X-Ray, Radiology & Imaging
Memorial Hospital is at the forefront in digital imaging. The procedures performed in our department are filmless. All images from radiology are stored and read on PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications Systems). We were the first small hospital in New England to use digital technology, and we offer major diagnostic imaging services accredited by the American College of Radiology.
You will be asked to fill out a screening form before your MRI. Due to the magnet, you will be asked to remove any wearable metal before your exam, and cannot have the exam if you have certain types of implants. If you have had an incident where metal has/may have gotten into your eye, you will be asked to have some X-rays of your head/eyes to check if there are any particles that could be seen. An MRI exam can take some time. The average time is approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on the exam. These exams are typically performed on a Monday through Friday basis during regular business hours.
MRI does not use any type of radiation. If you have claustrophobia, we recommend that you speak with your physician about utilizing a sedative if you feel that you need one. Sedatives are not something that can be ordered or distributed by imaging staff. The MRI table weight limit is 300 pounds.
When you arrive for your mammogram, you will be asked to remove all wearable items from the waist up, and replace them with a cape designed for mammograms with the opening in the front. It is recommended that you wash off any powders or deodorants as these can show up in the images. The technologist will go over a screening form with you, and explain the exam as it is performed. This exam is typically performed while standing and takes 15 to 30 minutes.
Memorial Hospital is certified as a Softer Mammogram Provider, meaning we provide a soft foam cushion called a MammoPad. Cleared by the FDA, the MammoPad was designed by a female breast surgeon for use to make patients more warm, relaxed, and generally comfortable during mammogram procedures while not impairing image quality.
There’s a new tool in the fight to detect breast cancers and Memorial Hospital's Imaging Department recently introduced its use for the local community. Digital breast tomosynthesis is a technology that creates a three-dimensional image of the breast that is more sensitive and accurate than traditional digital mammography. A few insurance companies are not yet covering 3D mammography so the hospital suggests patients may want to contact their insurer in advance to be certain that CPT code 77063 is covered under their plans.
Computerized tomography (CT), also known as computerized axial tomography (CAT), is a painless diagnostic procedure that uses radiation to generate highly detailed sequences of images.
The machine is shaped like a donut, and directs a series of X-rays through the body to produce images that are referred to as "slices", which are cross sectional images of the body (like a loaf of bread). These images are then used to produce more images in different planes of the body in order to give the Radiologist (the doctor that interprets the images) the most complete information to help your Physician with an accurate diagnosis.
We utilize the GE 64 slice VCT scanner with ASIR dose reduction. This machine offers highly detailed images at a significant dose reduction to you, with many exams having up to 40% less dose than the average scanner. Your exam will be performed by a Technologist that is highly skilled and licensed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Usually, CT scans take between 15 and 30 minutes. Depending on the exam ordered by your Physician, you may be required to take an oral contrast agent prior to the scan or have a contrast/dye administered by a vein which requires an IV. The exam will be explained thoroughly, and you will be asked questions pertaining to your medical history by the Technologist prior to the scan.
In the CT room, the technologist will assist you onto the exam table which will be elevated and moved into the scanner's "donut hole". During the exam, the technologist will have you in full view, and be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have. You may be asked to hold your breath for very short periods of time (only seconds). It is very important that you hold still and follow the breathing instructions to ensure that the images are good quality.
You may leave immediately following your CT exam. The Radiologist will carefully review your images from your CT scan and send a report of the findings to your Physician who will then discuss them with you.
During a bone density exam, what is being measured are the densest bones in the human body which are the hip and the lower back. This is to screen for and/or monitor osteoporosis. You will be asked a series of screening questions and positioned lying on your back. We ask that you wear as little metal as possible and to let us know if you have had any metal implants in your hip or lumbar spine.
The radiation dose of this machine is incredibly low, as the images produced are non-diagnostic quality. This machine is not capable of evaluating a bone for a fracture, but works wonderfully in evaluating the general density of the bone itself, helping doctors and patients monitor and determine options regarding Osteoporosis.
While many know this technology is used to image a growing fetus while still in the womb, Ultrasound also has many more applications. Emitting and then recording the echo of high frequency sound waves to create high quality images of internal structures, Ultrasound is useful in the detection/monitoring of:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Ectopic pregnancies
- Testicular torsion
- Live-action of the pumping of the heart, including the direction of blood flow
- Integrity of many internal soft tissue structures
- Growth and development of a fetus during pregnancy. This includes pelvic ultrasounds. You can learn more about pelvic ultrasounds here.
What to Expect
When you get in the room, the sonographer may have you change clothing or expose the area being looked at. A gel will be applied and a probe will be utilized to scan to the area of interest to obtain many images for the radiologist to interpret for your physician.
If you are receiving an obstetrical ultrasound, it may include a transvaginal exam. It is performed very much like a gynecologic exam and involves the insertion of the transducer into the vagina after you empty your bladder. The tip of the transducer is smaller than the standard speculum used when performing a Pap test. A protective cover is placed over the transducer, lubricated with a small amount of gel, and then inserted into the vagina. Only two to three inches of the transducer end are inserted into the vagina.
If you are receiving a pelvic ultrasound, it may include a transvaginal exam.Transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed with you lying on your back, possibly with your feet in stirrups similar to a gynecologic exam.
For some exams, you may be asked not to eat after midnight, or to drink a lot of fluid and hold your bladder. The preparation instructions depend on what type of exam your doctor has ordered and what body part(s) are being examined.
Nuclear medicine visits can last several hours and sometimes require return visits for additional pictures or procedures. To help you plan ahead, we will tell you ahead of time how long the type of testing you will receive typically takes and if you need to be prepared for follow-up visits.
For many exams, the radioisotope is administered intravenously, so the technologist will need to start an IV. Often there is “down time,” where you may feel idle. During this time, your body is actually performing the important task of capturing its physiology using the administered radiopharmaceutical. At the right time, we will use a special camera to capture an image of the energy (gamma rays) given off by the radiopharmaceutical in your body. We will do our best to make your visit as efficient as possible, and ask for your patience during any “down time.” It is there to ensure the best possible examination.
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam, or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing. You will receive specific instructions from the nuclear medicine clinic based on the type of scan you are undergoing. Please note that these are not recommendations. Because nuclear medicine examinations can be extremely sensitive to outside influences, these instructions should be strictly followed. If you have special circumstances making it difficult for you to follow the provided instructions, please contact our staff prior to your examination so that we can find a solution and make sure you get the best study possible.
What to tell your provider before your nuclear medicine procedure
Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding.You should inform your physician and the technologist performing your exam of any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. You should also tell them if you have any allergies, have had a recent illness or have any other medical conditions. Jewelry and other metallic accessories should be left at home, if possible, or removed prior to the exam. They may interfere with the procedure.
While most commonly thought of as simply a tool to evaluate the bones of the body for fractures, standard X-ray images can show much more than this. X-ray images can show air, fluids, calcifications, joint spaces, arthritis, as well as more dense foreign bodies. It is always important to remove metal from the area being imaged, metal objects will obscure the anatomy being imaged. While not producing the detailed images of other modalities, such as CT, the low radiation dose, speed of the exam, and general "catch-all" nature of standard x-ray images make this the most common exam type requested by doctors. Abnormalities on an x-ray image can indicate to doctors following up with other exams, such as CT, MRI, or Ultrasound.
General X-ray images can be used to visualize the bones in the human body and contrasts or items of a similar density. This is a tool that is used to see fluids, calcifications, joint spaces and air.
Esophogram, Upper G.I., Small Bowel Follow Through, Barium Enema
All of these exams require the administration of barium by drinking or enema tube. They also all require that you have had nothing to eat since midnight. Some require a cleansing preparation which you would be informed of when scheduling.
An arthrogram is a sterile procedure used to visualize a joint space. Contrast is used for visualization by needle insertion. Sometimes an MRI is also done afterward.
This procedure is performed by OB/GYN to visualize patency of fallopian tubes. Your doctor would usually explain procedure to you prior to your exam.
The table weight limit is 300 pounds standing or 500 pounds supine.
Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose CT Scans (LDCT) can reduce deaths among those at high risk. Because most lung cancer cases are not diagnosed until later stages, treatment options are limited, and we want to help change that.
We adopted the American College of Radiology’s guidelines. Patients must:
- Be age 55-77 years of age
- Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- Have a 30-pack years or greater history of tobacco smoking (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.).
- Be current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years AND
- Have a written order for LDCT from a qualified health professional following a lung cancer screening counseling that attests to shared decision-making having taken place before their first screening CT.
In order to be referred to Memorial for LDCT, patients must schedule a consultation with our Pulmonologist Dr. Charles Felton. He will ensure that the patient is eligible, and that they receive the screening counseling. When the patient is found to be eligible, Dr. Felton can place the order with Memorial’s Imaging Department to schedule the patient for an LDCT. Dr. Felton will also enter various information in the ACR registry for lung cancer low dose CT lung scanning, a Medicare requirement, after the initial and each subsequent screening CT scans.
LDCT orders cannot be referred from the Primary Care Provider directly. Please talk to your PCP about receiving a referral to Dr. Felton to find out if you qualify for an LDCT. For more information on LDCT, you can find it online at www.savedbythescan.com.