Imaging Tests

Crouse Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department has been serving patients in Central New York since 1912, when it acquired one of the first X-ray machines in Syracuse. Since then, Crouse has become a center of innovation in imaging sciences, as we continue to offer the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnostic services.

+Diagnostic Radiology (X-ray)

Diagnostic Radiology consists of standard images (X-rays) of the chest, abdomen, skull or spine, as well as GI series and Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP), including barium swallows, barium enemas and small bowel follow through. Special procedures and contrast studies like venograms, angiograms, myelograms and arthrograms also are performed.

This department also offers Digital Radiography, a form of imaging where digital X-ray sensors are used to produce an image instead of film. Digital Radiography often produces faster results and allows for digital transfer and enhancement of images. And, this process uses less radiation than traditional film methods.

What to Expect
Whether your physician chooses to take traditional or digital images, you will be asked to sit or lie on an X-ray table during the procedure. A technologist will position a machine over the part of the body to be examined. It will be necessary for you to lie still while the X-ray is taken. The X-ray itself is painless and takes only a few minutes.

You may be asked to wait while your images are reviewed to ensure a clear image has been obtained. Do not be alarmed if you are asked to repeat the procedure. This is usually a precaution to ensure the radiologist obtains the best possible view of the area under examination.

+Digital Fluoroscopy

Digital fluoroscopy is a technique used to obtain “live” detailed moving images. This procedure is performed by transmitting a painless X-ray beam onto a fluorescent plate, which is connected to an image intensifier and coupled to a video camera. Images are viewed instantly or recorded for further examination.

Fluoroscopy allows the radiologist to watch “real time” moving images of internal structures, such as the digestive tract or cardiac muscles. It is also use to observe joint movement and is an important diagnostic tool in infertility treatment.

Fluoroscopy also is used in a variety of diagnostic, therapeutic and operative procedures to observe the placement of medical instruments and devices.

What to Expect
During a fluoroscopy, you will be asked to hold your breath, drink some barium contrast or perform other normal body functions while the image is taken.

Typically, fluoroscopy exams are painless and take from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the procedure.

+Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Commonly known as an “MRI,” Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive procedure that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and computers to produce highly-detailed images from inside the body.

An MRI is used to evaluate organs, soft tissue, bone or almost any internal body structure without the need for surgery. It can evaluate the amount of damage caused by a stroke, diseases of the liver and abdominal organs, neurological conditions and orthopedic injuries.

Because an MRI is able to provide highly-detailed internal structures, it allows physicians to better evaluate parts of the body and certain diseases that cannot be clearly seen using X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan. No ionizing radiation (X-ray) is used.

What to Expect
For many people, the idea of having to gown up and lay in a strange machine is intimidating. The MRI machine is very loud, with clicking sounds, so ear plugs — some with music — will be provided. . You’ll be asked to lie down on a table that slides out of a tunnel-like machine. The technologist will slide the table into the machine and enter a different room where he or she is able to administer the scan. Depending on the MRI ordered, the scan normally takes between 30 and 60 minutes. What makes many people nervous is not being able to communicate. The technologist is able to hear and respond to the patient at any time if the patient is not tolerating the scan or has a question or concern. Because of this system, a patient is never “stuck” in the machine against his will.

+Computed Tomography (CT/CAT Scan)

Often referred to as a “CT” or “CAT” scan, Computed Axial Tomography uses special cameras and a low dose of radiation to look inside the body.

During a CT scan, the body passes through a large, donut-shaped ring, while a scanner takes multiple, cross-sectional 360 degree images (similar to slices of bread) of the parts of the body under examination. Images produced by a CT are much more detailed than standard X-rays.

CT scans can be used to detect tumors, abscesses, stroke, head injuries and intracranial bleeding, cardiac disease and vascular disease.

Not all CT scanners are equal. Crouse Hospital has invested in two state-of-the-art multi-slice Toshiba CT scanners – including a 64-slice scanner, which is the latest technology has to offer. These scanners are extremely fast and provide outstanding image clarity. Three-dimensional processing software aids physicians in an accurate diagnosis. To ensure a clearer picture of some parts of the body, contrast material, like iodine or barium, may be administered.

64-Slice CT
In less than 10 seconds, physicians at Crouse Hospital are able to capture crystal-clear 3D images of a beating heart, and pinpoint the exact cause of a patient’s chest pain.

In 10 seconds, detailed images from a whole body scan can allow physicians to view anatomy at a resolution sometimes not possible even through the most complex surgeries.

In just four seconds, lung scans can locate life-threatening blood clots or masses.

All this and more is possible using Crouse Hospital’s Toshiba Aquilon 64-slice CT Scanning System, the very latest imaging technology available today.

A Computed Tomography (CT) scan offers a non-invasive way to see inside the body by combing X-rays and sophisticated computers. Crouse’s 64-slice CT scan generates 64 images per rotation and can rotate three times per second around a patient’s body. “Slices” refers to the sensors or detectors that take those pictures. This technological advancement allows clear, accurate images of any part of the body in seconds.

The benefits of 64-slice CT Imaging include minimal radiation exposure, a painless and non-invasive procedure, a quicker test than with “conventional” CT scans, and superior, more accurate images for a better diagnosis.

What to Expect
A CT is painless and typically takes only minutes.

During a CT, you’ll be asked to hold your breath for short durations of time. Patients may also be asked to drink a flavored drink containing contrast; some may receive an IV injection just prior to scanning to enhance vascular structures.

+Computed Topographic Angiography (CTA)

Often called CTA, Computed Topographic Angiography is a minimally invasive medical test that combines the detailed imaging of a CT scan with an angiography to show images of major blood vessels throughout the body.

CTA is similar to a CT scan, except that a contrast dye is injected into a vein before images are taken. Injecting the contrast material into a vein, not an artery, makes CTA a less invasive procedure than other options. A CTA produces multiple, detailed images and computer technology to create multidimensional views of the blood vessels.

This procedure is used to identify diseases of the aorta, narrowing or obstruction of arteries, deep vein thrombosis, atherosclerosis, brain aneurysms, disease of the renal artery and a variety of other vascular conditions. It is used to assist physicians in repairing blood vessels, planning for surgical operations, detecting injuries and detecting pulmonary embolisms.

What to Expect
During a CTA, you’ll be asked to hold your breath for short durations of time. Many tests are completed in seconds. Patients receive an IV injection just prior to scanning to enhance vascular structures. A CT is painless and typically takes just minutes.

+Ultrasound (Sonogram)

Also called a Sonogram, an Ultrasound uses high frequency sound, which is undetectable to the human ear, instead of radiation to produce diagnostic images. It is a safe, painless and non-invasive procedure with few complications.

Ultrasound is used to assess the size and shape or organs, particularly in the pelvic and abdominal regions, check for abnormalities, and examine the structure of the heart, breasts, testicles and thyroid. The procedure is often used during biopsies and aspirations.

Ultrasound is routinely and safely performed on pregnant women to gauge a baby’s growth and check for abnormalities. Patients often have the option of a 3D or 4D Fetal Ultrasound. Baby’s first photo is not right after birth anymore! Recent advances in ultrasound technology now allow expectant families to bond with their babies before birth using technology known as 3D or 4D Ultrasound. This provides a clearer view into an unborn baby’s world in the womb.

Images in 3D provide a near life-like picture of the fetus, which, when viewed as a movie, are termed 4D. The quality of the images is dependent on the position of the fetus, but, with a little luck, the expectant mother will leave with a very special keepsake image.

What to Expect
The procedure routinely takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the areas to be examined. You will lie on a table, while a warm jelly is applied to the skin. A technologist uses a wand-like instrument to produce diagnostic images that appear on a computer screen. A series of measurements is taken and you often are asked to lie still during the examination. Once the initial exam is completed, the images are processed and reviewed by a radiologist.

+Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine allows safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique because it provides physicians with information about both structure and function. It is a way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests.

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of a disease, long before many medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine is often used to detect tumors, infections, analyze kidney function, examine blood flow and heart function, detect cancer, and scan liver, bone and lungs.

Crouse Hospital has invested in state-of-the-art nuclear medicine imaging technology to bring the most accurate and effective diagnosis and treatment to its patients.

One such technology is the SPECT/CT scanner, which combines the detail of a CT with the sensitivity of nuclear medicine.

Crouse Hospital uses the only SPECT/CT hybrid scanner in Central New York that utilizes diagnostic quality Computed Tomography (CT). SPECT/CT combines the functional sensitivity of a Single Photo Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) system with the detailed information provided by a multi-slice CT system. Performed in Nuclear Medicine, SPECT displays organ function, cell metabolism and other functional elements in the human body.

What to Expect
You’ll be given a small amount of radioactive tracers, either intravenously or orally. Then, you will lie on a special table and be positioned near a gamma camera, which will take the images.

The time it takes for a tracer to travel through a patient’s body and accumulate in the area of study can vary from seconds to days. Because of this, scanning times vary and may takes place over a course of a few days.

Procedures are not painful but often require special preparation. You should receive specific instructions from your physician on how to prepare for your procedure. If you don’t, call the Nuclear Medicine Department at 315-470-7461, and our staff will assist you.

Is Nuclear Medicine Safe?
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease. The radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures of the area of the body being imaged. In treatment, the radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated.

The amount of radiation in a typical nuclear imaging procedure is comparable with that received during a diagnostic X-ray, and the amount received in a typical treatment procedure is kept within safe limits.

In addition, our staff of board-certified radiologists and technologists is specifically trained in all areas of nuclear medicine to give you the most effective and safest procedure available.

+DEXA Bone Densitonomy

Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), or bone density testing, uses an enhanced form of X-ray technology that helps diagnose osteoporosis or loss of bone mass by measuring bone density in areas where fractures are most likely to occur, such as the wrist, hip or spine.

Often, this testing is used to diagnosis bone loss (osteoporosis) prior to therapy as a preventative measure to avoid painful fractures. The DEXA exam is usually repeated every year or so to assess how a patient is responding to hormone replacement therapy or other medicine used to rebuild bone or slow bone loss.
What To Expect
You’ll be asked to lie on the DEXA table while an X-ray detector moves slowly over the area to be examined. A very low dose of radiation is used.

Typically, a DEXA exam takes about 30 minutes. It is completely painless.

+Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology offers treatment or diagnosis of conditions inside the body using small instruments, such as a catheter or wire, inserted into the body to treat or diagnose conditions of the chest, abdomen or extremities. Using MRI, Ultrasound or CT gives the radiologist a “road map” to see inside the body.

Procedures include angioplasty, intravascular ultrasound, stent placement, catheter insertion, tumor ablation, embolizations, Y90 therapy for liver cancer and central venous line placements.

What to Expect
During an interventional procedure, you are awake and often given moderate sedation to relax during the procedure. Local anesthetics are given to relieve any pain symptoms.

To control any bleeding and recover from the mild sedation, you often are under the supervision of a trained registered nurse after the procedure. You may also need to stay overnight in the hospital to fully recover.

+Peripheral Vascular Intervention

Peripheral Vascular Interventions are a subset of procedures performed in Interventional Radiology. They include minimally invasive procedures to open blocked vessels to prevent pain, avoid amputations and avoid other consequences resulting from peripheral vascular disease. These procedures often help patients avoid invasive surgery and extended hospitalizations.

Peripheral Vascular Intervention includes angioplasty to open narrowed arteries, stent insertion to hold arteries open, or placement of a stent-graft to bypass blocked arteries or block circulation.

Crouse’s Medical Imaging Department offers angiographic equipment using revolutionary digital flat-panel technology. This real-time imaging is performed while the physician positions catheters and stents in the body and allows for clear, striking detail that provides the physician with greater precision and faster completion of the procedure.

What to Expect
This procedure is similar to a minor surgical procedure with pre-testing and some pre-medication. You’ll be awake and aware during the procedure so there is no long recovery from anesthesia.

Our Interventional nursing staff will attend to you after the procedure to monitor the procedure site and make sure there is no bleeding. You should expect recovery to take several hours in order for the medication to leave your system and the site to heal enough for you to return home safely.

Most procedures are relatively pain free, as local anesthetic and general pain medications are used to manage any discomfort during or after the procedure. Many procedures take less than an hour but others may run longer, depending on the nature of your condition.