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Our radiology department offers a wide-range of services, including CT scans, bone density testing, ultrasound and echocardiogram testing, as well as chest, head, spine and extremity X-rays.
Computed Tomography (CT)
A CT scanner is a painless, sophisticated x-ray system that uses a computer and a rotating x-ray device to create detailed, cross-sectional images or slices of organs and other body structures. These images are then sent from the computer to the radiologist to make a diagnosis from these images.
CT imaging is considered a safe examination. While CT does involve x-rays, the diagnostic benefits are usually considered to outweigh the risks of x-ray exposure.
CT is often the preferred method for diagnosing head and spine injuries, lung and liver disease, cancer, tumors, blood clots, internal bleeding and other diseases and illnesses. The images allow the radiologist to confirm the presence of a tumor and measure its size, precise location and the extent of the tumor's involvement with other nearby tissue.
The 16 slice CT scanner at Schleicher County Medical Center decreases the average CT exam time and reduces the radiation exposure to the patient due to its enhanced collimation. This means that each patient undergoing a CT scan will experience a shorter exam which may lead to an even more rapid diagnosis. Due to its speed and sensitivity, CT is designed to secure detailed images of patients who may not be able to be imaged in MRI machines (due to metal or pacemakers).
Some CT exams require a contrast agent to enhance the pictures taken by the CT scanner. You will receive special instructions if your exam requires an oral or intravenous contrast agent in advance.
Diagnostic x-rays are routine diagnostic exams that are done by using electromagnetic radiation directed at a certain body structure to record an image onto a digital film plate. Digital radiography is a filmless X-ray image capture. Instead of using film, the X-ray image is recorded on a plate and made available as a digital file that can be saved as part of the patient's medical record.
On an X-ray, the parts of your body appear light or dark due to the different rates that your tissues absorb the X-rays. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white on the image. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less, and look gray. Air absorbs least, so lungs look black.
X-ray examination is painless, fast and easy. The amount of radiation exposure you receive during an x-ray examination is small.
Barium is used to better look at the digestive tract on X-rays and CAT Scans by coating the walls of the stomach and intestine. Iodine based solutions (dye) are mostly used through an IV line or directly into a vein to help blood vessels show up on X-rays and CAT Scans. It is also good for looking at the urinary tract since the contrast leaves the blood through the kidneys.
Exam Preparation (When instructed by the Technologist)
NPO (Nothing By Mouth) means not to eat or drink for however long the technologist says. An Enema and Ducolax tablets are used to clean out the large intestine. Drinking water (6-8 tall glasses), without urinating, one hour before the exam will fill the bladder. Lab Test (BUN or Creatinine) are done to make sure the kidneys are working well so that the IV contrast can exit the body. Glucophage (Metformin) is a medication that you need to tell the technologist if taking. It will need to be stopped before the exam and monitored before resuming. The people working in the Radiology department are the Technologists and Radiologists.
Technologists or X-ray Technicians staff the Radiology Department and operate all imaging equipment and make sure quality images are taken and achieved. The Technologists also provides radiation protection when needed and are a primary source of information for Radiology.
The hospital contracts with Radiologists to read and interpret all radiology exams performed at Schleicher County Medical Center. A preliminary reading is provided to the physician who ordered the exam within a short period of time, followed by a more detailed report. The radiologist bills for this professional service separate from the hospital.