Radiologic Diagnostic Imaging
Radiologic Diagnostic Imaging
You can count on our team of skilled technologists and board-certified radiologists at Grinnell Regional Medical Center for quality diagnostic imaging. Our state-of-the-art services include digital mammography, X-ray, fluoroscopy, CT, nuclear medicine,MRI, and complete OB imaging services and ultrasound, including Doppler 4-D scanning, as well as mobile X-ray for the comfort of our critical care and emergency patients.
Our new digital mammography services use the computer-assisted diagnostic (R2 CAD) technology for a computerized “second look” for screening and diagnostic mammograms. PACS (picture archiving and communication system) replaces hard-copy diagnostic images with direct digital feeds from modern imaging equipment, which translates to faster service and a permanent digital record of your imaging study results.
GRMC radiology department focuses on patient comforts, patient privacy, patient satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Office efficiency to assure faster patient service and improved patient satisfaction became critical when fielding more than 150 appointment phone calls daily. The staff of 20 registered technologists and two office personnel provides coverage 24 – 7 at GRMC. These trained staff conduct approximately 25,000 radiology procedures per year, from chest and extremity x-rays to CTs to ultrasounds and mammograms.
The process of taking radiographs remains the same. A technologist will use a digital plate instead of a traditional film plate. Patients will experience less radiation and fewer retakes of films caused by lost films.
Caring for Women is a Way of Life for Us
Your good health is our top priority. We have recently joined an elite group of facilities across the country that share an important commitment to raising the standard of care for every patient. We are proud to be recognized as a certified Pink Ribbon Facility.
As a Pink Ribbon Facility we take pride in providing every woman that comes to us for a mammogram with a digital mammography exam. Digital mammography produces images that appear on the technologist's monitor in a manner of seconds. There is no waiting for film to develop, which means a shorter time spent in the exam, and you may get the results the same day.
Mammography is the x-ray examination of breast tissues. The goal is to detect breast cancer in its early stages for early treatment. GRMC’s digital mammography combines the latest technology in digital mammography with MammoPad breast cushions to decrease pain. Adjacent to the mammography suite is an education room for patients to review educational materials on breast health.
The goal of screening mammography is to detect cancer when it is still too small to be felt by the physician or the woman. Early detection of small breast cancers by screening mammography greatly improves a woman’s chances for successful treatment.
If you’re having a mammography scan, here's what you can expect:
- The breast is compressed to spread the tissue apart and to allow a lower dose of x-ray. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is necessary in order to produce a good mammogram. The compression is only in place a few seconds of the examination and the entire procedure for screening mammography takes about 10 minutes.
Recommended Breast Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society urges women to have a regular screening for breast cancer as part of their wellness plan using these guidelines:
- Women age 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam by a doctor or nurse every three years, and do a self-exam every month.
- Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year, have a clinical breast exam by a doctor or a nurse every year, and do a breast self-exam every month. Some physicians prefer a baseline mammogram be taken at age 35.
- Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may need to begin mammogram screenings at a younger age.
X-ray studies use low doses of radiation and are often performed as the initial examination to diagnose a wide variety of diseases and injuries and later in treatment to determine progress.
GRMC offers computerized tomography a highly advanced, non-invasive procedure, to aid in diagnosis. CT combines x-rays and leading edge computer technology. The latest in spiral CT technology is offered at GRMC, making it possible for a virtual spiral image of a patient's body.
Talk to your primary healthcare provider to determine the right schedule for you.
These scans are quick, hi-tech tools for looking inside the body without surgery. CT scans can create either two- or three-dimensional cross-section images of your body. Experts closely examine these images looking for abnormalities that may not show up on an ordinary x-ray. CT scans are particularly useful in evaluating the brain, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
If you're having a CT scan, here's what you can expect:
- CT scanners use multiple low-dose X-rays taken in rapid succession.
- You may need to change your diet to prepare for your scan. You also may need to drink a contrast (a special "dye" that enhances the image) the night before. Depending on the test, you may be injected with an IV contrast as well.
- A wide circular tube rotates around you, while you lie still on a table.
- This tube moves through the opening of the scanner.
- A CT takes from 15 to 20 minutes plus time to check in.
- A CT scan is painless, try to relax and remain as still as possible
- Detectors pick up X-rays that pass through you.
- Computers process the information and create images of inside you.
GRMC offers cardiac, vascular, abdominal, and obstetrical/ pelvic ultrasounds.
Ultrasound imaging is a safe, painless diagnostic procedure. It bounces sound waves off internal organs or structures and then captures the returning echoes as a photograph or moving image on a monitor. There is no injection or radiation exposure associated with ultrasound studies.
Here's what to expect during an ultrasound:
- A jelly-like substance is applied to the skin where the ultrasound will be performed. Gel improves the transmission of sound.
- A transducer device is slid and gently pressed across the area of observation.
- Sound waves pass from the transducer through the patient's skin and bounce back to the transducer. These echoes are captured and translate into images.
- You may be asked to hold your breath deeply or roll to one side.
- For obstetrical ultrasounds, make sure your bladder is full for the test.
- Images are instantly displayed on a monitor.
- These images are captured on screen for a radiologist to review and interpret.
MRI is a non-invasive procedure that creates either a two- or three-dimensional view of internal organs or structures using strong electromagnetic fields and sophisticated computers.
An MRI uses a strong magnetic field to align the water molecules in your body tissues.
A radio signal (not an X-ray) is directed to the part of your body being examined, temporarily disrupting this alignment. When the radio signal stops, water molecules return to their alignment at different rates and emit signals that are received and processed in a computer. Computers assemble the data into a series of images.
Highly trained technologists monitor you and your test from behind a window in the control room. Radiologists evaluate the computer-generated images. They look for abnormalities to help make a diagnosis.
Here's what to expect during an MRI:
- You mayl be asked to remove makeup, watch, jewelry, and other metal objects.
- Wear clothing without metal closures.
- An MRI may take up to an hour to complete.
- You may be injected with a contrast (a special dye that enhances the image).
- You will be asked to remain very still while the test is being completed.
- The unit can be noisy, so you will given earplugs or headphones.
We also offer bone densitometry or bone density screening service. Everyone, both men and women, loses bone strength as they grow older. Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men as women often have smaller, thinner frames. Women also have an increased risk after menopause. Women produce less estrogen after menopause. Estrogen helps protect women against bone loss.
The bone scan takes less than 15 minutes on the scanner.
If you are having a bone density test, this is what you can expect:
- The patient lies on a large exam table
- Your name, age, height, weight, and ethnicity will be entered into the computer before your test.
- You will lay still and breathe normally while the scanner moves over the top of you. A very low amount of x-rays is used, the amount absorbed by the patient is only about one tenth of that received in a normal chest x-ray.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that aging residents take four steps to lower the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss disorders:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Participate in weight-bearing exercise
- Enjoy a healthy lifestyle with no smoking and limited alcohol, and
- Have a bone density test completed and take medications when appropriate
Positron emission tomography and computed tomography create a combined PET/CT image. This is an exciting new technology that combines the best of nuclear medicine and CT. This service is provided through a mobile unit with Shared Medical Services. PET measures the amount of metabolic activity at a site in the body and a computer reassembles the signals into images. Cancer cells have higher metabolic rates than normal cells and show up as denser areas on a PET scan. PET is useful in diagnosing other health concerns such as cardiovascular and neurological disease, such as Alzheimers disease.
PET is particularly effective in identifying whether cancer is present or not, if it has spread, if it is responsive to treatment, and if a person is cancer free after treatment.
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to diagnosis. The radioactive materials are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures of the body.