Diagnostic Imaging (X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT, MRI, Bone Density, Mammography, Nuclear Medicine)
Diagnostic Imaging provides imaging services using various means of producing "pictures" to be "read" by a radiologist. A radiologist is a doctor who has had special training in image interpretation. The pictures allow the doctor to detect cancer, pneumonia, a broken bone, etc.
The McLaren Imaging Center offers all digital technology including mammography, computer-aided detection Systems (CAD), and a 64 slice CT-Scanner. Other services include general imaging, ultrasound technology, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine. All imaging completed for patients at the site can be easily accessible to their physicians through a special website portal where images and results are made available on-line to be viewed by computer. Our fully trained staff cares for patients including fellowship trained radiologists who are on-site.
MRI services are available at a separate location, see the MRI section below.
*Allergies - Some studies listed will involve contrast injection. Let the office staff know if you have any allergies prior to your appointment.
X-Rays are performed at the McLaren Imaging Center during regular business hours and no appointment is necessary.
IVP - An Intravenous Pyelogram, or IVP, is a diagnostic procedure which uses a "contrast agent" and x-rays to obtain clear pictures of your urinary tract. As the contrast agent travels through your bloodstream, it passes through your urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, making it possible to take permanent x-ray images of these organs. To prepare for the procedure you must drink 1 1/2oz of Fleets Phosphosoda and 1 full glass of water. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water. Your dinner the night before can only consist of clear liquids and nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
A screening for osteoporosis. No preparation time is needed and the examination takes approximately 10 minutes. The procedure determines bone mass. Bone mineral measurements are very highly correlated to predict the potential for bone fractures.
Nuclear medicine is the use of very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and, sometimes, treat disease. Nuclear medicine can provide accurate images of specific areas of the body; valuable information about how your body is working; and therapy to fight some diseases.
Nuclear medicine -
- Carries about the same risk as a common x-ray. Only tiny amounts of short-lived radioactive material are used.
- Is effective. Nuclear medicine can detect a wide variety of conditions and illnesses, such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer and infection.
Nuclear medicine works by -
- Giving the patient a radioactive material called an isotope. Depending on the test, the material may be given by injection or IV; capsules; liquid; special tubing; or inhalation.
- The isotope travels to certain areas of the body. The isotope gives off energy called gamma rays - a special form of radiation. This energy can only be seen by special cameras and equipment in nuclear medicine.
- The equipment does not give off radiation.
- A nuclear medicine physician reviews pictures and readings and results are sent to your physician. Your physician reviews the results with you.
Ultrasound is the use of sound waves to see inside the body. Ultrasound is used to study specific areas of the body, and to check the health of an unborn baby. Ultrasound can help diagnose many medical conditions, such as kidney disease, gallbladder disease, cancer and blood clots.
Ultrasound is a medical tool considered -
- Simple: It involves little or no discomfort, and little patient preparation.
- Effective: Ultrasound is often used in place of more exam methods or surgery.
- Safe: There are no known side effects. Ultrasound does not require radiation, special dyes or anesthesia.
Ultrasound works by -
- A transducer: This is a small microphone-like device placed over the area being examined.
- Sound Waves: Sound waves pass harmlessly through the skin from the transducer. Sounds waves bounce off from certain organs or tissues and create "echoes."
- Echoes: Echoes are reflected back through the transducer making the picture.
- TV Monitor: A TV monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes to electrical signals. These moving images may be viewed immediately, and recorded or photographed for further study.
During an ultrasound exam -
- The technologist will have you change into a hospital gown and position you on the exam table.
- Will apply a gel or liquid to the skin of the area being examined to improve image quality.
- Will pass the transducer several times over the area being examined. Depending on the exam, you may have to stay still, change positions, hold your breath, or do simple breathing exercises.
- After the exam, the technologist washes off the gel or liquid, and you are ready to get dressed.
- The radiologist will review the exam and report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you.
This procedure allows doctors to examine the inside of the uterus and check for abnormalties with the use of ultrasound, which uses sound waves to produce image. This type of ultrasound is performed by inserting a ultrasound probe into the vagina.
digital mammography from Hologic® has been added to the comprehensive diagnostic services dedicated to women and the early detection of breast cancer at the McLaren Imaging Center. SeleniaTM
incorporates revolutionary imaging technology that provides incredibly sharp images.
From the patient's point of view, a digital mammogram is like traditional film screen mammography. Both use x-ray to generate images of the breast. However, instead of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses a special detector to capture and convert x-ray energy into a digital image. The resulting digital images are immediately available to the radiologist for diagnosis.
The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They can also adjust brightness and contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses, and other changes that may be signs of early cancer. McLaren's goal is to provide the best possible care to women.
Because there is no waiting for film to be developed it can significantly reduce the time patients spend in the breast center, as well as reduce the need for repeat exams due to under or over exposure. Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films, which can be misfiled or lost in transit.
Mammotome (minimally invasive breast biopsy)-The Mammotome is an outpatient breast biopsy procedure that is performed in less than an hour and allows women to return to their normal routine immediately afterwards. They leave with only a small bandage that covers an incision about the size of a match head.
Procedures with the Mammotome involve the one-time insertion of a probe directly into the area of the breast that appeared suspicious, based on a physical exam or a mammogram finding. The doctor guides the probe through the use of ultrasound or stereotactic imaging systems. Once inside, the Mammotome gently vacuums, cuts and removes tissue for examination.
Ultrasound guided breast biopsy-This is an outpatient breast biopsy similar to mammotome (minimally invasive breast biopsy) only done under ultrasound guidance.
Wire Localization of the Breast-This is a diagnostic procedure in which a special needle and X-rays are used to identify the precise location of abnormal breast tissue for the purpose of performing a breast biopsy.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - The Most Powerful MRI Technology in the World Available in this Area Only at McLaren Flint-MRI
Providing the best care to patients includes having the most complete diagnostic imaging technology available with prompt and trusted results.
McLaren Flint-MRI, located at 750 Ballenger Rd. in Flint, offers access to state-of-the-art MRI imaging, supported by highly experienced, board-certified radiologists and dedicated and highly-trained staff.
McLaren MRI features the most advanced MRI system in the area- the Discovery MR750 3.0T by GE Healthcare. The result is a significantly enhanced imaging performance which can lead to improved diagnosis and better patient care.
The system, equipped with a 3.0 Tesla magnet, allows for a faster, easier, and more comfortable MRI experience. The 3T MRI is currently the gold standard in orthopedic and neuro-imaging. With 3T MRI, a scan with three-dimensional imaging can be done in less than 30 minutes, compared to two or three times that long on conventional systems. The 3T MRI also detects more signals from tissues and organs, resulting in sharper, clearer images.
Major benefits of the 3T Imaging system include:
- Increased magnet strength over standard MRI systems resulting in the ability to scan faster and to scan with higher detail.
- Less stress. Reduces patient anxiety by preparing the exam outside the scan room on the detachable Express Patient Table.
- Precise imaging tools such as motion-correction techniques and new non-contrast applications that deliver reliable, reproducible results virtually every time.
- More pleasant exam. Keeps patients refreshed and comfortable by adjusting the airflow and lighting in the bore with multiple control settings.
- Earlier diagnosis and treatment. The system provides visualization of microscopic detail that can aid our board-certified radiologists in detecting abnormalities quicker and more effectively, which can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
McLaren-MRI also maintains a second MRI unit, which is the only high field, open bore MRI unit available in central Michigan. Open MRI units are significantly less confining than standard units. They are specifically designed to reduce anxiety during testing for patients that are claustrophobic, elderly or of large stature. The high field, open MRI serves a vast range of applications and provides advanced image quality.
McLaren is committed to providing the highest level of quality in imaging services and service satisfaction. Under the medical direction of Diagnostic Radiology Associates, McLaren Imaging Services have received accreditation by the American College of Radiology for all services offered. Our team of experienced, board-certified radiologists includes fellowship and subspecialty trained physicians who review and evaluate the images and promptly deliver a detailed report.
Same-day appointments are available. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call McLaren Flint - MRI at (810) 235-9311.
To schedule an MRI contact McLaren Flint-MRI, 750 S. Ballenger Hwy., Flint, MI 48532 at 810-235-9311.
Arthrogram-An arthrogram can be performed on any joint. The exam injects an x-ray dye into the joint space. An orthopedic surgeon or radiologist sometimes performs the exam. If you are a woman of childbearing age and think you might be pregnant, tell you doctor and technologist prior to the exam.
- No restrictions prior to exam.
- Preliminary film taken of the affected joint. Please bring previous x-rays of this joint to the exam.
- Skin is wiped with a cleaning solution. A numbing medication is injected into the skin. A needle is placed into the joint space. Needle location is checked under x-ray fluoroscope.
- Once needle is correctly placed, the x-ray dye is injected into the joint space, and the needle is removed.
- Often the joint is exercised or moved to help get the dye all around the joint area.
- X-rays are taken of the joint.
- Once the radiologist reviews the films, the exam is complete. It is possible the area may be sore and ache. Over-the-counter analgesics may be taken for pain relief. Call your doctor if you develop excessive pain or swelling after the procedure.
- The radiologist sends the report to your doctor, who will discuss the results with you.
Computerized tomography is a sophisticated method of taking x-rays utilizing computer technology. It allows the doctor to view anatomy using "thin slice imaging." McLaren Flint and McLaren Imaging Center use Philips Medical Systems Technology, providing extremely detailed images, and rapid scanning time. For physicians who want state-of-the-science technology, McLaren Flint Diagnostic Imaging can provide superior service.
Computed Tomography Scan CT-uses x-rays to make a picture frequently described as a "slice". CT scans can be performed on the head, neck, pelvis, abdomen, spine and extremities. The radiologist provides a written report to your physician, and your physician will review the results with you.
- For many CT procedures, you will be asked to not eat or drink for several hours prior to the test. See below for specific preparation for specific CT scans.
- For the CT scan, you will lie on a table that moves into a doughnut-shaped hole. As you lie still, the x-ray tube moves around you inside the doughnut-shaped hole. The procedure usually takes five to 20 minutes. For some procedures, you may be asked to drink a contrast material or receive an x-ray dye injection.
- Once the pictures have been reviewed, the procedure is complete.
- If you are a woman of childbearing age and think you might be pregnant, please tell the technologist prior to the procedure.
This procedure involves taking an x-ray to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open and to see if the shape of the uterine cavity is normal. A device called a cannula is placed into the opening of the cervix. The physician then gently fills the uterus with a liquid containing iodine (contrast) through the cannula. The contrast then enters the tubes, outlines the length of the tubes, and spills out their ends if they are open. Any abnormalities in the uterine cavity or fallopian tubes will be visible on a monitor.
This x-ray studies your colon, using barium - a white liquid that allows the colon to be visualized on x-ray film. The radiologist interprets the x-ray and reports the results to your doctor. Your doctor will talk with you about the results.
Usually, a barium enema is an outpatient procedure. A barium enema may take approximately 30-45 minutes. If you know you have any allergy, are taking prescription medications, or are of childbearing age and think you may be pregnant, please inform your doctor and the radiologist prior to the procedure.
- A radiologist performs the exam with a fluoroscope.
- The technologist inserts a rectal tube, so the barium can flow into the colon. Air may or may not be administered.
- You may feel cramping and full in your abdomen. Slow, deep breaths will help you relax.
- During the exam, the machine and x-ray table will move and you will be asked to roll in various positions.
- After the fluoroscopic exam, additional radiographs will be taken. After the films are reviewed by the radiologist, you will go to the restroom to expel the barium and air.
- Another film will be taken after you have used the bathroom.
- Return to your normal diet at home, as directed by your physician. The barium should normally pass through your colon, although your physician may prescribe a laxative. If you do not have a bowel movement in three days, contact your physician.
A cystogram is an x-ray study of the urinary bladder. The study places a catheter into the bladder, and is used to place an x-ray dye into the bladder. The dye allows the bladder to be viewed under x-ray fluoroscope. The radiologist will interpret the report and send the results to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you. If you are a woman of childbearing age and think you may be pregnant, please tell your doctor or the technologist prior to the test.
- No special preparation or restrictions for this exam.
- The technologist will take a preliminary x-ray of the abdomen.
- A nurse in the radiology department places a catheter into the bladder.
- The radiologist supervises the flow of x-ray dye into the bladder under the x-ray fluoroscope.
- Once the bladder is full, x-rays are taken. You may be asked to move from side to side so all parts of the bladder may be seen.
- Catheter is removed. You may be asked to urinate on the table in a basin or urinal so the radiologist to see all the structures. If you are unable to urinate in a basin or urinal in the procedure room, you will empty your bladder in the bathroom.
- An x-ray is taken once the bladder is empty and the exam is done. Once the x-rays have been reviewed by the radiologist, you may leave.
Small Bowel Series-A small bowel series is an exam of the bowel that connects the stomach to the large bowel or colon. It is sometimes done along with an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series. The radiologist will interpret the exam and send a report to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.
Often, a small bowel series is done as an outpatient procedure. The length of exam varies from person to person, and can take from two to 8 hours. If you are a woman of childbearing age and think you might be pregnant, let your doctor or technologist know prior to the exam.
During your small bowel series:
- You will be asked to wear a hospital gown, and a preliminary x-ray will be taken of your abdomen.
- You will be asked to drink two cups of barium. If you are also having an upper gastrointestinal series, you will drink another cup after your UGI films. The barium coats the walls of the small bowel so they can be seen under x-ray.
- X-ray films will be taken at specific times as the barium travels through the small bowel until it reaches the large bowel or colon. That time period differs from person to person. Once the barium reaches the large bowel or colon, the exam is complete.
- You will be asked to drink plenty of fluids over the next few days to flush the barium out of your system. Some patients also like to take a mild laxative. Any white, chalky substances in your bowel are from the barium.
Upper Gastrointestinal Series (UGI)-An upper GI series is an x-ray examination of the esophagus and stomach, using barium to coat the stomach wall so it may be examined under x-ray. An upper GI exam helps your doctor make a diagnosis. The radiologist interprets the films and reports the results to your doctor. Your doctor reviews the results with you.
Most often, an upper GI series is an outpatient procedure, although it may be performed during inpatient care. If you know you have an allergy of any kind, are taking prescription medications, or are a woman of childbearing age and think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor prior to the examination.
Video Esophogram-This procedure is similar to a UGI
Myelogram-A myelogram is an x-ray to evaluate the spinal canal. A spinal tap is used to introduce an x-ray dye into the spinal canal. X-ray pictures are taken with the fluoroscope. This procedure is generally performed by the radiologist. After the pictures are completed, a CT scan of the target spinal areas is performed.
Pain Management Procedures
- CeliacAxis Block
- Epidural Injections
- Sacroiliac Joint Injection
- Facet Joint Injection
McLaren Flint offers positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scanning technology that combines a diagnostic PET scan and a low dose non diagnostic CT into one unit to provide faster scan times and higher-quality images. PET-CT helps in the early diagnosis of cancer.
- PET (positron emission tomography) looks at how the cells in your body process a radioactive tracer material that you have injected.
- CT (computed tomography) uses x-ray technology to produce detailed images.
- By combining two scans, a PET-CT shows both your anatomy and how your cells are behaving.
- The exam may take two hours or more. Actual scanning time is 25 to 35 minutes.
- Every exam is interpreted by a radiologist.
- We use the latest technology and the capabilities of our state-of-the-art scanners play a key role in tailoring each exam to your specific needs and reduce radiation exposure.
What is a PET-CT exam?
What to Expect BEFORE a PET-CT Exam
What to Expect DURING a PET-CT Exam
What to Expect AFTER a PET-CT Exam
What is a PET-CT exam?
PET-CT exam combines two types of scans to help pinpoint abnormal activity in the body.
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan creates an image of your body's metabolic activity and shows the rate at which your body's cells break down and use sugar (glucose). This is done by injecting a small amount of radioactive material into your blood stream and waiting for it to disperse to the area of focus. The PET scan is then performed to detect the radioisotope and creates an image on the computer screen.
A CT (computed tomography) scan is a non-invasive medical test that uses special x-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied.
A PET-CT combines the functional information from a PET scan with the anatomical information from a CT scan. When a CT scan is superimposed over a PET scan, doctors can pinpoint the exact location of abnormal activity. They can also see the level and extent of that activity. Even when an abnormal growth is not yet visible on a CT scan, the PET scan may show the abnormal activity.
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PET-CT scans are commonly used to find changes in the body during the early stages of disease and for staging and restaging of cancers.
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- CT: CT examinations improve healthcare and are an essential part of diagnosis and treatment planning. However, because there are risks associated with the level of radiation exposure during a CT, the medical benefit of conducting the exam should always outweigh any risks involved. No direct data has shown that CT examinations are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Extrapolations from studies of radiation exposure suggest there is a very small incremental risk.
At McLaren Clarkston, we pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure without giving up image quality. We use many strategies to reduce radiation exposure, from employing the latest technology to customizing exams for each patient.
- PET: The dose of radiotracer administered is small, resulting in minimal radiation exposure. Nuclear medicine has been used for more than five decades and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure. Allergic reactions to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare.
Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding. Some of the pharmaceuticals that are used for the study can pass into the mother's milk and subsequently be consumed by the child. To avoid this possibility, it is important that a nursing mother inform her physician and the nuclear medicine technologist about this before the examination begins. Usually, you will be asked to discontinue breast-feeding for a short while, pump your breasts in the interim and discard the milk.
What to Expect BEFORE a PET-CT Exam
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- Medications: Most claustrophobic patients are able to tolerate a PET-CT or PET scan. Talk to your physician if you think you need some additional anti-anxiety medication for the scan. We cannot prescribe or supply medication.
- Food and drink: Do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the exam. If your physician has told you to take your regular medicine, take it with water. If you are diabetic, do not drink or eat anything for at least four hours prior to your scan. Take your diabetic medication as usual. If your physician has told you to take your regular medicine, take it with water. Avoid candies, gum, or beverages other than water.
- Exercise: Do not exercise for at least 24 hours before the exam.
- When to arrive: Check in 10 minutes before your appointment time.
- What to wear: Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes with no metal (zippers, under wire bras, etc.). Leave your watch, jewelry, and other valuables at home.
- Intravenous preparation: The technologist will place an IV in your arm or hand prior to the test.
What to Expect DURING a PET-CT Exam
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- Scanning: You will be required to lie flat with your arms raised above your head. If you think you will be unable to keep your arms above your head for approximately 35 minutes, please notify the technologist.
- Length of exam: You should plan to be here for approximately 2-3 hours. The actual scanning and preparation time varies with the type of scan you are having.
What to Expect AFTER a PET-CT Exam
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- Instructions: You can drive and resume normal activities immediately after leaving, unless you have taken medication to relax you. It is important that you drink as much water or fluids as possible for the rest of the day and empty your bladder as often as possible. This will result in a more rapid clearance of radioactivity from your body.
- Exam results: All PET-CT exams at McLaren Flint are interpreted by a radiologist. Your referring physician will communicate these results to you.
Radiologists on Staff at McLaren Flint