The Charles E. DeClerck Department of Imaging Services
Why a Patient May Need Diagnostic Testing
A physician requests diagnostic testing as a result of a patient’s symptoms, as part of pre-surgical testing or as follow-up in charting the patient’s progress during treatment or recovery after treatment. When possible, the least invasive procedure is performed. Diagnostic testing can be as simple as a series of X-rays or can include a number of tests, such as Computerized Tomography (CT scanning), Positron Emission Tomography (PET scanning), the combination of PET and CT scanning, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), ultrasound, fluoroscopy or the use of nuclear medicine, including lymphoscintigraphy.
X-Ray Absorptiometry, or DEXA scanning, is the most widely accepted method for screening patients for osteoporosis. While exposing women to less radiation than a standard dental X-ray, DEXA scanning measures bone density in both the hip and spine. At Good Samaritan, the entire scan takes less than 20 minutes and is painless and non-claustrophobic.
Nuclear Medicine Studies
Nuclear medicine relies on the administration of radiopharmaceuticals, which are medications that have been combined with a radioactive tracer and are then tracked as they travel through the body. These studies provide valuable information about the structure and function of organ systems. The section of nuclear medicine is also involved in therapeutic procedures that use radiopharmaceuticals to treat certain conditions such as thyroid disease.
Nuclear medicine techniques are an integral part of lymphoscintigraphy, also known as sentinel lymph node biopsy. This procedure is commonly used to spare breast cancer and melanoma patients from the need to undergo complete lymph node removal to determine whether or not their cancer has spread beyond the initial site.
Ultrasound, commonly called sonogram, is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic visual images of organs tissues or blood flow inside the body. Sonography can be used to examine many parts of the body, including, but not limited to, the abdomen (general imaging), breasts, female reproductive system and blood vessels. Health care professionals rely on ultrasound for a wide variety of purposes, such as monitoring the growth of a developing fetus and diagnosing such conditions as blood clotting, stenosis, cancer and heart disease. It is also used for the guidance of fine needle tissue biopsy to sample cells from an organ for lab testing (i.e; a test for cancer in the breast, thyroid, liver, etc.). Good Samaritan specializes in and is accredited by the American College of Radiology to perform general ultrasound, OB/GYN, vascular and pediatrics. Unlike X-rays, sonography is a radiation-free imaging modality.
Computerized tomography, or CT scanning, has been used as a diagnostic tool for decades. However, as the technology continues to progress, CT scanning finds new applications. CT scanning is used for diagnosis of disease, treatment planning and to gauge the effectiveness of treatment.
CT scanning uses a digital computer and rotating X-ray imaging to create a series of images or “slices,” of internal structures. CT scanning has the unique ability to provide detailed images of bone, blood vessels and soft tissue.
As the only American College of Surgeons Verified Level II Trauma Center for both adults and pediatrics on the south shore of Long Island, Good Samaritan’s Emergency Department is outfitted with a sophisticated digital mutlidetector CT scanner, while the main department houses two units, including the regions only 512-speed CT scanner.
The latest CT technology has enabled Good Samaritan to implement significant dose reduction techniques without compromise to image quality. All scanners are outfitted with a dose reduction software that minimizes exposure by an average of 40%.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses a strong magnetic field along with radiofrequency energy. There is no radiation exposure for this advanced imaging tool. It has become a routine high-tech imaging study to evaluate and diagnose a number of body parts and disease processes, including disorders of the brain, spine and the musculoskeletal system. It is also an essential study for many treatment plans and assessment of therapy.
Good Samaritan has two, state-of-the-art 1.5 Tesla MRI magnets that are available to accommodate the needs of the community.
Positron Emission Tomography PET/CT Scanning
Click here for information on preparing for your PET/CT Imaging Study.
In 2006, the hospital unveiled a new tool to stage and plan cancer treatments - the PET/CT scanner. Similar to weather patterns overlaying a map of the United States, Good Sam’s new PET/CT scanner joins two revolutionary technologies in one “picture.” It combines the most sophisticated positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) systems to produce images that provide anatomic and metabolic information that result from one exam in a single system. This provides essential information from each imaging technology to shed new light in oncology, cardiology and neurology.
Good Samaritan's PET/CT will reduce the number of invasive procedures required when diagnosing a patient, such as biopsies and unnecessary surgeries. The patient will feel more comfortable due to a reduction in exam time. Results are obtained in less than one hour rather than one day or more using old, separate technologies.
The Department of Imaging offers advanced services operated by experienced personnel. The images provided will help physicians in diagnosis, staging, surgery and treatment planning. Most of the hospital’s diagnostic services are located on-site. For your convenience some outpatient services are also available at our Pre-surgical Testing Department located at 15 Park Avenue in Bay Shore.
Please call for hours of operation. A prescription is required for diagnostic imaging procedures.
For information on radiation safety, please visit the American College of Radiology Image Wisely and Image Gently websites.
For further information diagnostic imaging services call (631) 376-4444.