Imaging Tests & Procedures
New Hanover Regional Medical Center offers a wide range of diagnostic radiology tests and procedures. The network uses advanced equipment to make the tests as accurate as possible. Below are some of the procedures performed in our outpatient centers. Visit the Health Reference section of our site to learn more about the procedures and how you can prepare for them.
Bone Density Scans
A bone density test measures the strength and density of your bones as you approach menopause and, when the test is repeated sometime later, can help determine how quickly you are losing bone mass and density.
CT Scan (CAT Scan)
A CT or CAT scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays and minimize exposure to radiation.
X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. Standard x-rays are performed for many reasons, including diagnosing tumors or bone injuries.
Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures - similar to an x-ray "movie." A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
Interventional radiologists are involved in the treatment of the patient, as well as the diagnosis of disease. They treat an ever-widening range of conditions inside the body from outside the body by inserting various small instruments or tools, such as catheters or wires, with the use of various x-ray and imaging techniques (i.e., CT scanners, MRI scanners, ultrasound scanners)
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Interventional radiologists are using uterine fibroid embolization as a way to treat some fibroids. It is less invasive than other techniques.
Selective Internal Radiation Therapy
Intervential Radiology in Imaging Services now performs a specialized procedure that helps treat those with advanced liver cancer. New Hanover Regional Medical Center became one of only four hospitals in the state to offer Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, or SIRT. Interventional radiologist Dr. Steven Crawford performed the first SIRT procedure at New Hanover Regional in October 2004.
During this minimally invasive procedure, the physician makes a small incision in the patient’s upper thigh. Using real-time images on a monitor as a guide, he threads a tiny catheter through the blood vessels up to the major artery feeding the liver. Millions of microscopic radioactive spheres are then released and get trapped in the tiny blood vessels inside the tumor. The spheres emit radiation and destroy the tumor from the inside.
Compared to conventional chemotherapy treatments, the SIRT process is much more effective in only destroying the cancer cells, while minimizing damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. All SIRT candidates now undergo a PET/CT scan before and after their procedure to determine if the radiation treatment has helped shrink the tumor enough to remove it surgically.
A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breast. It is used to detect and diagnose breast disease. Regular screenings can help detect breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages. The mammography voucher program of the Pink Ribbon Project provides mammograms and diagnostic breast procedures free to women who are uninsured and meet certain financial criteria. Click here for more information about the mammography voucher program.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. An MRI is often used to examine the heart, brain, liver, pancreas, male and female reproductive organs, and other soft tissues. It can also be used to assess blood flow, to detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer, to evaluate infections, or to assess injuries to bones and joints.
Nuclear medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radiopharmaceuticals, to examine organ function and structure.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) are both standard imaging tools that physicians use to pinpoint disease states in the body. The PET scan demonstrates the biological function of the body before anatomical changes take place, while the CT scan provides information about the body’s anatomy such as size, shape and location. PET/CT provides non-invasive tumor detection and staging information, which can aid your physician in diagnosing and treating disease.
Ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels. Ultrasound procedures are often used to examine many parts of the body such as the abdomen, breasts, female pelvis, prostate, scrotum, thyroid and parathyroid, and the vascular system.