If you have been referred to an imaging center in San Antonio for testing, your radiologist will discuss the procedure with you and tell you how to prepare. It’s important for you to alert your radiologist to any conditions or concerns you may have that could interfere with the test. To make sure your medical imaging test is as safe and effective as possible, be sure to discuss these factors with your radiologist.
Your radiologist needs to know if you are pregnant or if you could be pregnant. Some imaging tests and some of the tracers used for imaging tests are not safe for a developing fetus. If you are pregnant, X-rays, CT scans, and nuclear medicine tests may not be safe. Ultrasounds and MRIs are generally considered to be acceptable during pregnancy, but your radiologist and doctor will work together to make the right decision for you.
Some medical imaging tests ask patients to stay in a certain position or enclosed area for an extended period of time. For some people, this can trigger symptoms of claustrophobia. If you are concerned about experiencing claustrophobia during your imaging test, then let your radiologist know. He or she can offer advice that could make you feel more confident about the test. Your doctor may also provide you with a sedative to make the test more comfortable.
Make your radiologist aware of any implanted devices you have, so that he or she can make the appropriate adjustment to your test. Joint replacement implants and breast implants can affect the appearance of your medical imaging test and may interfere with the ability to see certain parts of your anatomy. Some implanted devices, such as pacemakers, are not compatible with certain types of imaging tests, as the tests can disrupt the way the device works. Inform your radiologist about any implanted devices you have, even if they are not in the area of your body that is being scanned.
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.
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.
Radiopharmaceuticals are oral or injectable forms of radiation that are sometimes used during medical imaging tests. If you are referred for a PET scan in San Antonio , a radiopharmaceutical will be administered before your test. The dose of radiation is low and is safe for most people. Before your test, your doctor will weigh the risk of the test versus the benefits of having it, so you can feel confident that taking the radiopharmaceutical is worthwhile. Here are the facts you need to know about the use of radiopharmaceuticals during medical imaging.
Radiopharmaceuticals leave your body quickly.
During a PET scan, you will take a form of radiopharmaceutical called FDG. FDG is a form of glucose that is radioactive. It is highly controlled and tested for safety and has a half-life of about 110 minutes. As a result, the body expels it quickly. The majority of the FDG completely decomposes in the body, and the rest is removed through urine. Unlike some forms of radioactive medicine, there is no need to be sequestered from your family to protect them from radiation. Approximately 90% of the FDG will be gone from your body before you leave the testing center.
The radiopharmaceutical is absorbed by the organ being tested.
During a PET scan, the radiopharmaceutical that is administered is absorbed by the organ your doctor wants to examine. This makes the organ easier to see and helps to highlight any abnormalities. If you have cancer, using a radiopharmaceutical also allows your doctor to see if a tumor is active, rather than just seeing the structure of it, as you can on other imaging tests.
Some patients cannot use radiopharmaceuticals.
In some cases, allergies prevent patients from being able to use radiopharmaceuticals. You may also not be able to use them during breastfeeding or if you are on medications that could trigger a dangerous interaction. Typically, radiopharmaceuticals are safe during pregnancy, but your doctor will make the decision based on your specific health needs.
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.
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.
After being diagnosed with cancer, being aware of your treatment and testing options can be crucial for making informed decisions. For this reason, it can be valuable for you to know the role that your imaging center in San Antonio will play during your cancer treatment. Here, you’ll find information regarding the ways in which imaging might be used for diagnosing, treating, and screening for cancer.
Diagnosing Your Cancer
In many cancer cases, a patient first visits their doctor because of their symptoms, and they are then referred to a medical imaging center. Imaging can be done using a wide range of tools, and the results of these scans and tests give doctors a look at what is affecting a patient’s body, improving their ability to diagnose the problem and develop a treatment plan. Although imaging might play an important part through the whole of your recovery, it can be the most critical during the diagnosis stage.
Evaluating Your Treatment
Throughout this process, your doctor may incorporate additional scanning into your treatment to monitor the cancer and determine how successfully it is being handled. The results of these tests may or may not influence how your doctor proceeds with your treatment. You can anticipate visiting your imaging center several times as you work towards being free of cancer. Some examples of the imaging tools that this may involve are X-rays, PET scans, MRIs, ultrasound, and CT scans.
Screening for Recurrence
Once your treatment is complete and no further signs of cancer are detected, your doctor will explain to you the importance of remaining vigilant. From this point forward, it will be vital for you to watch for any symptoms of returning cancer, and to speak with your doctor and schedule screening tests for relapse as needed. Ongoing attentiveness and getting medical imaging as directed by your doctor will be an essential part of catching cancer early in the case of a recurrence.
Standing for magnetic resonance imaging, an MRI is a test that physicians use to diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions. Are you scheduled for an MRI near San Antonio , but have concerns about the safety of this type of test? If so, then watch this video to learn more about the nature of an MRI scan.
An MRI machine uses a giant magnet to show internal tissues and structures by producing static images, while fMRIs, also called functional MRIs, are used to view brain activity unfolding over time. This allows doctors to see which areas of the brain are activated to perform different tasks. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRIs do not use ionizing radiation, and in studies, the use of these tests have not shown adverse health effects.
Nuclear medicine testing uses a radioactive material to see how the body is processing substances in order to find areas of abnormal processes. Before you undergo a nuclear medicine procedure, your imaging center in San Antonio will give you instructions to help you prepare for your test.
In most cases, there is no special preparation required for nuclear medicine tests. However, the location that is being studied will determine the kind of preparation you need to complete. For instance, if your doctor wants to study your gall bladder, your medical imaging team may ask you to avoid eating before the test so that there are no obstructions. In other cases, you may need to drink extra water before arriving at the imaging center. Generally, you can take all of your medications as normal, but if you have diabetes, alert your imaging center, particularly if you are asked to skip a meal, so that your blood glucose levels can be managed accordingly.
A positive emission tomography scan, or PET scan, is a useful tool for cancer diagnosis and treatment planning. PET scans give your doctor a picture of how the tissues in your body are working and what they look like, so that abnormal areas are easily seen. If you are scheduled for a PET scan in San Antonio , watch this video to learn what to expect.
During a PET scan, you will be given a small amount of radioactive material before undergoing a body scan. The radioactive material will cause cancer cells to appear differently on the images than healthy cells. Using this information, your doctor can see cancerous cells, diagnose the stage of your cancer, and determine how well you cancer treatment is working. A PET scan can be combined with a CT scan or other radiology procedure for the most accurate imaging results.
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