Diagnostic Imaging in Alabama
Clearview's imaging department conducts the studies needed to monitor your cancer and its response to treatment. It is important when having studies done at our imaging center that you wear comfortable clothing and minimal jewelry. Please note that you should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to prevent delays or rescheduling of your test.
Please notify our staff if any of the following apply:
- You are diabetic
- Your are claustrophobic
- You have kidney problems or other major medical problems
- You are currently under treatment
- You are pregnant
- You have a power port
You will receive the results of your imaging studies at your next scheduled appointment. DO NOT call for your scan results, as we are unable to provide this information over the phone. It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep your follow up appointment with your physician. During that appointment our physicians will explain to you in detail the results of your studies and answer any questions that you may have regarding the studies.
The following are some of the most common tests we administer:
CT, or Computed Tomography, scan is a series of X-rays that show the cross sectional anatomy of bones and tissues. CT scans do expose you to radiation. If you are pregnant you should avoid this exam. You may be given IV contrast or oral contrast to enhance the quality of your images. If you have had a CT scan with IV contrast and have had an allergic reaction, please notify your physician prior to scheduling a CT scan. Most CT scans take 20-30 minutes to complete but can take longer depending on the type of scan your physician ordered.
MRI. or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, uses a magnetic field and radio waves, not radiation, to make detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Some types of MRI's use a contrast, Gadolinium, to enhance the images. Gadolinium rarely causes allergic reactions because it does not contain iodine. MRI scans take about an hour but can take up to 2 hours depending on the type of study ordered by your physician. Claustrophobia can be an issue, so please talk to your physician prior to scheduling an MRI scan.
Nuclear Medicine uses radioactive tracers to make images of the body's functions. Radioactive tracers are given by IV or port only. This scan will expose you to radiation. Sophisticated equipment detects the injected tracer allowing us to evaluate the physiological function of the area of interest. Most scans take approximately 40 minutes with the exception of the bone scan. If you are having a bone scan, you will be injected with a radioactive tracer and imaged 3 hours post injection.
PET, or Positron Emission Tomography is a nuclear medicine technique which produces three dimensional images that allow the doctor to look at the normal and abnormal cells in your body. A short lived radioactive isotope is administered through an IV for this scan. This scan will expose you to radiation. If you are pregnant, you should avoid this exam. Fortunately, there are no reactions to this tracer because it is a radioactive isotope, not a dye. There is a waiting period while the tracer is deposited in the cells. The tracer uptake process takes about an hour. The actual PET scan takes about 20-30 minutes. The entire process takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours from start to finish.
Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (X-ray). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. The ultrasound process takes approximately 30 minutes.
An X-ray, or radiograph, is a painless way of visualizing structures within your body, particularly your bones. X-rays will aid your physician in diagnosing and treating certain conditions and diseases. This test will expose you to a small amount of radiation; however, there is no IV or oral contrast involved. Usually X-rays take about 20 minutes to complete, but can take up to 45 minutes for a skeletal survey.