What is Radiology?
The branch of medicine concerned with the use of radiation, i.e., x-rays, fluoroscopy, CT scan, mammography, radioactive materials and other imaging technologies, i.e., ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose and/or treat disease.
Why is Radiology important?
Radiologic technology enables physicians to make accurate and early diagnoses and select the best treatment plans. By using radiographic imaging and computers, surgeons can have a dress rehearsal. Three-dimensional images can be rotated; images can be manipulated to peel away organs and isolate a single structure. Approximately 59% of the U.S. population receives radiologic imaging services yearly. Some of the most important and recent advances in medicine are occurring in neuroradiology.
What is Interventional Radiology?
It is a specialty of radiology in which radiologists diagnose and/or treat diseases without surgery, by guiding tiny catheters through your body's arteries and organs. This allows the radiologist to place medications directly at the organ site, open blocked blood vessels, drain an obstructed kidney, obtain biopsies, and perform many other procedures - using x-rays and other radiographic equipment for guidance.
Interventional radiologists specialize in the use of fluoroscopy, CT, and ultrasound to guide their way through the skin by needle puncture, including introduction of wires and catheters for performing procedures such as biopsies, draining fluids, inserting catheters, or dilating or stenting narrowed ducts or vessels.
What’s the difference between Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology?
Interventional radiology seeks to make changes in the body by using electromagnetic or particulate radiation to treat disease. Diagnostic radiology seeks to see how the body is functioning to discover if something is wrong.
What is Neuroradiology?
A branch of radiology that uses various imaging technologies (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.) to diagnose disorders or diseases of the central nervous system.
What is a radiologist?
A doctor who specializes in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are produced with x-rays, sound waves, or other types of energy. A radiologist is trained in the diagnostic and/or therapeutic use of x-rays and radionuclides, and radiation physics; a diagnostic radiologist may also be trained in diagnostic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging and applicable physics.
Who are some of the people I will see during my Radiology exam?
You will probably interact most closely with a radiologic technologist, who will help position you on the equipment during the exam.
What is a technologist?
Technologists are trained to properly position and expose patients for each diagnostic procedure and to operate the corresponding diagnostic equipment safely and effectively.
Are technologists medical doctors?
No, but they have received special training in how to operate medical imaging equipment. Technologists are trained in general x-ray procedures, and, if they choose, a specific technology such as mammography.
Are x-rays safe?
The x-rays delivered to a patient during a typical diagnostic imaging exam are safe, and educated radiologic technologists use the lowest dose possible to achieve a quality image. In addition, new techniques and equipment are continuously being developed to decrease the total amount of radiation received by the patient. For example, modern mammography equipment, operated by trained technologists, delivers 1/40th the amount of radiation used 20 years ago. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is a frightening word to most people, but it’s important to remember that radiation is natural. Sources of naturally occurring “background radiation” are the atmosphere, the earth’s crust and cosmic rays. The average American is exposed to about 3 millisieverts (mSv) of background radiation from his or her environment, yearly. Those who live at high altitudes, where the atmosphere is thinner, are exposed to more. By comparison, a typical dental x-ray exposes a patient to approximately 0.06 mSv; a chest x-ray delivers 0.08 mSv; a mammogram delivers about 1.0 mSv; and an x-ray of the thoracic spine delivers 1.5 mSv. Certain organs are “radiosensitive,” which means they are more sensitive to radiation exposure than other parts of the body.
Those organs, including the thyroid gland and the male and female reproductive organs, are shielded when they are in the path of the x-ray beam. Because a developing fetus also is radiosensitive, pregnant women should seek a physician’s advice before undergoing an x-ray examination.
Are we exposed to radiation in our everyday life?
Radiation is a natural part of life. Radiation is light, short radio waves, ultraviolet or x-rays. It has existed since the beginning of time and is an integral part of the universe in which we live. Life on earth has evolved in the presence of radiation. Radiation comes to us from many sources both natural and man-made. These sources include cosmic radiation from outer space, radiation from the soil and buildings, and natural isotopes in our own bodies.
Do imaging procedures hurt?
Most of the diagnostic procedures involve no discomfort. Many diagnostic procedures use contrast agents (pharmaceuticals that make your blood vessels or organs show up better on the images). These contrast agents are often injected through a needle into a vein, which can cause some discomfort.
Do all medical imaging technologies involve radiation?
No. MRI uses magnetic energy to image the body and ultrasound produces images based on sound waves.
What is a contrast agent?
Contrast agents highlight specific organs or blood vessels, making them more visible on a diagnostic image. They provide contrast between various types of tissue. Some contrast agents are designed for the patient to drink, while others are injected, delivered through an intravenous hook-up, or administered rectally through an enema tube. The most common types of contrast used in general radiography are air, iodine and barium. Air encourages the passage of x-rays through a selected part of the body, while barium and iodine block the passage of x-rays. Special types of contrast agents also are used in magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography scans and other imaging examinations. Because the use of contrast agents carries a small risk of allergic reaction, you should let your physician or the radiologic technologist know if you have allergies of any type.
Do I have to schedule an appointment for Radiology services?
Central scheduling must be contacted at 387-6900 to schedule Radiology Services. The hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.
Will I have to miss work?
Most procedures are routine and allow you to immediately return to work. There are some procedures that require bed rest. The amount of time you will miss from work depends on the procedure.
Who will contact me with my results?
Your physician, who requested the exams to be performed, will receive your results and contact you.
Do I get to keep my x-ray images after the procedure?
Unfortunately, no. Images are considered part of your medical record, and we have a legal responsibility to keep them in our facility for several years in case we, or others, need to reference them in the future. Under certain circumstances they may be checked out and delivered to other healthcare practitioners, or may be copied for the same purpose.
What will I need to bring to my appointment?
Please be prepared to submit your driver’s license or some other form of identification along with your insurance card. The receptionist will take a copy of the cards for their records and will return the cards back to the patient.
Do I have to arrive early to my appointment?
We will call and confirm your appointment the day prior to your scheduled exam. We will ask you to arrive 15-30 minutes before your exam to complete the necessary paperwork.
Do you accept my insurance?
We ask that the patient verify insurance coverage with their insurance carrier regarding benefits and eligibility prior to the exam.
Will I have a copayment?
We ask that the patient verify insurance coverage and copayments with their insurance carrier prior to their appointment.