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X-ray & Other Imaging Services

You don’t have to travel far to receive X-rays and imaging services ordered by your doctor. MedStar Health offers a variety of imaging services in your neighborhoods across Maryland and Washington, D.C., so you can easily get high-quality images from anywhere in the region.

Our imaging equipment is state-of-the-art, which allows us to accurately diagnose and treat conditions of all kinds. You can relax in our inviting outpatient locations knowing you are in good hands.

 

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What is an X-ray?

X-ray imaging utilizes electromagnetic waves to create an image of the inside of your body. A Fluoroscopy is a test that takes that concept a step further by using x-ray technology to capture a moving image, like an x-ray video. At Medstar Radiology Network, fluoroscopy images may be used to better look at the digestive, skeletal, respiratory, urinary or reproductive systems.

 

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What is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy imaging is often used in conjunction with other tests and procedures, to include the placement of intravenous catheters or biopsy collection. Because the images are moving and can be projected on a screen in real time, this is a test that can be utilized both for diagnostic purposes, as well as to guide a doctor in the performance of other procedures.

A fluoroscopy is a non-invasive procedure on its own, though again, it may be combined with other procedures, to include a barium enema, a barium swallow, a lumbar puncture, and various interventional radiology procedures. There are risks to be considered with any radiation exposure, and you should notify your doctor prior to the test if you are pregnant or have reason to believe you may be pregnant.

Preparing for a Fluoroscopy

The reason a fluoroscopy is being ordered, and the additional procedures it is being utilized to assist with, will determine a patient’s pre-procedure instructions. All patients undergoing a fluoroscopy will be asked to change into a gown and remove any metal or electronic items that could interfere with the x-ray images.

 

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What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a test that produces detailed images from inside your body using radiofrequency waves. These images might be used to identify diseased tissue or abnormal growths within the body. In general, an MRI is able to provide more detailed images than a CT scan when it comes to the soft tissues of the body.

An MRI is a non-invasive scan that generally requires the patient to remain still for 30-60 minutes inside the MRI tube as the images are taken.

MRI images can be used for the diagnosis of a variety of conditions, including blood clots or internal injuries.

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What is a CT Scan?

When a general X-ray can’t provide the level of detail necessary for diagnosis, a Computed Tomography (CT) scan may be ordered instead. This is an advanced X-ray procedure that produces cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues.

A  CT scan is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that is painless and generally takes no more than 10 to 30 minutes to complete.

CT scans are useful in identifying everything from injury to heart disease. While CT scans are not used in the treatment of cancer, the images may be used to both diagnose specific cancers and track the progression of the disease—and the effectiveness of treatment—up to the point of remission.

 

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What is Mammography?

Mammograms have long been considered the ultimate tool in breast cancer detection. Generally, healthcare providers recommend that women over the age of 40 have annual mammograms. However, women with a family or personal history of certain cancers may be advised by their doctor to begin those screenings earlier.

Digital mammography is the next generation of mammography. This upgraded technology allows radiologists to take and manipulate multiple images to show higher contrast and more easily reveal masses.

Both digital and traditional mammography tests typically take about 20 minutes to complete.

 

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What is a DEXA Scan?

DEXA scan, otherwise referred to as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, is a specialized X-ray procedure that uses ionizing radiation to assess bone density. It is a quick and noninvasive scan that is most often used in the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

For patients on certain medications, a DEXA scan may be ordered before treatment in order to establish a bone density baseline that can be monitored throughout the course of treatment. This allows your doctor to determine if osteoporosis is developing as a result of treatment so that measures can be taken to prevent any further bone loss.

Your doctor will be looking for two specific numbers from your DEXA scan: your T-Score and your Z-Score. The T-Score calculates the difference between your bone density and that of the average healthy person. The Z-Score compares your bone density to others of your same age, race, and gender.

 

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What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging, or sonography, is the imaging test most often used in pregnancy. This safe and non-invasive test relies on sound-waves instead of radiation to produce moving images from inside the body. Ultrasounds also have diagnostic purposes beyond monitoring a fetus. The test can be used to further investigate causes of swelling and infection, to guide biopsies, and to diagnose heart conditions. Ultrasounds are often used to look for tumors in the organs and surrounding soft tissues where X-rays may not produce the best images.

Ultrasound images are projected in real time on a display screen that the doctor or ultrasound technician monitors throughout your procedure. Although it is a non-invasive procedure, ultrasound imaging may be used to guide additional procedures and biopsy collection. Most ultrasounds take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete.