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Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging in Tuscaloosa

State-of-the-Art Technology to Diagnose Medical Issues

DCH Imaging offers a variety of services at 3 locations: DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center, and DCH Imaging at Ruby Tyler Parkway. At the Regional Medical Center, imaging services available at these locations include Angio/Interventional Radiology, Ultrasound, CT scans, Mammography, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT, bone density (DEXA - at Northport only), and stereotactic needle biopsy, as well as various portable procedures. Imaging provides methods used in diagnosis and therapy of a wide range of conditions. The staff at our Imaging Center is trained to provide education and explanations of the procedures, respect patient privacy and comfort, and to reassure patients as they have their imaging tests taken. A radiologist is available for imaging services at the hospital 24 hours a day.

DCH Medical Center Imaging facilities serve as the clinical sites for the DCH School of Radiologic Technology.

Angio/Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology is a rapidly growing area of medicine. Interventional radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments performed using imaging guidance. Interventional radiology procedures often replace open surgical procedures. They are generally easier for the patient because they involve no large incisions, less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times.

Interventional radiologists (IRs) use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters (tubes that measure just a few millimeters in diameter) through the blood vessels or other pathways to treat disease percutaneously (through the skin). These procedures are typically much less invasive and much less costly than traditional surgery.

Four interventional radiologists provide IR services Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and a team is on-call 24 hours a day for emergencies.

Computerized Tomography (CT scans)

Computerized Tomography produces a precise reconstructed image of a particular area in the body using radiation. The data may be manipulated to produce images in many directions, including three-dimensional formations.

DCH Regional Medical Center has four CT scanners. One 64-slice in ED X-ray, one 64-slice in OP Imaging, one 64-slice and one 16-slice in Inpatient Radiology. At Northport Medical Center, we have one 64-slice scanner. At Ruby Tyler Parkway Imaging, we have one 16-slice scanner. CT is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound procedures use inaudible sound to produce images or photographs of organs or tissue in the body. At the Regional Medical Center, inpatient ultrasound is staffed seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. Outpatient Ultrasound is staffed from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Northport Medical Center Ultrasound is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until the work is complete. The 11:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m. shift is covered by an Ultrasonographer that covers both Regional and Northport.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs use magnetic lenses to produce electronic images of specific structures in the body, including tissue and blood vessels. DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center have a large, wide-bore unit to better accommodate larger patients or patients who have difficulty being in confined spaces.

Inpatient MRI at the Regional Medical Center is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. until the work is complete. Outpatient MRI is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Northport Medical Center MRI is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. until work is complete.

Ruby Tyler Imaging MRI is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

A tech is on-call for emergency exams during all other hours.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine “scans” are used to diagnose certain conditions, including tumors and coronary artery disease. In nuclear medicine procedures, a radioactive agent is injected into the patient, or inhaled, in order to make a diagnosis. Nuclear Medicine scanning tests are performed in the Imaging Department from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

PET/CT

A PET/CT scan uses radiation, or nuclear medicine imaging, to produce 3-dimensional, color images of the functional processes within the human body. PET stands for positron emission tomography. The machine detects pairs of gamma rays which are emitted indirectly by a tracer (positron-emitting radionuclide) which is placed in the body on a biologically active molecule. The images are reconstructed by computer analysis. Modern machines often use a CT X-ray scan which is performed on the patient at the same time in the same machine.

PET scans can be used to diagnose a health condition, as well as for finding out how an existing condition is developing. PET scans are often used to see how effective an ongoing treatment is.

Mammography

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to diagnose breast tumors. 3D Mammography allows physicians to view breast tissue layer by layer. Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology, 3D exams are clinically proven to increase the detection of breast cancers significantly. 3D mammography finds 20 to 65% of the more invasive breast cancers than 2D mammography, an average increase of 41%. Learn more about mammography here.

The DCH Outpatient Breast Care Center at DCH Regional Medical Center offers appointments from 7 a.m. until 4:40 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday. Northport Medical Center's Breast Care Center offers appointments from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Mammography

Northport Medical Center offers the latest technology for stereotactic breast biopsy with 3D Affirm Prone Biopsy System and Brevera Imaging System. This system provides patients the comfort of lying down during their biopsy procedure—only one small incision required to obtain multiple tissue samples, which usually requires only a steri-strip. With 3D technology, the physician can see extremely small lesions and target the area of your biopsy with precision. Within five seconds of biopsy, your physician can see the tissue samples on the Brevera Imaging System to ensure adequate tissue has been obtained for your biopsy.

Bone Density

Densitometry is a low-level X-ray procedure used to assist in the diagnosis and monitoring of metabolic diseases, such as osteoporosis. Bone Density or DEXA is only offered at Northport Medical Center, Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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