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.
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.
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.
Imaging centers in San Antonio can perform PET scans to detect cancer, and monitor its progression or treatment. This medical imaging test can also allow doctors to monitor blood flow to the heart. When you watch this video, you’ll see a simple animation that explains the technology behind PET scans.
PET scans, or positron emission tomography tests, involve the introduction of radioactive tracers into the body. These tracers bind to certain sugars or proteins. The radioactive isotope produces positrons. As these positrons interact with electrons, both of these particles are destroyed and 2 photons are released. The PET scanner detects the photons and uses advanced software to create 3D images with this information.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
X-rays are among the most well-known medical imaging exams. Other types of medical imaging exams use X-ray technology, such as CT scans, but standard bone X-rays most frequently come to mind when people hear this term. X-rays are often performed at hospitals, such as when a patient arrives at the ER with injuries, but some clinics lack on-site imaging capabilities and may refer their patients to an imaging center instead. A patient may also be referred to an imaging center near San Antonio for non-emergent X-rays .
X-rays can depict bones well, but not other structures.
X-rays are exceptionally accurate for depicting the details of the bone structure. However, they aren’t terribly useful for evaluating the soft tissues of the body, which include the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. This is why orthopedic specialists might request an MRI instead of a bone X-ray. An MRI allows a better examination of the various structures of the joints and spine. MRIs are also useful for detecting very tiny bone contusions that might not show up on X-rays.
Bone X-rays are helpful for more than diagnosing fractures.
Most people undergo multiple X-rays during the course of their lifetime. This technology is routinely used in dental offices, for instance, where it helps dentists find tooth decay. But in addition to its dental uses and its helpfulness in diagnosing bone fractures, X-rays are useful for other reasons. X-rays allow doctors to evaluate patients suspected of having arthritis, bone cancer, bone infections, and bone spurs. They are frequently used by orthopedic surgeons who are planning surgeries, such as spinal fusions and joint replacements.
X-rays are safe and painless.
Most medical procedures do carry certain risks, and X-rays are no exception. However, the risk associated with the radiation exposure is quite low, especially these days. That’s because state-of-the-art imaging centers use modern X-ray equipment that enables the radiologists to use the lowest possible dose of radiation for each X-ray. Furthermore, the part of the patient’s body that is not being examined is covered with a lead apron to shield against radiation. The risk is greater for women who are pregnant, which is why radiologists routinely ask female patients if they are pregnant or could be pregnant.
Concord Imaging in San Antonio is proud to provide compassionate services to patients throughout our community. We are a freestanding imaging center that is committed to making our state-of-the-art technology accessible and affordable. Even if you do have health insurance, affordability is a key factor when choosing an imaging center. Many health insurance plans feature high deductibles, which means you could end up all or most of the cost of an exam out of pocket.
Concord Imaging is different. We’re able to offer low-cost CAT scans and PET scans, thanks to our low contracted rates with our patients’ insurance carriers. Remember that even if your physician refers you to a different imaging center, you have the right to request a referral to us instead. Our affordability is just one reason why so many patients in San Antonio choose our imaging center. Our entire staff is firmly dedicated to giving each patient the best possible care. You’ll find that it truly does make a difference to have diagnostic testing done by courteous, caring staff within a pleasant ambience.
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