Following are questions we are often asked about the various types of diagnostic imaging:
What is a Breast MRI?
Breast MRI may be used in conjunction with mammography for patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer. It can exclude the presence of other, hidden tumors, determine the extent of the known cancer and differentiate between post-operative scarring and recurrent disease. In addition, breast MRI evaluates implants for possible rupture and offers additional diagnostic information in the case of a questionable mammogram.
What is Mammography?
Mammography, an x-ray of the breast, is used for breast screening. It can detect small calcifications that are often the first sign of breast cancer.
What is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
Stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally invasive alternative to open surgical biopsy. The technique is most useful when mammography shows a mass that cannot be felt or a cluster of microcalcifications (tiny calcium deposits) that are closely grouped together
During the 30- to 60-minute procedure, the woman lies prone on a special table with her breast projecting through an opening. A paddle-shaped instrument compresses the breast during the biopsy and a local anesthetic is administered. Next, a hollow needle is passed through the skin into the suspicious lesion. After the tissue samples are obtained, the skin opening is covered with a dressing. Patients should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after returning home. Most women report little or no pain and no scarring.
What is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and their echoes to provide images of internal structures. Because ultrasound does not involve ionizing radiation, it can be used in circumstances, such as obstetrics, where x-rays might cause harm.
What is a CT Scan or CAT Scan?
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT Scan) uses special x-ray equipment to provide highly detailed images of the internal organs. People with pacemakers or cardioverter defibrillators can safely undergo CT scanning.
What is the difference with Open MRI?
Like conventional MRI, open MRI uses magnets, radio waves and computer photographic techniques to obtain clear images of the body's internal structures. Unlike conventional MRI, however, open MRI allows patients to see and talk to imaging personnel - even hold hands with a loved one during the exam. Not all procedures can be performed in an open MRI, however. Consult your physician to see if the open MRI is right for you.
What is Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scanning?
PET measures the body's metabolic activity to produce three-dimensional images that help physicians differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue.
First, the patient is injected with a radioactive form of glucose (sugar) which is metabolized by the body. This substance emits signals which are picked up by the PET scanner. Next, a computer assembles these emissions into images. Cancer cells, for example, show up more brightly on the scan because they are more metabolically active. In cardiovascular or neurologic disorders, PET identifies problem areas by picking up indications of reduced metabolic activity.
Patients undergoing the PET scan receive the amount of radiation in approximately two chest x-rays.
What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional radiologists use imaging techniques to perform percutaneous (through the skin) diagnostic and treatment procedures. Many of these therapeutic applications offer an alternative to open surgery and can even eliminate the need for hospitalization. Its many uses include angiography, which detects blood vessel blockages and angioplasty, a procedure which can eliminate these blockages and restore adequate blood flow; embolization or the insertion of a substance through a catheter to stop excessive bleeding; insertion of gastrostomy (stomach) tube or feeding tube for patients unable to take food by mouth; intravascular ultrasound, the use of ultrasound to image the inside of blood vessels; needle biopsies; insertion of blood clot filters which can catch blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the lungs; catheter insertions for chemotherapy, nutritional support or hemodialysis.