Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging
Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses imaging technology to diagnose and treat disease. OMC uses all forms of radiant energy (sound, light, and particle) to diagnose medical conditions, including ultrasound, x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear diagnostic imaging, and computed tomography (CT). All OMC outpatient clinics (except FastCare/Skyway locations) have basic radiology equipment. OMC's hospital and Rochester Northwest clinic have advanced radiology equipment.
Click on any of the services below to read a brief description:
An ultrasound machine creates images that allow various organs in the body to be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these reflected waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with an x-ray or CT scan, there is no ionizing radiation exposure with this test. Ultrasound tests may be done in OMC's radiology or Ob/Gyn departments.
X-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. X-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of your body. The images show the parts of your body in different shades of black and white. This is because different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less, and look gray. Air absorbs the least, so lungs look black.
The most familiar use of x-rays is checking for broken bones, but x-rays are also used in other ways. For example, chest x-rays can spot pneumonia. Mammograms use x-rays to look for breast cancer.
When you have an x-ray, you may wear a lead apron to protect certain parts of your body. The amount of radiation you get from an x-ray is small. For example, a chest x-ray gives out a radiation dose similar to the amount of radiation you're naturally exposed to from the environment over 10 days.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. Healthcare providers use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumors. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.
Before you get a scan, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or have metal/electronic devices inside your body (e.g., a cardiac pacemaker, shrapnel, or a metal artificial joint).
Computed Tomography (CT)
Computerized tomography (CT) combines a series of X-ray views taken from many different angles, then processed by a computer, to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body.
The resulting images can be compared to looking down at single slices of bread from a loaf. Your healthcare provider will be able to look at each of these "slices" individually or perform additional visualization to view your body from different angles. In some cases, CT images can be combined to create 3-D images. CT scan images can provide much more information than do plain X-rays.
A CT scan has many uses, but is particularly well suited to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly all parts of the body.
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can be used to check for breast cancer.
A screening mammography is the type of mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms. It can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 70. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 or older have screening mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
Nuclear medicine is imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of disease. It also can be used to treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders, and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they can identify disease in its earliest stages. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and are usually painless.