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Radiology Department

General Radiology | Bone Density
CAT Scan | CAT Scan Preparation | During the CAT Scan | After the CAT Scan | CAT Scan Results
MRI | MRI Preparation | MRI Precautions | During the MRI Scan | MRI Results
Nuclear Medicine | Nuclear Med Preparation | Nuclear Med Procedure | Nuclear Med Results
Ultrasound | Ultrasound Preparation | Ultrasound Procedure | Ultrasound Results
Angiography | Angiogram Preparation | After the Angiogram | Angiogram Results

The Radiology Department at Beaufort County Medical Center is an ultra modern facility providing some of the most advanced equipment and procedures in Eastern North Carolina.

General Radiology
General Radiology provides x-ray and fluoroscopy services for hospital patients, out patients, and the Emergency department. State of the art computerized x-ray and fluoroscopy systems offer the latest in high quality images. Your doctor can send you directly to the hospital for most x-ray procedures. However, there are some, such as fluoroscopy, that need to be scheduled. Your doctor will schedule these for you and will and provide you with instructions about how to prepare for your test.

Bone Density
Bone density test are to detect osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis can have weak brittle bones that easily break. Your doctor can schedule you for a bone density test on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 8:00am and 3:30pm.

CAT or CT Scan (Computed Axial Tomography)
Beaufort County Medical Center has the very latest in CAT scan technology. This very fast CT scanner takes 64 pictures with each revolution of the scanner and can be used to examine everything from your brain and body to the small blood vessels in you heart. A CAT scan is a special x-ray study that takes pictures of the inside of you body. A narrow x-ray beam moves around a section of your body. A picture is taken quickly and fed into a computer. The images it produces are cross-sectional and patterned much like slices of bread. A series of these pictures are made that focuses on parts of your body that your doctor needs to see.

How do I prepare for my CT scan?
You must not eat or drink anything after midnight if your CT is in the morning hours. Do not eat or drink anything after breakfast if it is in the afternoon. If you are having an abdominal CT you will need to drink 32 ounces of liquid containing a drug that will make your intestinal tract highlight on the scan. This liquid must be consumed 1 ½ to 2 hours before your scan. If you do not pick this up and drink it before you arrived for your scan you will need to drink it and wait the 1 ½ to 2 hours after you arrive for your scan. You may want to bring a book or magazine to read while you wait.

What will happen during the CT scan?
The CT Technologist will explain more about your CT scan. You will be asked questions about your medical history and about allergies. You will be asked to lie on the CT table. The Technologist may start an IV in one of the veins in one of your arms. Medicine may be injected through this IV that will enhance the CT images. This injection may cause you to feel very warm all over and a metal taste in your mouth. This is normal and will only last a few seconds. The CT table will move you through a donut like opening in the scanner. You will hear parts of the scanner moving around you but nothing will touch you. The scan will last only a few minutes.

What do I do after my CT scan?
After the CT scan you can return to your normal activities. The medicine that was injected
through your IV will pass through your kidneys. Ask your doctor if you should drink extra fluids
after your exam.

CT scan results
A Radiologist will study your exam and give his or her report to your doctor. Then your doctor will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean in relation to you health. Results cannot be given directly to the patient or the patient’s family.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
The MRI system at Beaufort County Medical Center keeps us on the leading edge of medical imaging by utilizing the latest advances in orthopaedic, abdominal, and neuro imaging. Our magnet has a patient friendly design with a large opening, and a short bore that is more accommodating to patients who are claustrophobic and those who require more room inside the scanner. MRI uses a large magnet and low energy radio waves to produce a series of pictures of you head, spine, or other parts of your body. It does not use x-rays, radioactive materials or any other form of ionizing radiation. To the best of our knowledge, it produces no harmful side effect or unpleasant sensations. Depending upon what information your doctor needs, the MRI scan may require the use of a drug given intravenously to assist in visualization of certain structures in your body. A Technologist trained in its use will administer it.

MRI Preparation
No patient preparation is necessary to perform an MRI scan. The exam is not affected by anything you may have eaten or drunk or by any medication you may have taken. You will be asked to complete a safety screening form and answer questions pertaining to your medical history.

MRI Precautions
The presence of any metallic objects either on your person or clothing or in your body may interfere with your scan. You will be ask to remove all jewelry, watches, hairpins, glasses, wallets and the like and change into a hospital gown. If you have had surgery during which internal metal clips may have been left in place, please tell the Technologist about this before getting on the scan table. Also, tell the Technologist if you have a cardiac pacemaker, or other implants in your body. They may make it impossible to do your scan.

What to expect during your MRI scan
The Technologist will position you on a special table. Your head will be placed in a padded plastic cradle or on a pillow and the table will slide into the scanner. It will seem as though you are being rolled into a long tunnel. You will be able to communicate with the Technologist during the scan. While the machine is taking your pictures, you will hear rapidly repeating noises coming from the scanner. Earplugs will be provided to help with this noise. It is very important to remain very still during your scan. Any movement will seriously blur the pictures. The scan usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour.

Your MRI results
A Radiologist will study your exam and give his or her report to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health. Results cannot be given directly to the patient or the patient’s family.

Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear Medicine is a subspecialty within Radiology. It comprises diagnostic examinations that result in images of body anatomy and function. The images result from the detection of energy emitted from a radioactive substance given either by intravenous injection or by mouth. Very sensitive scanners detect and record this energy from the organs that are targeted by the radioactive medicine.

How should I prepare for my Nuclear Medicine procedure?
Usually, no special preparation is needed for the nuclear medicine exam. However, if the procedure involves evacuation of the stomach, you may have to skip a meal before the test. If the procedure involves evacuation of the kidneys, you may need to drink plenty of water before the test.

How is the Nuclear Medicine procedure performed?
A radioactive medicine is usually administered in to a vein. Depending upon which type of scan is being performed, the imaging will be done either immediately, a few hours later, or even several days after the injection. Scan time varies, generally ranging from 20 to 45 minutes.

The Radioactive medicine that is used is determined by what part of the body is being examined since some compounds collect in specific organs better than others. Depending upon the type of scan, if may take several seconds to several days for the substance to travel through the body and accumulate in the organ being examined, thus the wide range of scan times.

While the images are being obtained, you must remain as still as possible. This is especially true when a series of images is obtained to show how well an organ functions over time.

Some minor discomfort during a nuclear medicine procedure may arise from the intravenous injection. Lying still on the exam table may be uncomfortable for some patients.

How do I get my Nuclear Medicine radiology results?
A physician who has specialized in nuclear medicine will interpret the images and forward a report to you physician. It usually takes a day or two to interpret, report, and deliver the results.

Ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to produce images of organs inside your body. No radiation is used. Ultrasound is very useful to examine the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and other organs. It is used to study blood vessels for blockages and swelling. Ultrasound is extremely important for evaluating pregnancy. The position and development of the baby can be examined using ultrasound.

How should I prepare for my ultrasound?
If you are having an abdominal ultrasound you should not eat or drink anything after midnight before your exam. Women having pelvic ultrasound will need to drink lots of water and arrive for the ultrasound with a very full bladder.

How is an ultrasound performed?
The ultrasound staff will explain more about your exam. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and helped onto an ultrasound table. Gel will be put on to your skin in the area to be examined. This helps the contact between the ultrasound probe and the skin. The probe will be moved around on the skin to produce the images. You will not feel, or hear the ultrasound waves. The exam will take about one hour. After the test is completed you can return to your normal diet and routines.

How do I get my ultrasound results?
A Radiologist will study your ultrasound images and forward a report to your physician. This report will be available within one to two days. The Ultrasound Technologist will not be able to give you a report.

An angiogram is an examination of your blood vessels using x-ray. A doctor specially trained in angiography will perform this examination. The doctor will insert a small tube into the blood vessel and then inject a medicine that shows up on the x-ray through the tube. X-ray pictures will be taken during the injection. This will allow the doctor to determine how well blood flows through the blood vessels in you brain, lungs, abdomen, arms or legs.

How should I prepare for my angiogram?
It is important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight before you angiogram. You may have a small amount of water with any medications that you need to take. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about eating or drinking before your exam.

Prior to your angiogram your doctor will explain the angiogram. You should ask any questions that you have at this time. If you have allergies or problems with you medications or you believe that you might be pregnant you must tell you doctor. If you are allergic to iodine or “x-ray dye” you should tell your doctor immediately. You will be asked to sigh a special form giving your doctor permission to do the angiogram.

Everyone having an angiogram will have blood test done prior to the procedure. Your groin will be shaved on one or both sides where the doctor will insert the catheter. Sometimes the arm will also be prepared in this way. You will be asked to remove all jewelry and dentures and to put on a hospital gown. It is a good idea to go to the bathroom before you go into the angiogram room. While this exam is being done, your family can wait in your room or in one of the hospital waiting areas.

What should I expect after my angiogram?
When you return to your room where you will need to stay in bed for 6 – 8 hours. You will need to keep the leg or arm where the catheter was inserted straight. If you have swelling , tingling, or pain, or feel that something is wet at your puncture site, call your nurse for assistance. A nurse or nursing assistant can help you with a bedpan or urinal while you are on bed rest. You should be able to resume your normal diet after your procedure. You should ask you doctor if you should drink additional fluids.

When should I get the results from my angiogram?
Your x-ray pictures will be studied by your doctor. She/ he will discuss the results with you. Your doctor will answer your questions at that time.

*This information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation, or care from your physician, or other qualified healthcare provider. If you have medical problems or health related questions please consult your physician.



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Beaufort Regional Health System
628 East 12th Street, Washington, NC 27889