• Why 3D Mammograms Save Lives

    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.

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  • When Should I Get My First Mammogram?

    Concord Imaging in San Antonio performs 3D mammograms on women of varying ages. The age at which you’ll have your first mammogram depends on your doctor’s recommendations. Your doctor will consider the current guidelines and your individual risk factors, such as your age. Of course, if you or your doctor detect potential signs of breast cancer, such as a lump in your breast or underarm area, then you should visit the imaging center to have a diagnostic mammogram right away, regardless of your age.

    Otherwise, the American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 45 to 54 receive a screening mammogram annually, but women ages 40 to 44 should have the option to get annual exams if they wish. At age 55, women may choose to have mammograms yearly or every 2 years. As long as women are in good overall health and are expected to live a decade or longer, they can continue receiving these screening tests. Your personalized screening recommendations, as designed by your doctor, may vary depending on whether you’re a cancer survivor, whether you have a family history of breast cancer, and whether you have certain lifestyle risk factors of breast cancer.

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  • Factors Involved with the Interpretation of Mammograms

    When you visit an imaging center for a mammogram , it’s natural to be anxious to get answers about your results. Radiologists strive to deliver medical imaging results quickly, but above all, accurately. The radiology specialists in San Antonio who read your mammogram will consider several factors about the image before providing results. Here are some of the things the radiologist reading your mammogram will consider. Keep in mind that having an abnormal result on your mammogram doesn’t mean you have cancer. It simply means that you may need further imaging, such as an ultrasound, or a biopsy. mammogram - imaging

    Asymmetries

    In most cases, the tissue in both of your breasts should appear the same on a mammogram. If your radiologist notices a mass, sac, or other area of tissue that looks different on one side than the other or that simply isn’t on the other side, then he or she may recommend further diagnostic testing. These kinds of asymmetries can refer to any difference between the breasts that is noted on the mammogram.

    Skin Thickening

    Skin thickening is a common symptom with breast cancer, particularly inflammatory breast cancer. During a mammogram, skin thickening may be noticed before you can see the telltale orange peel appearance on your skin. When thickening is detected on your mammogram, your radiologist or physician may recommend a biopsy or ultrasound for further testing.

    Calcifications

    Calcifications, or calcium deposits, are extremely common. Radiologists classify them as either macrocalcifications, which are large and look like dots on the imaging test, and microcalcifications, which are small and resemble white flecks. Generally, macrocalcifications are not considered to be a cause for concern. Microcalcifications may require further testing, especially when they appear in clusters. These kinds of calcifications can sometimes indicate that ductal carcinoma in situ, which is a non-invasive type of cancer. However, keep in mind that many women have microcalcifications clusters and do not have cancer.

  • The Do’s and Don’ts of PET/CT Scans

    Prepare for PET/CT Scans

    Ahead of your appointment at the imaging center, it’s a good idea to find out if there are any special steps you need to take to prepare. Some exams, such as X-rays, typically require no special preparation. On the other hand, combined PET/CT scans do have several requirements. Always defer to the instructions of the radiologist in San Antonio if they differ from the following do’s and don’ts. CT - Scan

    Do follow the dietary restrictions.

    The day before you go to the imaging center, you’ll need to follow a limited carbohydrate diet if you aren’t diabetic. This means you should limit grain-based foods like bread, pasta, and tortillas. You should also limit potatoes and other starchy vegetables. Avoid sweets entirely, including soda. If you have a morning appointment, you’ll be asked to avoid eating anything after midnight. If you have an appointment scheduled at or afternoon, you can ask the radiologist for additional guidance on dietary restrictions.

    Don’t forget to share your medical information.

    It’s crucial that your radiologist has your full medical history. He or she especially needs to know if you are diabetic, pregnant, possibly pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you are diabetic, you may be asked to have your blood glucose levels as close to 100 mg/dL as possible prior to the test. If your blood sugar is too high, you might have to reschedule the exam.

    Do request a sedative if you think you’ll need it.

    The PET/CT scan requires you to lie on your back and to remain as still as possible for the duration of the scan. If you anticipate having problems meeting this requirement, you should feel free to request an oral sedative. If you do use a sedative, you’ll need a responsible adult to accompany you. You’ll also have to refrain from driving that day.

    Don’t neglect to take prescribed medications.

    If you take prescription medications, you may take them with water only. You should not take over-the-counter medicines like antacids, cough syrups, or cough drops. Avoid mints, candy, and multivitamins.

    Do give plenty of notice for a rescheduling.

    The radioactive tracer required for a PET/CT scan must be specially made shortly before your appointment, since it has a short half-life. If you must reschedule your exam, call the imaging center as soon as possible.

  • Your First Mammogram

    Doctors in San Antonio recommend mammograms as a first line of defense against breast cancer. If your doctor has referred you to an imaging center for your first mammogram , it’s a good idea to call ahead to receive instructions. The radiologist will ask that you arrive at the imaging center wearing a comfortable, two-piece outfit. Bathe the morning of your appointment and avoid applying any lotion, deodorant, or talcum powder to the breasts and the surrounding area. You can bring these products with you to apply afterward.

    Watch this video to hear a doctor explain what you can expect at your first mammogram. She discusses how the radiology technologist will position your breasts, one at a time, on a special platform. The breast is slightly compressed for several seconds to capture the image. After your appointment, you can return to your usual activities right away.

  • Mammography: What You Need to Know

    Mammograms can be lifesaving for women, but if you are not sure what to expect, they can also be scary. In this video from Concord Imaging Center near San Antonio , you can learn exactly what to expect when you get a mammogram so that the experience is not intimidating.

    Approximately one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lives, but early diagnosis through a mammogram can make breast cancer survivable. When you arrive at the imaging center, your mammographer will ask you questions about your breast health before performing the medical imaging exam. During the mammogram, your breasts will be compressed so that a clear image of the breast tissue can be taken. The compression only lasts for seconds, and while it may be uncomfortable, most women do not find it painful. Remember that your mammographer is committed to making the experience as easy for you as possible, so speak up if you have questions or are anxious about the procedure.

  • Getting Over Your Nervousness About Your First Mammogram

    Doctors recommend that most women begin having mammograms annually when they turn 40 and earlier or more often if they have certain risk factors. If your doctor refers you to an imaging center in San Antonio for your first mammogram, it is natural to have some nervousness about what to expect. Fortunately, most women find mammograms much easier than they have imaged them. If you are feeling nervous about your mammogram, here are some ways to cope with your anxiousness. mammogram - imaging

    Speak Up

    Sometimes, knowledge is the best way to overcome nervousness. When your doctor refers you for your mammogram, ask him or her to explain what to expect. The staff at your imaging center can also explain the process to you. By going into the mammogram with an understanding of the process, you can feel more confident about your appointment. If your anxiety revolves around the test results and the prospect of finding out that you have breast cancer or another health issue, ask your doctor to tell you exactly when you can expect to hear from him or her.

    Talk to Your Friends

    Sometimes, there is nothing as comforting as hearing someone you trust explain her own mammogram experiences to you. Most women have anxiety about getting their first mammograms and then discover that the test is fast and easy and only causes a small amount of discomfort if it causes any at all. You can even ask a friend to go with you to help keep your nerves under control.

    Tell the Imaging Center Staff

    It can be helpful to tell the imaging center staff that it is your first mammogram and that you are nervous about the experience. They will be more than willing to explain the entire process to you and to go slowly, telling you want to expect at each stage. You may be surprised how quickly the test is over when you feel comfortable and let go of your nervousness about the procedure.

  • What Are Some Common Reasons for CT Scans?

    Sometimes referred to as CAT scans, CT scans are powerful tools used to create internal images of a patient’s body. The scan is non-invasive and painless, and the results are used by doctors to diagnose and treat a range of conditions. The following are a few examples of why your doctor may order a CT scan in San Antonio : ct - scan

    Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas, which is an organ that is responsible for producing insulin and digestive enzymes. Often, acute pancreatitis is a result of gallstones, consuming large amounts of alcohol, infections, high triglycerides, injury, or some types of medications. This condition typically causes symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, sweating, rapid heart rate, fever, jaundice, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and shock. To help diagnose pancreatitis, doctors sometimes send patients to an imaging center for a CT scan.

    Appendicitis

    Attached to your large intestine and forming a 3.5” tube of tissue is your appendix. When this organ becomes inflamed, the result is appendicitis. Many medical professionals consider the appendix to be redundant, and individuals can live with theirs removed without any apparent consequences. The most common symptom of appendicitis is pain in the lower right abdomen. Once an appendix becomes inflamed, it usually needs to be removed to prevent it from bursting or perforating. To help determine if your symptoms are due to your appendix, your doctor may have you get a CT scan.

    Diverticulitis

    Most commonly occurring in the lower part of the large intestine, diverticulosis describes the formation of little pockets in the lining of the bowel. Diverticulosis develops when gas, waste, or liquid puts pressure on weakened spots in the walls of the intestine, creating small sacks called diverticula. Diverticulosis has no major symptoms but when one or more diverticula become inflamed or infected, this can cause the person to experience chills, fever, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, or abdominal tenderness, and is referred to as diverticulitis. If your doctor suspects that you have this condition, then she may have you visit an imaging center for a CT scan.

  • Tips for Anxious MRI Patients

    MRI scans are not painful, but many patients still dread the thought of them. Because MRIs generally involve lying completely still on a table that slides into an imaging machine, patients can be overwhelmed by fears of claustrophobia. Fortunately, there are many steps anxious patients to calm their nerves when they are scheduled for an MRI scan in San Antonio . Follow this advice to make your MRI, or any medical imaging test, as comfortable as possible. MRI - test

    Tell the MRI Team

    If you are nervous about your MRI, be sure the medical imaging team is aware of your fears. They can answer any questions you have and go slowly to be sure you are as comfortable as possible during each step of the scan. Any time you have a concern during the MRI, use the intercom to communicate with the technologist. Many people find that simply hearing someone’s voice and feeling that connection to someone outside of the machine makes them feel calm. Keep in mind that your technologist is there for your comfort and peace of mind. He or she will reposition you if you are uncomfortable, and if you simply can’t complete the test, the technician will gladly help you out of the machine.

    Use Headphones

    Distraction can be a powerful tool when you’re fearful about your MRI. Many MRI operators offer headphones so you can listen to music during the test. Take advantage of the headphones to block the sound of the machine and to take your mind off the small space. Try to close your eyes and concentrate on the songs instead of the test to get your mind off your fear.

    Be Kind to Yourself

    Many people are fearful of MRI tests, so if you are feeling anxious, you’re not alone. Don’t compound your stress by trying to ignore your feelings or berating yourself for your anxieties. Ask for as much help you as you need and go as slowly as you need to avoid introducing unnecessary stress for yourself into the process.

  • What to Expect During a Needle-Guided Biopsy

    Your health is important, which is why it’s essential to visit your doctor on a regular basis. If you or your doctor notice a lump or other abnormality during a self-exam, CT scan, mammogram, or other procedure, you may need to visit an imaging center in San Antonio . There are a number of tests that can be done to determine the nature of the abnormality, and whether it will need further treatment. A needle-guided biopsy is typically performed on lumps located close to the skin’s surface, and is used to diagnose or rule out conditions such as cancer. Read on to learn what you can expect during a needle-guided biopsy.

    Before the Procedure

    Discussing Mammogram Results Once your doctor determines that a needle-guided biopsy is the right procedure to use, you may be instructed to stop taking certain medications a few days before the biopsy. Typically, you should not eat or drink anything leading up to the procedure. At the imaging center, your caregiver will make sure the area being tested is clean, and you may receive a numbing injection to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure.

    During the Procedure

    The purpose of a needle-guided biopsy is to obtain a sample of fluid or tissue from the abnormal area so that it can be examined. Your caregiver may use ultrasound to pinpoint the exact path of the needle, which is inserted into the skin in the affected area. Once the needle is in the right place, the sample can be obtained and will be ready for testing. Your doctor may examine the sample immediately to make sure it is viable so you don’t have to return to the imaging center to have the rest redone.

    After the Procedure

    A needle-guided biopsy should not take more than 10 minutes to be completed. You may need to have someone else drive you home depending on the location of the biopsy and the sedation used. While some people have a bit of swelling or soreness after the procedure, over-the-counter medications are typically strong enough to make you feel comfortable.