Diagnostic Imaging Services
Radiology uses imaging technology like X-rays, magnetic waves and ultrasound to scan the inside of the body and obtain images. Doctors in The Valley Health System can then use those images to detect and diagnose illnesses and injuries, as well as to help develop treatment plans.
Diagnostic Radiology (X-Ray)
X-ray (also called radiography) uses a very small dose of radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the most frequently used form of medical imaging and they are also the oldest. They are often used to help see bone fracture, injuries or infections; they are also used to locate foreign objects in soft tissue. In some cases, X-ray tests are used in conjunction with an iodine-based contrast material, which is swallowed, to help doctors see certain organs, blood vessels or tissue.
Interventional radiology includes procedures done by an interventional radiologist who uses image guidance methods to gain access to vessels and organs. Interventional radiologists can treat certain conditions through the skin (percutaneously) that might otherwise require surgery. The technology includes the use of balloons, catheters, microcatheters, stents and therapeutic embolization (deliberately clogging up a blood vessel).
Ultrasound or sonography, uses high frequency sound waves to see inside the body. A device that acts like a microphone and speaker is placed in contact with the body using ultrasound gel to transmit the sound. As the sound waves pass through the body, echoes are produced and bounce back to the transducer. These echoes can help doctors determine the location of a structure or abnormality, as well as information about its make up.
Ultrasound is a painless way to examine internal organs such as the heart, liver, blood vessels, breast, kidney or gallbladder, and is most commonly known for its ability to examine a fetus in the mother’s womb.
Ultrasound is a noninvasive, non-radiation examination that uses sound waves to detect disease and locate possible abnormalities in breast tissue. Ultrasound systems are designed to provide doctors with precise images for efficient diagnosis of breast problems, such as getting diagnostic images to detect breast cancer. The system enables the physician to perform high-resolution panoramic imaging or 3D scanning in real time.
Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging test that creates detailed images of internal organs, bones and tissue. The images generated during a CT scan can be reformatted into three-dimensional images viewed on a computer monitor, printed out or transferred to other media.
For example, Henderson Hospital uses a 64-slice scanner, as well as a four-slice scanner for CT examinations. Each time the scanner rotates around a patient's body, it uses low radiation X-rays to create four or 64 high-resolution slices (images). Because the scanner circles a patient's body about four times every second, patients lie inside of the CT machine for two to three minutes.
Like CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces images that are the visual equivalent of a slice of anatomy. MRI, however, is also capable of producing those images in an infinite number of projections through the body. MRI uses a large magnet that surrounds the patient, radio frequencies and a computer to produce its images.
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose disease. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones, or tissues.
The radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by gamma cameras. These cameras work in conjunction with computers to form images that provide data and information about the area of the body being imaged. The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray.
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If you need a referral to a physician at The Valley Health System, call our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888 or search for a doctor online.