An X-ray creates images of the structures inside the body. X-rays provide valuable information to radiologists about your health and play an important role in diagnosis. X-rays of the chest, abdomen, spine, sinuses and extremities are all very common X-ray tests performed.
Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone density. It is a non-invasive test used most commonly to diagnose and track the treatment of osteoporosis. A DEXA scan can also be used to assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures. The exam is usually done in an out-patient settings and takes about 30 minutes.
Ultrasound scanning, or sonography, creates images of internal body organs using high frequency sound waves which are recorded and displayed as images on a monitor. Ultrasound is used to evaluate multiple body parts including blood vessels, uterus/ovaries, liver, kidneys and gallbladder.
A CT scan can provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. Using a computer CT produces cross sectional images of all body parts providing information about the internal organs, bones, and soft tissues that is used to diagnose diseases and disorders. CT scanning is often used to detect many different types of cancer and evaluate the change in tumor size with therapy. The test is noninvasive but sometimes requires intravenous contrast. The CT scan usually takes 15 to 30 minutes and preparation instructions will be provided to you when your appointment is scheduled.
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Mammography is the best method available for the early detection of breast cancer. A specially trained radiologic technologist will perform the test and your results will be read by a radiologist with expertise and training in mammography. While mammography is an important way to screen for abnormalities in the breast, it is not usually enough to determine if the abnormality is benign or malignant.
In some cases, an abnormal finding on mammography may require further evaluation with a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or MRI of the breast.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends annual mammography for women over 40 or earlier if at high risk.
The Ann B Barshinger Breast Institute at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health is one of the leading Breast Centers in the area. Lancaster Radiology is part of team of professionals who work to provide a comprehensive breast health and treatment program.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a procedure that uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed internal images of the body. It is able to produce extremely detailed images of soft tissues, organs and bones without the need for radiation. MRI is especially good at evaluating the soft tissues throughout the body and has become a very valuable tool for detecting cancer, heart and vascular disease, strokes, and disorders of the joints.
The MRI Group has locations that offer Open MRI and Wide Bore MRI. Open MRI can provide a quieter and more comfortable experience for claustrophobic and obese patients.
In addition, The MRI Group at our Lime Street location now has the ability to perform MRI on those patients with pacemakers or defibrillators.
PET is a nuclear medicine exam where images are created after the injection of a radioactive tracer. One hour after injection a CT scan is performed followed by the PET scan itself. The Radiologist views both scans together and determines how the patient’s cells are functioning. PET scans can be used to detect cancer, determine the response of cancer to therapy and evaluate the heart muscle following a heart attack. Instructions on how to prepare for the test are given at the time an appointment is scheduled
General Radiology is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases through the use of x-rays. It is the most common radiology examination and is plays an important role in the diagnosis of many health conditions. The radiation doses from X-ray exams are relatively small and the clinical benefit of an exam far outweighs the risks.
Interventional Radiology is a radiology subspecialty devoted to the imaging, diagnosis and minimally invasive therapy of diseases using imaging guidance including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT), Ultrasound (US) and plain films (X-rays). LRA’s board certified interventionalists are fellowship trained in percutaneous interventional procedures using guided imaging. Interventional procedures are typically performed in hospitals and often replace open surgical procedures. Because there are no large incisions patients generally tolerate these procedures better as there is less pain, a shorter recovery time and less risk.
Screening mammography is performed to detect breast cancer in asymptomatic women over 40 or earlier for women at high risk.
American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recommend that women at average breast cancer risk begin screening at age 40. According to the ACR, screening mammography reduces breast cancer mortality by more than 40% in women aged 40 years and older. Screening mammograms of breast may show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel an abnormality.
Women defined at high risk of breast cancer may require screening earlier than age 40. Some factors for high risk are:
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer – and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends an annual Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening for current or former smokers between the ages of 55 – 80 years who have a 30 “pack-year” history. (Packs Per Day X Years Smoked = Pack Years).
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screening if:
You are 55 to 80 years old:
The US Preventive Services Task Force and all the major medical societies state that screening people with a higher risk of developing lung cancer saves lives. Low-dose CT scans can detect lung abnormalities as small as a grain of rice, which leads to diagnosis of cancer at an earlier stage, when it is treatable.
The Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health CT Lung Screening Program started in 2014, as a joint initiative with radiology, pulmonology and thoracic surgery. Today it is one of the largest lung screening programs in the region.
Screening won’t prevent cancer. And it may not find all lung cancers. But research shows that if people who are at higher risk have this test every year, they can detect the disease earlier and reduce the risk of dying from the disease.
Lung screening is not without its risks. It can show an abnormal result when it turns out there was not any cancer. This is called a false-positive result. This means you may need more tests to make sure you don’t have cancer. These tests may include additional CT scans or invasive testing like a lung biopsy. In a biopsy, the doctor takes a sample of tissue from inside your lung, so it can be looked at under a microscope. A biopsy is the only way to tell if you have lung cancer. If the biopsy finds cancer, you and your doctor will have to decide how or whether to treat it.
Some lung cancers found on CT scans are harmless and would not have caused a problem if they had not been found through screening. But because doctors can’t tell which ones will turn out to be harmless, most will be treated. This means that you may get treatment—including surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy—that you don’t need.
You should discuss lung screening with your physician to determine if screening is right for you.
A heart computerized tomography (CT) scan, also called a calcium-score screening heart scan, is used to find calcium deposits in plaque of people with heart disease. They’re the most effective way to spot atherosclerosis before symptoms develop. The calcium-score screening heart scan takes only a few minutes to perform and does not require injection of a contrast dye, such as iodine. Some kinds of coronary disease don’t show up in a CT scan, so it’s important to remember that this test can’t completely predict things like a heart attack.
Another cardiac screening test is a Cardiac CT angiogram (CTA). It begins with very thin CT images obtained after iodine contrast is injected through an IV. Then a 3-dimensional picture of the blood vessels is created. This technique gives detailed anatomy of the blood vessels and the extent of the plaque. The study gives physicians further information on whether a patient should be sent for an invasive procedure, such as cardiac catheterization.
Talk to your doctor to see if Cardiac Screening is right for you.