Posts Tagged ‘PRA’

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.

 

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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!

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.

 

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!

 

Season’s Greetings from Peninsula Radiology

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays from our family to yours, at Peninsula Radiology!pra holiday