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.
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.
3D mammography offers multiple benefits over traditional imaging tests that can translate into early breast cancer diagnoses. If you are in need of a mammogram, ask your physician to refer you to Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio so that you can receive a 3D mammogram for the most reliable imaging results.
One of the many advantages of 3D mammograms is their ability to detect abnormal tissue masses that may otherwise go unseen until they have gotten larger on 2D tests. Identifying these areas of tissue early means that treatments can begin sooner, which can be life-saving. 3D mammograms are also better at scanning dense breast tissue, which is a particular issue in young women. Dense tissue can obscure abnormal tissue, which could delay diagnosis. Women also get more peace of mind from 3D mammograms. Because the mammography images are clearer and more detailed with 3D imaging, it reduces the risk of false positives that can lead to unnecessary anxiety and medical testing for non-cancerous cases.
It’s common for a man’s prostate gland to enlarge as he grows older. This doesn’t always indicate prostate cancer. However, if a doctor determines that your prostate gland is enlarged, such as during a digital rectal exam, he or she may request further testing—just in case. You may be referred to an imaging center in San Antonio, where a radiology specialist can perform an ultrasound exam of your prostate gland.
How Ultrasound Exams Work
These imaging exams are safe and painless. Ultrasound exams use sound waves to create real-time images of the internal structures like the prostate. The sound waves are emitted by a handheld device, called a transducer. The transducer detects the sound waves as they bounce back, and then sends this information to a computer. Advanced software uses the information to generate images. For some exams, the radiology professional moves the transducer around on top of the skin, which is covered in gel. But for prostate exams, a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is needed.
How You Should Prepare
The imaging center will give you any needed instructions to prepare for your appointment. If you take blood-thinning medications, you might be asked to temporarily discontinue them. If the radiologist needs to take a biopsy, discontinuing blood-thinners will prevent excessive bleeding. Since you’ll be having a transrectal ultrasound, you may be asked to use an enema about 2 to 4 hours prior to your appointment.
What You Can Expect
You’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on the exam table on your side, with your knees drawn up. After placing a disposable cover on the transducer, the radiologist adds lubrication and inserts it into the rectum. You may experience some discomfort, but the exam won’t be painful. The radiologist may insert a needle into your prostate gland under the guidance of the real-time ultrasound images to take a small sample of tissue for testing. A TRUS exam does not take very long, and you’ll be able to get back to your usual activities right away.
Computed tomography, or CT scans , use x-rays to develop highly detailed, cross-sectional images of the body. Compared to conventional x-rays, CT scans can depict soft tissues, bones, blood vessels, and organs with impressive clarity. Before you get a CT scan in San Antonio, call the imaging center and ask whether there is anything you should do to prepare for your appointment.
CT imaging is painless and safe.
CT scans, also called CAT scans, are non-invasive tests that don’t cause any pain. Some patients need to receive contrast material before the scan begins. If the contrast dye is given intravenously, you’ll feel a slight pinch when the needle is inserted. The discomfort is only temporary. Radiology specialists are committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient safety. There is always a slight risk associated with any type of radiation, but CT scans are widely considered safe. However, if you’re receiving contrast dye, the technologist will need to know about reactions to previous contrast dye injections, allergies to medications or shellfish, diabetes, or asthma, or conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, or thyroid.
It’s important to remain as still as possible.
Once the CT technologist positions you on the exam table, he or she will go into a separate room to begin the exam. At this point, you must remain as still as you can, since even slight movements can cause the images to be blurry. If the technologist needs to image your chest or abdomen, you’ll likely be asked to hold your breath for brief periods of time.
Special considerations apply to expecting and breastfeeding mothers.
Since CT scans use x-ray technology, it is not safe to have these exams during pregnancy. Instead, the doctor will likely request an ultrasound, which uses sound waves and doesn’t harm the unborn baby. Always let the staff know if you’re pregnant, or if there’s a possibility that you might be pregnant. If you’re breastfeeding, you can receive a CT scan. However, you’ll be unable to breastfeed for 24 hours afterward if you receive contrast dye material. You can pump and store extra breast milk in anticipation of this waiting period. To maintain your milk production, you can continue to pump breast milk during the 24-hour period. However, you’ll need to discard it instead of feeding it to your baby.
Mammograms can be lifesaving for women, but the imaging center you choose matters. At Concord Imaging, we combine cutting-edge technology and cost-effective pricing to give women the access to the most accurate mammography possible. If you are considering where to schedule your next mammogram, here are some of the reasons you should choose Concord Imaging in San Antonio.
Concord Imaging was the first provider in Bexar County to offer digital mammography. We use the Hologic Selenia Dimensions 3D Mammography system, which utilizes the most recent advancedtomographic images. This means that tissue overlap, which can hide abnormalities in less advanced imaging systems, is eliminated, so that you get the most accurate results possible. Using 3D technology, combined with the enhancement of digital imaging, also reduces the risk of false positive results and helps prevent needless biopsies and stress. Using this system, we strive to find breast cancer in its earliest stages, so that treatment is less invasive and more effective.
If your physician suspects you could have a brain tumor, getting an accurate diagnosis quickly is essential. Among the many tools your physician may use to make a diagnosis, you may be referred to a medical imaging clinic. At Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio , we offer patient-driven medical imaging at an affordable cost. Here is a closer look at some of the tests used to diagnose brain tumors.
During a neurological exam, a specialist will evaluate things like your vision, balance, hearing, coordination, and reflexes. If you demonstrate signs of diminished function, it could indicate that you have a brain tumor and in what region of the brain the tumor is located. Keep in mind that many conditions can cause these non-specific symptoms, so a neurological exam is not an adequate tool for making a definitive diagnosis. It is simply a piece of a diagnostic puzzle.
PET stands for positron emission tomography. PET scans require the use of a special trace dye that contains a small amount of radiation. As the dye is absorbed into your organs and tissues, it can help your radiologist pinpoint very small changes in cellular metabolism that could indicate the growth of abnormal tissue. PET scans are the only medical imaging tests that show changes on the cellular level, which means it is sensitive enough to detect cancer in very early stages. In addition to helping to diagnose brain tumors, PET scans can determine if the cancer has metastasized and may also be used to see if any treatments being used for tumors are effective.
Computerized tomography, or CT scans, use X-ray beams to provide more targeted and detailed images than conventional X-rays. During CT scans, your radiologist can look for abnormalities in organs, bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue. CT scans are often used in conjunction with PET scans to diagnose cancer, determine cancer staging, and track treatment progress.
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is used to get detailed imaging of organs and tissue in your body for diagnostic purposes and to see how well a treatment is working. If you’re scheduled for an MRI, the team at your imaging center in San Antonio will be happy to answer all of your questions about what to expect. This video will also help.
During an MRI scan, you may need an injection of contrast dye to help make the images clearer. Other than a minor injection if necessary, MRIs are completely painless. During the test, you will lay on a table that moves inside a large, circular device that is used for taking images. You’ll need to lie still for the duration of the medical imaging test. If you are concerned about feeling claustrophobic, talk to the imaging center staff, who can give you tips on how to relax.
Although medical imaging tests can be extremely useful for diagnostics, parents naturally have concerns about the impacts of imaging on their child’s health. If your child is scheduled for medical imaging in San Antonio , this information can help you make an informed decision about his or her health care needs.
The concern most parents have with medical imaging is the exposure to radiation. Radiation is used in X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine procedures. Although excessive doses of radiation can cause cancer, the amount used in medical imaging is usually minute. Radiology specialists work diligently to limit the exposure to radiation for any patient, especially children, to the absolute minimum. If your child has been referred for medical imaging, it is because his or her doctor believes that the importance of the diagnostic test far outweighs any small amount of radiation risk. Ask the team at the imaging center to explain their safety protocols, so you can feel confident about following through the diagnostic test.
A PET/CT scan is a combined test that involves a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan. A PET scan is a nuclear medicine test, which means it uses radioactive tracers. A CT scan uses X-rays to produce internal images of the body. If you have any questions or concerns about undergoing a PET/CT scan, a radiology specialist at Concord Imaging Center in San Antonio will be happy to discuss them with you.
Reasons for PET/CT Scans
Combined PET and CT scans are helpful for diagnosing a variety of medical problems, including cancer. This exam can aid in the initial diagnosis of cancer and in staging cancer, which refers to determining whether the cancer has spread. PET/CT scans can also help doctors evaluate how well cancer treatments are working and whether cancer has returned after treatment. Another common reason for undergoing a PET/CT scan is to evaluate the functioning of the heart. It may be used for assessing the damage inflicted by a heart attack and for planning cardiac surgeries.
Preparations for PET/CT Scans
The imaging center will give you directions to follow ahead of your appointment. You may be asked to avoid eating anything and drinking anything that contains calories for a few hours before the appointment. You can drink plain water. If you’re a diabetic, the radiologist may give you different instructions. Your radiologist will need to know if any of the following applies to you:
- You are pregnant or might be pregnant.
- You are breastfeeding.
- You have removable dental work or hearing aids.
- You’re taking any medications or supplements.
- You have any allergies, particularly to seafood, iodine, and contrast materials.
Steps of PET/CT Scans
When you arrive at the imaging center, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown before lying on an exam table. You’ll receive the radioactive tracer, which may be inhaled, swallowed, or given intravenously. It will take the tracer a while to travel around your body. You’ll be asked to lie quietly during this time. Then, you’ll be positioned in the scanner, where you’ll also need to remain still. It generally takes about 30 minutes to perform a PET and CT scan.
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