Feeling a new bump or change in your breasts can be frightening, because your first thought may be that the growth is due to breast cancer. However, it’s important to remain calm and see your doctor, who can refer you to an imaging center in San Antonio for a definitive diagnosis. When a mammogram or other imaging exam reveals a breast cyst, your radiologist may recommend ultrasound-guided breast cyst aspiration, which is a simple, outpatient procedure. Ultrasound imaging is ideal for guiding the procedure, because ultrasound provides images with real-time movement using high-frequency sound waves, which do not expose the body to ionizing radiation. If your doctor has recommended this procedure, read on to learn some basic facts that will help you prepare.
Breast cyst aspiration is minimally invasive.
During a breast cyst aspiration, a needle will be guided to the cyst, and it will withdraw fluid from inside of the growth. The procedure only requires a small needle stick, so it does not carry the same risks as more invasive surgeries or biopsies. On the day of the procedure, you should wear comfortable clothing, avoid deodorant and perfume, and be prepared to spend about an hour under the radiologist’s care. The breast will be numbed to reduce any discomfort.
The procedure is not necessarily indicative of breast cancer.
Having a breast cyst does not mean that you have breast cancer. Benign growths in the breasts are common, and these are often the cause for aspiration procedures. Even if cancer is detected, your diagnosis may come earlier than it would have without this testing, so your prognosis may be greatly improved.
Results from aspiration are not immediately available.
Like other imaging procedures, breast cyst aspiration does not have immediate results. Your radiologist will share the results of the test with your doctor, who will inform you of the outcome. Results are determined in part by the color of the fluid removed from the cyst, as the absence of blood will indicate that the growth is likely non-cancerous.
Most women are familiar with mammograms, which are standard screening procedures to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. One procedure that you may have more questions about is galactography, which may also be referred to as ductography. This exam will take images of the inside of the milk ducts in the breasts, which may be necessary when women have the symptom of bloody or clear discharge from the breast without other abnormalities in a standard mammogram.
Galactography is a lot like a mammogram from the patient’s perspective, but it does involve preparation with a special contrast dye to focus images on the milk ducts. To prepare for the exam, you should simply avoid squeezing the nipple and show up to your appointment in comfortable clothing. Just like any other mammogram, galactography will require that you stay completely still as the images are taken, and you may feel slight discomfort as the machine compresses the breast to acquire clean, readable images.
Getting an X-ray is a simple, painless process that should not take more than about an hour from the start of your imaging appointment. If your doctor has referred you to Concord Imaging Center for an X-ray near San Antonio, you don’t have to do much to prepare. You should, however, take the following steps to make your visit go smoothly.
Wear the Right Clothing
You may be asked to wear a gown for your X-ray, depending on the area of the body being imaged. To ensure that you can move freely if you do not wear a gown, come to your appointment in comfortable clothing that’s easy to remove if necessary. You should also avoid wearing jewelry or be prepared to take off any jewelry once you arrive. Finally, refrain from applying skincare products like deodorant or lotion prior to your appointment.
Ask Your Doctor If You Can Eat Beforehand
Sometimes eating before an X-ray will not interfere with results, but other situations may require you to avoid food for a few hours before the exam. Ask your doctor to be sure, and inquire about any other preparations you may need to do.
Schedule a Follow-Up with Your Physician
X-ray technicians will not discuss your X-rays with you on the spot. Instead, a radiologist will interpret your results and report back to your referring physician. Your doctor will take the time to inform you of the results of your exam and walk you through the next steps, so you might schedule this visit before you even have the X-ray done.
Inform Your Radiologist of Existing Health Conditions
If you have any preexisting health conditions, you should inform the radiologist before your X-ray. In addition to any health problems, you should mention if there is a chance that you could be pregnant, since ionizing radiation can be harmful to your developing child.
Migraines can be frustrating for patients, because they do not always have clear causes. Imaging exams such as X-rays and MRIs in San Antonio may be helpful for identifying the root cause of migraines, but they are not necessarily helpful in every situation. This video offers some insight into when MRI is indicated for individuals who are suffering from migraine headaches, providing physicians with some clear guidelines on when imaging will become most useful. In cases where patients are over the age of 50 and experiencing a new type of headache, for example, an MRI may be helpful in ruling out other neurological causes for headaches.
Mammograms are an important part of preventative care for women, as well as diagnosing and managing breast cancer care. Diagnostic mammograms are a step beyond routine screening mammograms and are usually ordered for further evaluation of an abnormality. The radiologist at your medical imaging center in San Antonio will be happy to answer any questions you have about your diagnostic mammogram. Here are the answers to some of the questions patients have most frequently.
When is a diagnostic mammogram ordered?
You may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if your healthcare provider notices symptoms that could indicate that you have abnormal tissue growth in your breast. You may also be referred for a diagnostic mammogram if you report a change in your breast health, such as a lump or nipple discharge to your doctor. By performing a diagnostic mammogram, your doctor can determine if your symptoms are associated with a benign condition or if you may need further testing for cancer.
What happens during a diagnostic mammogram?
A diagnostic mammogram is performed in the same way as a screening mammogram. Your breasts will be placed one at a time between two plates that then compress the breasts so that an X-ray picture can be taken. Your radiologist may take extra images of a particular part of your breast if requested by your doctor, if there is one area in particular he or she wants to study. Although some women experience minor discomfort during the compression process, it only lasts for a few seconds.
What happens after a diagnostic mammogram?
A radiologist will review your mammogram and provide information about the results to your doctor. If there are areas of the mammogram that could be associated breast cancer, your doctor may order additional testing. An ultrasound and a needle biopsy test can give your doctor more information about the cellular changes in your breast, so he or she can determine if you should undergo treatment for breast cancer.
When it comes to MRIs, it’s not uncommon to have a little nervousness before your test. The good news is that MRIs are completely painless, and your imaging center specialist in San Antonio will ensure that you are comfortable throughout the entire process.
This video will give you some insight about what to expect during your MRI, so you can approach your scan with more confidence. It’s normal for the MRI machine to make noise during the test as the scan occurs, so don’t be alarmed by loud sounds. Before your MRI, contact the imaging center if you have any concerns about claustrophobia during the test, which can be easily managed, if necessary.
If you’ve been referred to Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio for nuclear medicine, you probably have some questions about what to expect. This kind of medical imaging test might sound intimidating, but in reality, it is virtually painless and involves no more radiation than a typical X-ray.
When you go in for a nuclear medicine imaging test, you will receive an injection of a radiopharmaceutical substance. The needle prick is the only part of the test that causes even mild discomfort. After the injection, you will wait a specified amount of time for the substance to travel to organs that are being tested. When it is time for the scan, you will be asked to remain still so that the images are as clear as possible. Depending on the reason for your test, the scan will take between 20 and 45 minutes. After your test, any small amount of radiation in your body will be expelled through urine and stool for up to a few days after the scan.
Positron emission tomography scans, or PET scans , do more than static medical imaging tests, like MRIs and CT scans. PET scans show your doctor the chemical changes that happen in the metabolism because of diseased or abnormal cells. PET scans can be used in conjunction with other medical imaging tests in San Antonio for a number of reasons, including cancer care. Pet scans are used in a number of different ways in cancer care, including the following applications.
PET scans are helpful in diagnosing cancer because they don’t simply provide anatomical imaging but also offer biological information. Through a PET scan, your doctor can see areas of your body with high rates of sugar metabolism, which can indicate an active tumor. Cancerous cells thrive on sugar, so when a PET scan is performed after a glucose injection, abnormal, potentially cancerous cells will consume the glucose faster than other parts of the body. Often, PET scans are combined with CT scans to make a cancer diagnosis both at the outset of the disease and when cancer recurs after treatment.
For patients undergoing cancer treatment, PET scans help to evaluate the effectiveness of their care plans. Through a PET scan, doctors can determine if the treatment is shrinking the tumor or if a change needs to be made to the types of treatment being used. During cancer treatment, patients may undergo multiple PET scans in conjunction with other tests designed to determine how well different treatments are working.
In order to make decisions about different treatments, doctors have to understand if cancer has spread beyond its origin point. PET scans help providers find cancer in other parts of the body that can indicate that the disease has metastasized. This process also helps doctors determine the stage of the cancer, which is an important part of making treatment decisions.
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating diagnosis, but identifying the condition early so that treatment can begin may slow the progression of the symptoms. PET scans have become an important part of diagnosing and tracking the disease progression. If you or a loved one has been referred for a PET scan in San Antonio for Alzheimer’s testing, here is what you need to know.
What is a PET scan?
Positron emission tomography—or PET—scans are a type of medical imaging test that rely on the use of a radioactive tracer. The tracer is injected before the scan and is absorbed by organs and soft tissue to make them easier to see. PET scans are different from other types of imaging tests because they allow physicians to see metabolic changes on the cellular level that are occurring in tissues. This ability is why PET scans are so commonly used during cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as Alzheimer’s disease management.
How are PET scans used for Alzheimer’s disease?
If your physician suspects that you have Alzheimer’s disease, then he or she may refer you for a PET scan to see what is happening in your brain. On a PET scan, your physician can see bundles of abnormal cells called plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques are often visible before symptoms appear, which allows for earlier diagnosis than ever before. Your doctor may order a PET scan if you have any symptoms of the disease, if your lab tests indicate that you could have Alzheimer’s disease, or if you have a family history of the condition and wish to have some peace of mind.
What are the benefits of PET scans for Alzheimer’s?
The potential for early diagnosis is extremely beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. The earlier someone with the disease takes medications, the more likely it is that they will be able to delay the progression of symptoms. PET scans are also helping people with dementia who might otherwise be treated for Alzheimer’s but who don’t actually have it get an accurate diagnosis so that they can receive the appropriate treatment.
Medical imaging plays an important role in both diagnosing various medical conditions and tracking the effectiveness of treatments. If your physician refers you to an imaging center in San Antonio , this video will help you understand some of the tests you may undergo.
For patients, medical imaging tests are generally painless. Most of them involve very little, if any, preparation. The test your physician requests depends on what structures in the body he or she needs to see. For instance, a CT scan uses X-ray waves to create images and is ideal for getting a detailed look at the bones. MRI imaging uses magnetic fields and radio waves to scan the body and provides clear imaging of soft tissue and organs. The technician performing your test will explain what to expect and will answer any questions you may have.
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