SSM Health Imaging offers the latest in diagnostic imaging, multi-detector CTs up to 128-slice, high-field open and 3T MRIs, and nuclear imaging. These superior imaging technologies empower our physicians and specialists with the information they need to obtain clear, quick, and precise results that contribute to the accurate diagnosis and treatment of cancer, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions.
Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scans are non-invasive diagnostic tests that generate three-dimensional images of your internal body. CT scans create images by combining multiple “slices” of digital information into a single image that is primarily used to diagnose and treat cancers and other internal medical issues. CT scans typically focus on internal organs, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels and have the ability to show more detail than traditional x-rays. Frequently, patients are given a contrast agent by injection or to drink prior to the exam to help to reveal details of specific areas of the body for clearer imaging.
128-Slice CT scans are highly advanced; they offer greater detail and take less time than traditional CT scans. This non-invasive procedure allows physicians to view the most intricate features of your brain, heart, and peripheral vascular system.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) creates highly detailed images of your internal body. This non-invasive, diagnostic testing procedure offers the most detailed images of soft tissues and organs. It is especially effective in the evaluation of neuromuscular disorders such as brain abnormalities, back pain, and joint injuries. MRI excels in detection of breast cancer, as well as body solid organ diseases such as liver and kidney problems. In addition, MRI procedures do not employ radiation that is used in traditional x-rays and CT scans.
A high strength, or high field, MRI offers the highest resolution images possible with unmatched speed. These detailed images of unsurpassed quality improve diagnosis and treatment.
An open MRI is similar to a conventional MRI, except that the device does not completely surround the patient. Open MRIs offer a more comfortable experience, and are especially ideal for patients who suffer from claustrophobia. On par with our standard of excellence, SSM Health has the largest network of open MRIs, including the largest network of high-field open MRIs.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) studies metabolic activity and body function, while Computed Tomography (CT) provides detailed anatomy and structure. Combined, these technologies help physicians diagnose many diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, before they become apparent with other imaging examinations. With PET/CT, both exams are performed at the same time and can be used to pinpoint, for example, both the location of cancer and its growth rate. It can also be used to help diagnose the extent of stroke or Alzhiemer’s disease, and to assess heart function.
Our PET/CT’s extremely high resolution pictures give us a better chance at catching a variety of cancers in their earliest stages: whether breast, esophageal, cervical, melanoma, lymphoma, lung, colorectal, head and neck, or ovarian. Knowing more, and knowing it earlier, helps us together build the treatment plan that makes the most sense for whatever you’re facing.
SPECT stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. This is a nuclear medicine imaging test that uses gamma rays to capture, view and manipulate cross-sectional images in 3D. This test is most commonly used for tumor imaging, thyroid imaging or bone imaging.
Also known as sonography, ultrasound machines use high-frequency sound waves and computers to create detailed images of your internal body. Using a hand-held transducer, a physician or specialist moves the device over various parts of the body to generate very high-resolution images. Ultrasounds are especially important to monitor pregnancies and are considered safe to record the progress of both the mother and baby. Other parts of the body that are evaluated by ultrasound include the abdomen, breasts, female pelvis, scrotum, thyroid, and vascular system. In addition, breast ultrasounds are used to diagnose breast abnormalities, typically after they are discovered through a mammogram or during a physical exam. Ultrasounds are non-invasive, have no known dangers or side effects, and do not require radiation, anesthesia, or special dyes.
X-rays (or radiographs) are non-invasive and use small amounts of ionizing radiation to produce images of your internal body. The most frequently used form of medical imaging, x-rays help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions, and are most effective for producing images of bones. The chest x-ray is the first line evaluation of many symptoms of the thorax, including cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
Bone density scanning is an enhanced form of x-ray technology. Bone density is often measured to detect or monitor osteoporosis or other medical conditions found in the bones. The scan is also known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), or bone densitometry, and is most often performed in the lower spine and hips. It is the established measuring standard for bone mineral density (BMD). In some adults and most children, the whole body is scanned. DEXA uses very low radiation amounts.
Fluoroscopy is used to study moving body structures. Often referred to as an “x-ray movie," this technology beams a continuous x-ray through the body. The beam is transmitted to a TV-style monitor for detailed examination. Used in many types of procedures, from barium x-rays to the placement of intravenous (IV) catheters, fluoroscopy may be part of an outpatient or inpatient examination.
Typically used for the early detection of breast cancers and diseases, mammograms are very low-dose x-rays specifically designed to examine the breasts. Non-invasive mammograms can detect suspicious masses and calcifications before they can be discovered by hand. All mammograms are performed by a female SSM Health Imaging registered technician. To obtain the clearest possible image, the technician will gently but firmly pull as much breast tissue as possible within the field of the x-ray detector. After pressing the breast firmly against the detector, the image will be recorded in a few seconds. The entire testing process will take between 15 to 30 minutes.
Digital mammograms have been proven to detect breast cancers better than conventional mammograms in three groups of women: those younger than 50, those with dense breasts, and those who are pre-menopausal. Digital mammography, also known as full-field digital mammography, makes it possible for the images of the breast to be viewed on a computer monitor or printed on a special film similar to traditional mammograms.
Your health is important – and you’re in good hands with SSM Health’s Imaging Services. Call us today to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions about our services.