• When Can Gender Be Detected on an Ultrasound?

    Many medical imaging tests are not recommended for use during pregnancy, including those that rely on X-ray technology. An ultrasound is different. It relies on sound waves, which means that it is not harmful to the baby or to the mother. One of the most well-known purposes of ultrasounds is to determine the baby’s sex. A baby’s sex organs are usually developed by the 12 th week of pregnancy, but most expectant mothers who visit an imaging center near San Antonio will do so between the 18 th and 20 th week of pregnancy. At this point, the radiologist can be fairly certain about the baby’s sex when interpreting the medical imaging scans.

    It’s always possible that during the exam, the baby will shift into a position that obscures the genital region. This can make it more difficult for the technician to accurately determine the baby’s sex. If this is the case, then the mother will have to wait until the next ultrasound appointment or until the birth to find out whether she’s having a boy or a girl.

    Ultrasound Image

  • A Look at Exciting Advances in PET Scan Technology

    Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) changes the structure of the brain, such as by leading to the formation of tau tangles. Until recently, imaging centers in San Antonio could not detect these brain changes while the patient was still alive. The only way to diagnose these conditions was during an autopsy. Now, new advances in positron emission tomography (PET) scans have made it possible. A PET scan is a noninvasive way to facilitate the early detection of CTE and Alzheimer’s.

    You can hear more about advances in PET scan technology when you watch this video. It features an ex-NFL player, Dave Herman, who began exhibiting signs of memory loss and thinking problems. He visited a radiologist for a PET scan and received a diagnosis of CTE, which is caused by the brain damage that results from repeated concussions.

  • A Look at Guided Joint Injections

    A joint injection is a way to deliver anti-inflammatory or other medicines directly to the site of pain. Most often, joint injections are recommended for patients with problems of the shoulder, knee, or hip. It is essential that the medicine be directed precisely at the site, which is why these injections may be administered at an imaging center in San Antonio. The radiology team can use X-ray guidance known as fluoroscopy to guide the needle to the correct place. Sometimes, ultrasounds are used instead. If you have been referred to an imaging center for a joint injection, your doctor will let you know how you can prepare and what you can expect.

    Preparation

    Joint Injection Your provider will give you instructions for preparing for the joint injection. You might be asked to restrict your food and water intake. If you take medications, you should find out if you should continue your normal medication dosages. Consider wearing comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the joint that will be treated, if this is possible. Also, bring imaging scans of the joint if you have them. When you arrive at the imaging center, check with the radiologist to be sure he or she has your full medical history. You should disclose whether you have an active infection in the joint or whether you have any allergies to medications.

    Procedure

    The radiologist may perform a preliminary medical imaging scan to locate the injection site. Then, he or she may mark this site on your skin before cleansing your skin to prevent infections. Your skin will be numbed with a local anesthetic to help you remain comfortable during the procedure. Then, under X-ray or ultrasound guidance, the provider guides the needle to the target site to deliver the medications. After removing the needle, the provider will place a bandage on your skin. Usually, this procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes, although your exact treatment time may vary.

    Recovery

    You may be asked to stay at the imaging center for about 20 to 30 minutes before you leave. This is to monitor you for signs of adverse reactions. Generally, joint injections are well tolerated and have few risks. For a few days, you may experience some soreness in the area. The pain and inflammation should begin to subside within three to five days.

  • Reasons Your Doctor May Order a Chest X-Ray

    X-ray images can be helpful for diagnosing a wide range of problems, including medical conditions of the lungs, heart, chest, and surrounding structures. This medical imaging test is noninvasive and painless. The radiology technologist in San Antonio will position you in front of the machine to take the images. Be sure to tell the technologist about your medical conditions beforehand, such as whether you are or could be pregnant.

    Acute Trauma

    Chest X-Ray Sometimes, patients are referred to a radiology technologist on an emergency basis because of acute trauma. A chest X-ray may be ordered if the doctor suspects that a collapsed lung might be causing the patient’s sharp chest or shoulder pain, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate. A collapsed lung occurs when air exits the lung and builds up outside the lung, which prevents the lung from expanding as usual. Or, a patient might have a chest X-ray if the doctor suspects an acute illness such as tuberculosis or pneumonia.

    Lung Conditions

    A chest X-ray can be helpful for diagnosing and monitoring chronic lung conditions such as emphysema. Emphysema is a progressive condition in which the air sacs in the lungs sustain damage, resulting in shortness of breath. Cystic fibrosis is another chronic and progressive condition, but it is due to genetics. A chest X-ray may be ordered to evaluate patients with cystic fibrosis, since these individuals suffer from the accumulation of thick, sticky mucus secretions that can clog the airways.

    Heart Disease

    Often, doctors request that a patient undergo chest X-rays because he or she is suspected of having heart problems. A chest X-ray can help doctors evaluate the shape and size of the heart. If the heart appears to be enlarged, then the patient might be diagnosed with heart failure. X-rays may reveal the accumulation of fluid around the heart, which is indicative of pericardial effusion.

    Surgical Procedures

    Chest X-rays are frequently ordered after patients undergo cardiovascular or thoracic surgeries. For example, after surgeons implant a pacemaker or defibrillator, chest X-rays may be requested to ensure the correct placement of these devices. These medical images can also allow doctors to check for the presence of air leaks and fluid accumulations following surgery.