Nuclear Medicine is a safe painless procedure that uses small amounts of radioactive material (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat different diseases. Some of those diseases include cancer, heart disease and other abnormalities in the body. Prior to the use of Nuclear Medicine in order for physicians to get the actual information of how an organ functions surgery was required. Thankfully we can now avoid these unnecessary surgeries. This procedure differs from other imaging in that it provides the doctor with both the structure and function of organs. Nuclear Medicine has changed our approach and understanding of a variety of diseases and conditions.
Is it safe? Yes, the amount of radioactive material used is in the same safe range that a normal x-ray uses.
Mammography is a specific low-dose x-ray used for early detection of breast cancer. This noninvasive procedure is available as two different types a routine due to age which consists of two views of each breast, and a Diagnostic Mammogram, which is for women who are experiencing symptoms such as lump, pain or discharge. These mammograms consist of the normal two views of each breast plus special angles to capture any issues.
What to expect: Along with our normal registration process you will be asked certain question regarding family history of cancer, details about menstruation, child bearing, birth control, breast implants, other breast surgery, age, and about you hormone replacement therapy. Information about Breast Self Examination is available upon your request. It is important to express to the technologist any concerns you may have or any symptoms. At your examination you will be asked to remove clothing from the waist up and replaced by a hospital gown. The technologist will place the breast on a film holder and then it will be compressed between a paddle and the film holder. This compression only last a few moments, just long enough to capture the image, this is uncomfortable yet necessary to ensure a clear view of the breast tissue. The next angle will be taken from the side; the outside of the breast will rest against the film holder while the paddle holds the breast firmly. When a diagnostic mammogram is being performed additional paddles will be used to acquire needed angles. If there are any issues with your mammogram additional x-rays may be recommended.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsies
After a self examination or mammogram you may find a lump or another abnormality in this case you would use breast biopsies to find out if the growth is benign or cancerous. A biopsy is the removal of a few cells to test for cancer. There are two forms of biopsy - surgical and an image guided biopsy, which is less invasive.
The Stereotactic breast biopsy is a special mammography machine which uses ionizing radiation to guide the instruments to site of the abnormal growth. You will be asked to remove your clothing and replace it with a hospital gown. You should not wear any perfume lotion on or under your arms on the day of the procedure. You should not bring any jewelry with since you will have to remove it due to the fact it can interfere with the procedure. You should also let your physician know of any medications including herbal supplements that you are currently taking, as well as any allergies especially the ones regarding anesthesia. You should have a family member or friend accompany you and drive afterward due to medication.
What to expect: Most women report little to no discomfort, pain and scarring. The most discomfort is from lying on your stomach and still for the time. You will feel a slight prick from the needle when you receive the local anesthetic. You may feel pressure when the biopsy needle is placed. You must remain still during the procedure. You may hear clicks when the samples are being taken. After the procedure you may be informed to take over–the-counter pain reliever and a cold pack for any pain and bruising. Bruising is perfectly normal after the procedure. Contact your physician immediately if you experience excessive swelling, bleeding, drainage, redness or heat in the breast. You should avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 hours.
Bone Density Testing:
Also known as a DXA scan bone density testing is the process of testing the health of your bones, with a fairly accurate diagnosis. The procedure uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are in a segment of bone. This procedure is used to diagnose, monitor treatment and determine your risks for fractures. After you hit a certain age your body starts losing more bone mass than it produces. Although this procedure can tell if you have bone density loss, it cannot tell you why. So it is advised that a full medical evaluation be conducted including patient and family history.
Ultrasound is the process of sound waves that are beamed into the body causing return echoes to visualize structures beneath the skin. Ultrasound is used for diagnosis as well as screening for diseases, yet they are not limited to just these uses. They also assist in the aid of treatment of diseases, as well as the progression of a pregnancy. When being used for diagnostic ultrasounds can be used external and internal.