From standard x-rays to 128-slice CT scans, JRMC’s advanced imaging services bring clarity to diagnosis and treatment plans by letting us see inside the human body.
An X-ray is an energetic form of electromagnetic radiation that can produce pictures from inside the human body. A machine focuses a small amount of radiation on the area to be examined, and the X-rays pass through the body. For some types of X-ray tests, a contrast medium — such as iodine or barium — is introduced into your body to provide greater detail on the images. It is a quick and painless way to examine many parts of the body including bones and teeth, as well as areas of the chest and the abdomen. Conditions that can be diagnosed include fractures and infections, arthritis, osteoporosis, bone cancer, lung infections, an enlarged heart, blocked blood vessels, digestive tract issues and breast cancer.
Computed Tomography, or CT, is a special x-ray procedure that creates multiple pictures of organs, bones and other tissues in a thin “slice”. The series of pictures produced in CT comes together like a loaf of sliced bread; you can look at each slice individually (2-dimensional pictures), or you can look at the whole loaf (a 3-dimensional picture CT is widely used to help diagnose coronary artery disease as well as blood vessel aneurysms and blood clots; spinal conditions; kidney and bladder stones; abscesses; inflammatory diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and sinusitis; and injuries to the head, skeletal system, and internal organs.
Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening
Heavy smokers who have quit in the last 15 years, can now take advantage of a screening CT to look for early signs of lung cancer. The examination uses much less radiation than a usual CT because only the lungs need to be seen well. This is different than a conventional CT scan, where enough radiation is used to see other structures in the chest like major blood vessels and bone. Lung cancer screening with Low Dose CT has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in patients at high risk, and cases of lung cancer found by Low Dose screening is often at an earlier stage of the disease. There are limitations on eligibility, so ask your physician if you are a candidate.
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Many times it produces detailed information that can’t been found through x-ray, ultrasound or CT. An MRI can find problems in organs, bones, joints, blood vessels, optic nerves, auditory nerves and the spine.
Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body. Radio waves cause these aligned atoms to produce very faint signals, which are used to create cross-sectional MRI images — once again, like slices in a loaf of bread. MRI is a noninvasive way for your doctor to examine your organs, tissues and skeletal system. JRMC now offers several new MRI services that make the testing experience more accurate and easier for the patient.
- The MAGiC multi-contrast MRI technique allows the user to generate multiple image contrasts in a single scan. With conventional MRI imaging generating these contrasts takes a separate scan lasting several minutes for each type of contrast. MAGiC greatly decreases the amount of time needed for image acquisition by combining them all in one scan that lasts only a little longer than each one of the conventional scans.
- The Ready Brain MRI technique provides the flexibility to completely automate the brain exam. This technique assist the technologist by positioning the slices of the scan to allow faster scanning and reproducibility, which can be very helpful with following tumors or other brain abnormalities.
- The Caring Suite MRI is the ultimate in patient comfort and imaging excellence. The opening of the machine is larger than most and each patient can customize the experience to his or her own personal preference. They can select lighting color in the room, music (if they wish) and even bring a movie from home, as well as which scenes to watch on the display screen, reducing anxiety and making the patient more relaxed.
Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer. It plays a central role in early detection because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before the patient or physician can feel them.
JRMC now utilizes 3D Mammography, an advanced form of breast imaging where multiple images of the breast are captured from different angles and reconstructed into a three dimensional image, much like CT imaging. These tests result in improved detection rates, clearer images with dense breast tissue and greater accuracy in pinpointing the size, shape and location of breast abnormalities.
This imaging specialty uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers that are injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed. The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and creates gamma rays, which are detected by a special camera and computer to create images of the inside of your body. Nuclear medicine determines the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone. This is how nuclear medicine differs from an x-ray, ultrasound or any other diagnostic test that determines the presence of disease based on structural appearance.
Positron Emission Tomography, or a PET Scan, is a test that shows how effectively your tissues and organs are functioning. A special dye with radioactive tracers is injected into your body, and it lights up in areas with higher levels of chemical activity – areas that are frequently diseased. PET Scans are often used in patients with cancer, heart disease and brain disorders. The PET scan can also measure blood flow, oxygen use, how your body uses sugar, and much more.
Ultrasound is a safe and painless imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Most people think of ultrasound in relation to pregnancy, but it is also used to help guide biopsies, diagnose heart conditions, assess damage following a heart attack and find the cause of pain and infection in the body.
A small transducer is attached to the body with gel, and high-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel and into the body. Ultrasound images are captured in real time, showing structure and movement of the internal organs as well as blood flowing through vessels.
This is another non-invasive exam that is used to examine the circulation in the blood vessels of the body. Sounds waves are transmitted through the tissue of the area being examined, and reflect off of the blood cells within the blood vessels before returning to the ultrasound machine. The speed of the sound waves reflects the speed of blood flow in the vessel, and if the blood flow is too slow, it indicates a blockage.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects abnormalities in brain waves, or in the electrical activity of the brain. During the procedure, electrodes consisting of small metal discs with thin wires are pasted onto the scalp. The electrodes detect tiny electrical charges that result from the activity of the brain cells. The charges are amplified and appear as a graph on a computer screen, or as a recording that may be printed out on paper. EEG is used to evaluate several types of brain disorders, such epilepsy. People with lesions of their brain, which can result from tumors or stroke, may have unusually slow EEG waves, depending on the size and the location of the lesion. The test can also be used to diagnose other disorders that influence brain activity, such as Alzheimer’s disease, certain psychoses, and a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.
An NCV, or Nerve Conduction Velocity test, measures how fast electrical impulses move through nerves. During the test, the nerve is stimulated, usually with electrode patches attached to the skin. Two electrodes are placed on the skin over the nerve. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse and the other electrode records it. The resulting electrical activity is recorded by another electrode. This is repeated for each nerve being tested. An NCV test can identify a number of diseases and nerve conditions.