Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Radiologist?
A radiologist is a medical doctor (MD or DO) who assists your physician in the delivery of your healthcare. Radiologists specialize in diagnosis and treatment of disease/injury using medical imaging techniques. Examples include X-ray, Ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Nuclear Medicine and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Often times, you will not even meet the radiologist as he/she is providing the interpretation of your exam in a specialized reading area. In certain cases, radiologists will meet with a patient to perform an invasive procedure or discuss the results of a diagnostic mammogram.
How role does a radiologist play in my health care?
The radiologists at Radiology Associates of Beaumont act as expert consultants to your referring or ordering physician and help him/her choose the proper test or study to be performed, interpret (or read) your final images and provide recommendations for further studies, if and when necessary. The radiologist then supplies a written report to your referring physician so the results of your test/ scan can be reviewed or explained with you the next time you call or visit your doctor.
I have a question on a bill I received, what should I do?
We outsource our billing and collection procedures to an outside billing company. You should call (409)892-4055 and speak with one of the medical billers.
What is the difference between screening and diagnostic mammography?
Screening mammography is a tool used to detect early breast cancer in otherwise asymptomatic women. Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings such as a breast lump, breast pain, or nipple discharge. Diagnostic mammography may also be needed if an area of concern is identified on a screening mammogram.
When should a woman start getting mammograms and how often should they be performed?
Almost every major organization that publishes guidelines for breast cancer diagnosis recommends annual screening mammography starting at age 40 (including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, often two years or more before a patient or physician can feel them, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
Is digital mammography better than traditional film mammography?
Digital mammography has been shown to be better in screening women who are under 50 years of age, who have heterogeneously dense or very dense breast tissue, and who are pre- or peri-menopausal (women who have had a menstrual period within 12 months of their mammogram). Digital mammograms also deliver less radiation, are easier to access, transmit, and store for future comparison.
Does ultrasound use x-rays or radiation?
No. Ultrasound (also known as a sonogram) emits high frequency sound waves (above the audible range of the human ear) to produce images of internal organs, tissues and vessels.
Are there any side effects from ultrasound?
No, there are no known side effects and it is considered to be very safe.
Who performs my ultrasound examination?
A registered sonographer will perform your examination.
How long does CT typically take?
CT procedures are very fast. Even complex exams can be done in less than 10 minutes. The actual scanning time can take less than a minute in most cases.
Is the CT dye dangerous?
X-ray contrast (“dye”) is typically very safe. But with any drug or medication, there is a possibility of an allergic reaction. The risk of having a significant reaction is quite small, especially with modern improved iodinated contrast. The technologist performing your exam will answer all of your questions or concerns in detail prior to administering contrast. You always retain the right to refuse any contrast injection, but this may limit the diagnostic potential of your exam.
What does the I.V. contrast do?
The IV contrast provides the radiologist with additional information. More diagnostic information can be gathered from the “contrast enhanced” exam than a non-contrast exam. Most exams require contrast, but there are several exams don’t. Our radiologist or your doctor will determine if contrast is needed for your test..
What is Barium and what does it do?
The Barium drink that is consumed prior to CT exams of the abdomen and pelvis is necessary for the radiologist to better evaluate the stomach, as well as the small and large intestines. It distends them and makes them more visible.
Is the MRI contrast (dye) safe?
MRI contrast (“dye”) is typically extremely safe. Additionally, MRI exams require significantly less contrast than CT scans. Because IV contrast agents are removed from the blood by the kidneys, the technologist will ask you if you have a history of kidney disease, poor kidney function or dialysis. If you have poor kidney function, contrast may not be administered. If you have a known MRI contrast allergy, be sure to notify the technologist.
What is the difference between an MRI and a CT?
There are numerous differences. MRI and CT both image the body. The way they image the body is very different however, thus the information the images contain is very different. MRI is superior to CT for certain conditions and CT is superior to MRI for certain conditions. Your doctor knows which method of imaging is most appropriate to get the information he/she needs.
How safe is an MRI exam?
MRI utilizes strong magnetic fields and radio wave energy. Magnetic fields and radio waves are not known to be harmful to the human body by themselves. They can however adversely interact with metal or implanted medical devices within your body. You will be screened for such items prior to your MRI exam. Most items are perfectly safe with a few important exceptions, for which the technologist will ask you about.
Why can't I move during the MRI or CT test?
Like many camera systems, we need to image the body while it is “still” to get a clear non blurred image. For this reason, it is no different than taking a picture with your camera, if you move the camera while shooting a picture or the object moves while you are taking it, you get an unsatisfactory blurry image. This same principle applies to medical imaging in most cases. It is important to get the best image possible so important details are not missed.
How safe is an X-ray exam?
Although it is generally felt that X-ray energy is not good for the tissues of the body, the amount of X-ray energy used for medical X-ray procedures is significantly low enough as to be considered very safe in most cases. The benefit of the information gained from medical imaging far outweighs the risk of the potential harm. There are however certain exceptions. For example, pregnant women should rarely receive X-rays, unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Children should have lead shielding to cover particular organs that are more sensitive to X-ray.