Posts Tagged ‘Peninsula Radiology Associates’

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!

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.

 

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!

 

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.

Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy Hampton Roads, VAAt Peninsula Radiology Associates, one of the procedures our interventional radiologists rely upon to properly diagnose and treat patients is called fluoroscopy. We use it many times daily in taking care of patients referred to us for radiologic testing and procedures.

What Is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a vitally important imaging technique used to track the progress of a contrast dye. It is a form of diagnostic radiology that allows moving body structures to be examined via X-ray through the use of fluoroscope and a contrast agent. For doctors and technicians, its images are constantly viewed on a monitor as a kind of moving X-ray.

Fluoroscopic exams are used as diagnostic tools for a number of common medical problems. Some of its uses include:

  • To visualize gastrointestinal issues, a patient may be asked to swallow barium, or a similar contrast material. Once the barium has been ingested, an imaging technician uses fluoroscopy to track the progress of the barium through the patient’s system or pain areas and spot potential problems in real time.
  • In placing cardiac stents and inserting and manipulating catheters for embolization — stopping excessive or traumatic blood flow — and other procedures, physicians rely on fluoroscopy to see exactly where to place them and verify they have been properly placed.
  • Cardiac physicians utilize fluoroscopy to obtain precise images of the heart, veins, and arteries. They also use it to spot potential trouble areas, including narrowed blood vessels and arterial blockages.
  • Some other indications for fluoroscopy exams include: small bowel series; barium enemas; hysterosalpingograms; intravenous pyelograms; voiding cystourethrography; myelograms; arthrograms; biopsies; lumbar punctures; facet injections; orthopedic procedures (such as manipulation of broken bones in fracture reduction); and insertion of implants and checking appropriate position and realignment.

What To Expect During a Fluoroscopy Procedure?

The contrast agent — which allows the image to be viewed when x-rayed — will be introduced into the body via swallowing, injection, or an enema.

  • In general, you will be asked to lie or stand between an X-ray machine and a fluorescent screen after putting on a hospital gown.
  • An intravenous (IV) line may be started in your arm; or a catheter may be inserted.
  • An X-ray scanner produces fluoroscopic images of the body part being examined.
  • The procedure itself is generally painless.

The Benefits of Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy causes very little risk to patients. The amount of radiation exposure in fluoroscopy is quite minimal.

Additionally, using fluoroscopy is much safer than attempting the multiple procedures in which it is used without its value of real-time, moving images for physicians and technicians. For example, attempting to place a cardiac stent without fluoroscopy would be very risky to the patient, and the procedure would take much longer.

Fluoroscopic equipment and safety measures help reduce the risks associated with the procedure by incorporating:

  • Increased X-ray filtration to reduce the possibility of radiation injuries during long procedures
  • Displays of the duration, rate, and cumulative amount of radiation exposure patients receive
  • Tighter controls on the size of the X-ray field to reduce the amount of radiation that falls outside the image target area

Please contact us at Peninsula Radiology Associates at (757) 989-8830 to set up an appointment and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding fluoroscopy or the many other procedures we use daily. Doctors throughout the Peninsula rely on us — partnering with the Riverside Hospital System — to provide them with extremely accurate test results, and our clients appreciate our patient-centered philosophy.