Diagnostic imaging lets doctors look inside your body for clues about a medical condition. A variety of machines and techniques create pictures of the inside your body. The type of imaging your doctor requests depends on your symptoms and the part of your body being examined. At HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, we offer a variety of imaging services to help your doctor determine the best treatment plan. And, with support from the board-certified diagnostic radiologists at Green Bay Radiology, you can be sure your test will be of the best quality.
Imaging Services is staffed by board-certified diagnostic radiologists of Green Bay Radiology, several of whom have added qualifications in vascular and interventional radiology. Green Bay Radiology physicians include fellowship trained radiologists in Neuroradiology, Vascular Interventional Radiology, Musculoskeletal Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, MRI, and Body Imaging (CT/US/MRI fellowship). Our department staff includes technologists registered in mammography, diagnostic ultrasound, nuclear medicine, CT, and support staff.
CT scan (computerized tomography)
CT scan is usually done to diagnose an infection, identify masses and tumors, and helps study blood vessels. It also guides a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy.
During this test, the patient lies in a doughnut-shaped machine that takes pictures of the body. The scanner is used in combination with a digital computer to create "slices" of different organs of the body, making it possible to detect diseases sooner than with a regular X-ray.
To prepare for a CT scan:
Wear loose, comfortable clothing free of metal snaps and zippers, if possible. When you arrive, you will be asked to remove metallic jewelry, watches, hair pins, hearing aids, removable dental work and glasses if they are in the area being scanned.
If you are having a CT scan of the abdominal area, you may need to drink a liquid contrast. This will be given to you, with instruction, in advance. You may be asked to not eat or drink anything for four hours before your scan. Your health care provider will instruct you which medications, if any, cannot be taken.
The scan typically takes 30 minutes or less. You will be asked to hold very still in specific positions as instructed by a technologist. You may be asked to hold your breath during some scans to reduce blurring on the images. If your scan requires the use of a contrast, you may be given another contrast material during the scan by IV injection. This may make you feel warm inside, but the sensation only lasts a few moments and is not painful. After the scan, you will be asked to drink plenty of fluids.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
An MRI is a non-invasive and painless procedure in which radio waves and powerful magnets linked to a computer are used to create remarkably clear and detailed pictures. MRI scanners are well suited to image the non-bony parts or soft tissues of the body. It is often used for disease detection, diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The brain, spinal cord and nerves, as well as muscles, ligaments, and tendons are seen much more clearly with MRI than with regular X and CT; for this reason MRI is often used to image knee and shoulder injuries.
To prepare for an MRI:
An MRI may be performed through clothing but, for your safety, you may be asked to put on a patient gown for the test. Clothing with metal or pockets will not be allowed in the scanning room. Certain types of metal in the area being scanned can cause significant errors, called artifacts, in the images. It is important that metal objects are not brought into the scanning room. You will be asked to remove your jewelry, watch, hairpins, bobby pins and hearing aids. A typical exam lasts between 30 to 60 minutes for each body area being scanned. You should allow extra time because the exam may last longer than expected.
The magnet makes a “knocking” sound as images are being taken. In between scans, the machine is quiet. The MRI technologist will provide you with either ear plugs or headphones for you to listen to music during your exam.
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is a test that can help show how your tissues and organs are working. This test uses a small amount of a radioactive tracer, allowing the radiologist to see the area more clearly. A Computed Tomography (CT ) scan uses a series of X-ray views, taken from many different angles, to look at images of your bones and soft tissue. When used together we can find tumors throughout the body, both cancerous and non-cancerous.
To prepare for a PET/CT scan:
When you arrive for your appointment, we will review your history and any past exams. For the PET portion of the exam, you will receive a tracer material injection. For most studies, you will wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself in your body, typically 45 minutes to an hour. You are asked to relax and no reading or TV is permitted. Then, during the exam, you will lie very still on a comfortable table that will move slowly through the scanner as it acquires the information needed to generate diagnostic images. The PET/CT scan itself should last about 45 minutes, but the exam procedure can vary depending on what we are looking for and what we discover along the way. Plan to spend two to three hours with us.
Interventional radiology uses imaging such as CT, ultrasound and X-ray to help guide minimally invasive procedures such as inserting catheters, wires, and other small instruments and tools into your body. Doctors use this technology to diagnose or treat conditions instead of using a scope (camera) or with surgery. Interventional radiologists are often involved in treating cancers or tumors, blockages in the arteries and veins, fibroids in the uterus, back pain, liver problems and kidney problems.
Interventional procedures often carry less risk, require smaller incisions and take less recovery time than surgery. These procedures are done by board-certified radiologists, doctors with advanced training in minimally invasive treatments that use imaging guidance. Preparation for this scan varies by patient based on the test being conducted. To learn more, visit http://www.greenbayradiology.com/.
Ultrasound is a type of imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. It serves many purposes such as viewing a baby during pregnancy, helping to diagnose a variety of conditions, helping to assess organ damage following an illness, and it is used to help evaluate symptoms such as pain, swelling and infection. Ultrasound is also used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies.
During an ultrasound, you lie on an examination table and a clear gel is applied to the areas of the body being studied. This helps the transducer make firm contact with your body. It is then moved back and forth over the area of interest and uses high frequency sound waves to obtain images.
X-ray, commonly referred to as radiography, uses ionizing radiation to provide images of the body. Radiography is used in many ways to diagnose disease and injuries. Some common exams are X-rays, GI fluoroscopy exams and joint injections (arthrograms). Preparation for this scan varies by patient based on the test being conducted.
Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of, or treat, a variety of diseases, including cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, skeletal and other abnormalities within the body.
With ordinary X-ray, an image is created by passing X-rays through the body. In contrast, nuclear medicine procedures use a radioactive material, called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer, which is injected into the bloodstream, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. This radioactive material accumulates in the organ or area of the body being examined, where it gives off a small amount of energy in the form of gamma rays. Special cameras detect this energy and produce detailed pictures on both the structure and function of organs and tissues in the body.
Scanning can begin immediately after injection, or be delayed for several hours or even days. Scan time also varies, with some scans as short as 30 minutes and others several hours. Preparation for nuclear medicine exams varies, so instructions should be reviewed and followed carefully for each exam.
We offer comprehensive breast health services within the hospital, and our digital mammography program is accredited by the American College of Radiology. Find more information, here.