Diagnostic Imaging Department
DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING DEPARTMENT
One of the most impressive advancements in modern medicine is our ability to use diagnostic imaging around the clock to diagnose health problems. The Diagnostic Imaging Department (formerly Radiology) at Fishermen’s Hospital offers MRI, multi-slice CT scans, diagnostic X-Rays, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, nuclear medicine and digital mammography for inpatient, outpatient and emergency patients. The department is staffed by a registered Radiologic Technologist 24 hours a day. Our Radiologist is Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology. She is onsite Monday-Friday during normal working hours. On weekends and after hours, Radiologist interpretations are available through our partnership with Optimal Radiology, who provides readings via Tele-Radiology Network, also Board Certified Radiologists.
Fishermen’s Community Hospital’s multi-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner helps doctors know what is really going on inside you. This advance x-ray technique allows your doctor and radiologist to view bones, organs, and blood vessels in extraordinarily fine detail. This information aids doctors in diagnosing a wide variety of conditions earlier and faster than ever before. The multi-slice CT scanner works much like the traditional CT scanning machines, but with improved speed and image quality.
With the multi-slice CT scanner, procedures that used to take 10 minutes or more to perform now take about 60 seconds. The ultra-fast scanning is especially beneficial in trauma situations and treating critically ill patients. The high number of “slices” results in detail so fine that technologists can now produce images of the body, which show details such as wrinkles in a patient’s skin. All this takes place in multi-colored 3-D images.
Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat disease and other abnormalities within the body. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are non-invasive and usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer.
Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, the radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed by mouth or inhaled as a gas and eventually collects in the area of your body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera.
This device works together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts. The radioactive material is naturally excreted from the body and is not dangerous.
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. An x-ray (radiograph) is a painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
The Mammopad is a new device that is used at Fishermen’s Community Hospital to increase patient comfort during a Mammogram. Medical experts recommend that women 40 and over receive annual screening mammograms. Yet many women do not follow this recommendation, often out of fear of discomfort or pain. The MammoPad, a soft foam cushion, eliminates the icy-cold discomfort women feel during a mammogram. The cushion is placed on the surface of the image detector, providing women with a softer, more comfortable surface. Clinical studies have proven that three out of four women experience noticeable increase in comfort with the MammoPad. Fishermen’s mammography is accredited by LINK FDA Mammography Quality Standards ActLINK Search for accredited mammography center.
Plain radiographs are often called “plain X rays” – but you can’t see the X-rays, only the images created by them. Radiographs can be produced using a variety of imaging methods, and they all require exposing the patient to X-ray radiation. The image or picture is basically a shadow of the parts of the patient that absorb or block the X-Rays. The image can be collected on photosensitive film, on a digital imaging plate, or seen “live” on a fluoroscope – sort of like an X-ray TV camera. The radiographic image is a “photographic negative” of the object – the “shadows” are white regions (where the X-rays were blocked by the object). The image is black in the regions that did not stop the X-rays, and they passed through to expose the film or sensor. Plain radiographs (“plain films”) are usually taken by a trained Registered Radiologic Technologist. The resulting films or images are then interpreted by the Radiologist to make a diagnosis or suggest further tests.
Ultrasound or ultrasonography is a medical imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves and their echoes. The technique is similar to the echolocation used by bats, whales and dolphins, as well as SONAR used by submarines. The ultrasound machine transmits high-frequency (1 to 5 megahertz) sound pulses into your body using a probe. The sound waves travel into your body and hit a boundary between tissues (e.g. between fluid and soft tissue, soft tissue and bone).
Some of the sound waves get reflected back to the probe, while some travel on further until they reach another boundary and get reflected. The reflected waves are picked up by the probe and relayed to the machine. The machine calculates the distance from the probe to the tissue or organ (boundaries) using the speed of sound in tissue (5,005 ft/s or1,540 m/s) and the time of the each echo’s return (usually on the order of millionths of a second). The machine displays the distances and intensities of the echoes on the screen, forming a two dimensional image.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another type of imaging modality that is better for looking at soft tissues of the body such as the brain, spine, and joints. An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce images on a computer. The detail and clarity of the images generated vary according to how the radio frequency pulses are sent and received. It is normal to hear a knocking noise during an MRI, which is basically the magnet of the machine turning on and off. An MRI like a CT scan is a relatively safe and painless procedure. The MRI can last from 30-60 minutes and patients are asked to remain still during parts of the scan.
MRIs are commonly ordered to evaluate sports related injuries of the knee, back, and shoulder. A specialized type of MRI called an MRA is used to evaluate blood vessels in the body. A big advantage of MRI is that there is no radiation exposure unlike a CAT scan. One disadvantage is that patients who have had surgery that required placing metal hardware into their body cannot have an MRI because the machine contains a large magnet, which may “pull” on these objects. Patients are normally screened to prevent this.