Imaging services refers to the performance of imaging exams for better visualization and treatment of medical conditions. Different exams allow radiologists and physicians to view structures and activity within the body. Imaging exams are vital for diagnosis and there are a wide range of tests that can be performed.
Diagnostic imaging in Niceville
At HCA Florida Twin Cities Hospital, our skilled radiologists use diagnostic imaging equipment to serve our patients in Niceville and Crestview, Florida.
Our medical imaging services allow our healthcare providers to view activities and structures within the body to better understand our patients' health. Diagnostic imaging exams are typically painless, noninvasive procedures that help physicians detect diseases and determine the severity of injuries.
Our medical imaging services
Our fast, accurate imaging services let your doctors diagnose your condition so you can begin the healing process as quickly as possible.
Medical imaging services
We provide a range of medical imaging services, including bone density scans, cardiovascular imaging and:
X-rays and bone density scans
X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to produce images of structures inside the body, particularly the bones. The amount of radiation used during an X-ray exam is minimal, making this a very safe procedure.
Some types of X-ray exams use a contrast medium, such as iodine or barium, to provide greater detail on the X-ray images. X-rays are also used in bone density scanning, which is an important part of women's health.
X-rays are commonly used to detect the following:
- Blocked blood vessels
- Bone diseases, such as arthritis, osteoporosis and bone cancer
- Digestive tract conditions
- Fractures, infections and decay in the bones and teeth
- Heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure
- Lung infections and diseases, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and lung cancer
- Swallowed items
Most X-ray exams last a few minutes. Some X-ray exams, such as those involving contrast mediums, last an hour or longer.
Computerized tomography (CT scan)
CT scans combine multiple, detailed X-rays and computer processing to produce cross-sectional images of soft tissues and bones in the body. CT scans can be used to visualize nearly all parts of the body and have many uses, including:
- Detecting and monitoring diseases and conditions, such as cancers, heart diseases, lung nodules and liver masses
- Detecting internal injuries and bleeding
- Diagnosing muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures
- Guiding surgeries, biopsies, radiation therapies and other procedures
- Pinpointing the location of tumors, infections or blood clots
Typically, CT exams only last a few minutes.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI is an imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues inside the body.
MRI produces high-resolution images that help diagnose and/or evaluate the following:
- Blood vessel inflammation or blockages
- Bone infections
- Eye and inner ear disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Orthopedic conditions, such as joint abnormalities and disorders
- Spinal cord conditions, such as injuries and disc abnormalities
- Structural problems in the aorta, such as aneurysms or dissections
An MRI exam may last 30 minutes, an hour or more than an hour. The duration of the exam depends on the patient's medical history and the part of the body being examined.
Nuclear medicine tests
Nuclear medicine involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. Nuclear medicine determines the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone.
With nuclear medicine, the patient receives a minimal amount of a radiopharmaceutical. A licensed technologist typically introduces the radiation into the patient’s body via intravenous injection, oral consumption or inhalation. The amount of radiation involved is similar to the amount used during an X-ray.
Although nuclear medicine is commonly used for diagnostic purposes, it also can be used to treat conditions, such as:
- Blood imbalances
- Cancer-related pain
- Thyroid cancer
Imaging sessions involving nuclear medicine generally last between 20 to 45 minutes.
Ultrasounds involve sonography, which is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body.
Most ultrasounds are performed using a sonar device outside of the body, but some ultrasounds involve placing a device inside the body. Typically, the patient lies on the examination table, and a small amount of gel is applied to their skin. A sonographer presses a small hand-held device (transducer) against the skin and moves it over the area of the body being examined.
Ultrasounds are commonly used to:
- Assess a fetus
- Assess thyroid glands
- Detect abnormalities in the genitalia and prostate
- Diagnose certain forms of cancer
- Diagnose certain kinds of infection
- Diagnose gallbladder disease
- Evaluate abnormalities of the muscles and tendons
- Evaluate breast lumps
- Evaluate flow in blood vessels
- Guide a needle for biopsy or tumor treatment
Typically, an ultrasound lasts between 30 minutes to an hour.
At our Women's Health and Imaging Center, we offer advanced screenings in a comfortable setting.
We provide bone density scans to detect bone loss and early signs of osteoporosis because women who have experienced menopause are at greater risk of bone loss.
We also offer digital mammograms. Mammograms are special X-rays, which are used to detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.
Preparing for an imaging appointment
Different types of imaging exams require different preparations. Ask your doctor or nurse to provide you with specific instructions about how to prepare for your imaging exam.
Before your imaging exam
Let your doctor or technician know if you are pregnant, have any metal in your body or if you have any kidney or liver conditions. These conditions could affect the imaging service recommendation.
Depending on the type of imaging exam being performed and the area being examined, you may need to take one or more of the following actions before your exam:
- Fast for a brief period of time
- Refrain from caffeine
- Refrain from drinking liquids
- Refrain from urinating
- Remove or change clothing or accessories
- Stop taking your medication or take a special medication
During your imaging exam
During the imaging exam, a technologist will guide you through the procedure — either in the room with you or via intercom. They may ask you to hold your breath at certain points to avoid blurred images.
During a CT scan or MRI exam, you will lie on a narrow table that will move slowly through the CT scanner or MRI machine. You may hear buzzing, clicking and whirring noises.
Imaging exams with contrast medium
In some cases, a contrast medium, such as barium and iodine, may be needed to enhance the appearance of certain details inside the body. A contrast medium, also called a contrast material, may be swallowed, received through injection or by an enema.
In some people, the injection of a contrast medium can cause side effects, such as nausea, hives or lightheadedness. Severe reactions to contract materials are rare.
After your imaging exam
After the imaging exam, you will probably be able to return to your daily activities. In some cases, you may be asked to wait for a short time before leaving to ensure that you feel well after the exam.
However, if you receive a contrast material before your exam, you'll likely be told to drink lots of fluids to remove the contrast material from your body.
In most cases, a radiologist will analyze the images from your scan and report the findings to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss any significant results found and if any follow-up action is needed.
Preparing your child for an imaging exam
Ask your doctor how to best prepare your child for their imaging exam. Restraints are commonly used on children during exams to keep them from moving. Sedatives may also be recommended for infants or toddlers to keep them calm and still. These measures are taken because movement can cause blurred images, which can lead to inaccurate results.
You may be allowed to remain with your child during the diagnostic exam or nearby, depending on the amount of radiation involved in the exam. If you stay in the room during an X-ray, you may be asked to wear a lead apron to shield you from unnecessary exposure.
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