April 28, 2015
Technology is changing our lives, and it’s saving them, too. In the world of medicine, the advances in diagnostic radiology are stunning. They are making the diagnosis and treatment of disease quick, accurate, cost-effective and often, completely non-invasive.
At Riverside Medical Clinic, we use advanced imaging technologies to detect early disease and to assess health for optimal preventive medicine. While we have a number of high-technology tools to capture accurate images, what sets us apart is the team of highly trained medical professionals who interpret the results and along with physicians, recommend treatments and strategies to maintain and prolong health.
While the technology may seem Space Age, the uses and benefits of imaging equipment are very exciting to medical professionals today, because it has revolutionized health care, making it more precise for diagnosticians and easier and faster for patients. At Riverside Medical Clinic, a new diagnostic radiology facility at the main location in Riverside features $8 million of new equipment representing the forefront of medical technology and bringing patients the latest advances in imaging.
All the radiography at the clinic now employs PACS (picture archive communications system), an advanced system which digitizes images and allows physicians and facilities to share information and images with a simple click. Mammography and X-ray capabilities are all digital, and we proudly offer the latest in digital ultrasound as well.
Know as positive emission tomography, PET is a powerful imaging technique that assists in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, particularly the detection of cancer and evaluation of the effects of cancer therapy. It is also employed to study the heart, as it can determine blood flow or muscle damage from scarring and in the brain, where scans can provide maximum information available without surgery.
Because PET demonstrates cellular function, rather than body or organ structure, indicators of possible disease can be identified before changes in anatomy are visible as diagnosed through other imaging processes. However, CT and MRI scans can be helpful adjuncts to the PET scan in providing a comprehensive diagnostic profile.
Most people today know that these sophisticated technologies stand for “computed tomography” (commonly referred to as a CAT scan) and “magnetic resonance imaging.” Once considered the vanguard of diagnostic technology, today they are standard tools which have retained their high degree of utility in scanning all areas of the body. Providing detailed, cross-sections views of tissues, organs and bones, our 64-slice CT produces highly detailed images.
MRI helps physicians diagnose a broad range of conditions such as cancer, heart and vascular disease, muscular and bone abnormalities and assists in evaluating the structure of an organ and how it is working. MRI enables the detection of abnormalities that bones may obscure with other imaging methods.
Good old X-rays still serve us well in medical diagnosis and treatment. Now we have digital X-rays, which are more clear, precise and manipulated in the computer during review and examination. Best of all, files are easily archived or shared between medical departments and facilities.
Using soundwaves to reveal images of soft tissues in the body, sonography is now being used effectively as another tool in the breast cancer screening tool chest, as well as many other applications for imaging abdominal, pelvic and thyroid regions of the body. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can be helpful in demonstrating the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
To most patients, the term nuclear medicine can be off-putting at best and downright frightening at worst. Actually, it should be neither, for it simply refers to the process of using low-level radioactive chemicals to illustrate organ function. With nuclear medicine, used in procedures such as PET and CT scans, physicians can see actual metabolic functioning and spot irregularities that can signal disease in a wide range of body functions including the heart, the organs, skeleton, lungs and circulatory system. This allows much earlier detection than from structural imaging alone.
Diagnostic radiology can also be used in preventive medicine for early detection. We, along with the American Cancer Society, recommend regular health screenings for adults, including scans for:
Breast cancer: yearly mammograms starting at age 40 (if no family history)
Colon and rectal cancer: beginning at age 50, a colonoscopy every 10 years
Bone density: recommendations vary by age, health state and lifestyle indicators and should be reviewed and discussed with your physician
For those who seek heightened peace of mind, Riverside Medical Clinic offers Lifescreen, a body scan from neck to pelvis that produces multiple, high-resolution images for three-dimensional views of the torso including all major organs and bone structure, particularly the back. The Lifescreen includes another popular scan, the Cardioscreen, which can also be performed separately. This comprehensive scan of the heart aids in detection of cardiovascular disease, including identification of calcifications in the coronary arteries, which can indicate specific risk probabilities for future heart attack. Lifescreenplus, our premier scan, includes the two scans mentioned previously as well as a bone density assessment and a virtual colonoscopy.