Posts Tagged ‘Peninsula Radiological Associates’

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.

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 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.

 

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.

 

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.

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!

 

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.

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!