
    • heart
    • blood vessels

Some medical procedures also use ultrasound to help in precision, such as needle biopsies.

Advantages of ultrasound imagery

One of the biggest advantages of ultrasounds is that they allow the doctor to see inside a patient without having to make an incision. Ultrasounds are also safe, and do not emit radiation. While x-rays excel at capturing images of bones, they struggle in detecting soft tissues. Ultrasounds do well at capturing images of soft tissues, which is another perk. Finally, ultrasounds are less expensive than other imaging techniques.

Disadvantages of ultrasounds

As with most things, there are a few drawbacks to using an ultrasound. For example, certain areas of the body cannot be imaged using this process. This includes bones and organs where gas is present, such as the lungs. While ultrasounds are great at getting images where x-rays cannot, these images aren’t as detailed, and can sometimes lead to misleading images due to this. The disadvantages are minimal, however, and your doctor will be able to help you understand if this method is best for you.

 

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. Visit us online for a map to one of our seven locations.

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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!

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.

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!

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.

 

The Musculoskeletal System Explained

musculoskeletalThe 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 identified with a physical exam. It is a musculoskeletal radiologist’s job to conduct medical imaging of the problem areas to figure out what is happening to your body.

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