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Imaging

At Iredell Memorial Hospital, we are heavily invested in groundbreaking technology that allows our physicians to detect and diagnose disease.

The imaging equipment together with physicians and technologists in Iredell Memorial Hospital's Imaging Department combine to provide accurate, fast diagnosis. As a result, your physician can plan your treatment quickly and effectively. We also utilize image-guided surgery to help surgeons more accurately navigate in the operating room. Iredell Memorial is committed to investing in the most advanced technology in the county so patients can be assured of the best care.

As the region's preferred choice for advanced diagnostic imaging, Iredell Memorial offers these advantages:

  • Leading-edge technology, including PACS, a digital image archiving system that also provides digital transmission of test results. Physicians can access results quickly and obtain consultations from other physicians.
  • Skilled and compassionate staff to ensure a comfortable imaging experience for patients. All procedures are conducted by technologists registered in radiologic technology, nuclear medicine in CT, ultrasound or MRI.
  • Convenient scheduling options so patients can schedule appointments quickly, and get in and out of the hospital.

Imaging services

Bone densitometry

Bone densitometry is a computerized low-dosage gamma ray scanner that can determine the percentage of bone loss and be used to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy for osteoporosis.

Using a bone densitometer, physicians can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. If the patient's bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis. Through changes in diet, exercise habits and/or medication, further deterioration of bone can be prevented.

A bone densitometer measures the density of the spine, hip and other bones that are the most frequent sites of fracture. In addition to broken bones, curvature of the spine, height loss and loss of mobility are clear consequences of osteoporosis.

Talk to your physician about when you should begin having bone density tests.

CT scanning

Also known as computed tomography, this system uses specialized x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create cross-sectional images of the inside of the body or the head. CT scans provide more detail than conventional x-rays and can produce images of bone, soft tissue and blood vessels all at the same time.

Heart scanning capabilities

The SOMATOM Sensation 64, manufactured by Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc., is the world's first CT scanner able to take 192 images of the heart per second. This noninvasive, virtually pain-free procedure offers exceptional image quality, which can mean better diagnosis, faster recovery time and increased patient comfort and convenience.

Mammography

3D mammography 

Benefits include low-dose radiation, excellent image quality, and a radiologist can take multiple pictures of each breast from various angles, which differentiates it from a traditional mammogram, which takes a single image in two directions. Known as digital breast tomosynthesis, it has the potential to revolutionize mammography and breast cancer screening because it removes the clutter to make a mammogram easier to read for women with all breast tissue types.

This can be done in conjunction with a traditional mammogram. There may be an additional charge for this, depending on your insurance. We also have financial assistance if you do not have insurance.

Digital mammography 

Low-dosage x-ray equipment is used to determine the presence of diseased breast tissue. Mammography is recognized by health professionals and the American Cancer Society as a highly effective tool in diagnosing breast cancer.

The Women's Health Center provides self-requested mammograms to women who meet the American Cancer Society's mammography recommendations. Call 704.878.4551 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about the Women's Health Center.

American Cancer Society Mammography Recommendations

Under age 40

  • A screening mammogram by age 40.
  • Monthly breast self-exams.
  • Exam by physician every three years.

Ages 40 & beyond

  • Mammograms every year.
  • Monthly breast self-exams.
  • Yearly physician exams.

Women who notice any changes in their breasts should see a physician right away.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides highly detailed images of organs, the brain, joints and other soft tissue by using a strong magnetic field and radiofrequency waves that can "look through" bones.

An exam usually takes 30 to 60 minutes and consists of several image sequences lasting 5 to 10 minutes each, with most studies requiring four to six sequences to complete.

Iredell's system offers a number of diagnostic imaging capabilities, including stroke, body MRA (angiography for the diagnosis of circulatory diseases) and cardiac imaging in a design that provides maximum patient comfort.

The MRI system enables physicians to perform high-resolution studies on both orthopedic and neurology patients. It is capable of showing very small blood vessels in the brain that can enable the radiologist to spot aneurysms, or identify plaque buildups in the carotid arteries that might lead to a future stroke. Images also make it easier to diagnose blood flow problems in the lower extremities.

For orthopedic patients, the MRI system helps physicians diagnose some of the most difficult joints in the body, such as the shoulder and pelvis. It can also detect subtle damage to the spine and joints in patients with herniated discs and arthritis as well as show subtle sports-related injuries in ligaments and bones.

Myelogram

A myelogram is an x-ray procedure that allows your doctor to see the spinal canal of the back to evaluate the nerve roots. The procedure is performed in the Radiology Department at Iredell Memorial by a radiologist and is followed by a CT exam.

Before the procedure

It is important to drink as much fluid as possible the day before your myelogram. Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night prior to the procedure. Please bring any medications, in their original container, when you come for your myelogram. Your regular medicines should be taken the night before and the morning of your procedure (especially blood pressure and heart medications) as prescribed except for diabetes medicines and blood thinners. Medications taken the morning of the myelogram should be taken with a sip of water.

If you take any anticoagulants (blood thinners such as Coumadin®, heparin or Lovenox®) or antiplatelet medications (such as Plavix® and Ticlid®) these must be stopped before your myelogram. Please call your doctor for instructions on stopping these medications.

About your myelogram

You will be taken from the outpatient surgery department to the Radiology Department. Once in Radiology, a radiologic technologist will assist you on getting onto the x-ray table. If you have not had recent x-rays of your back done, x-rays will be performed.

During the myelogram, you will be lying on your stomach with a cushion placed under your abdomen. The radiologist will insert a needle into the spinal canal and inject a contrast material (dye) that will show up on x-rays and CT scans. After the dye has been injected, x-rays will be taken of your back from several angles. After the x-rays have been completed, you will be taken for a CT of your spine.

After your myelogram

When the procedure is completed, you will be placed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital room. You will be helped to lie on your back with your head elevated at an angle of 30-35 degrees.

After you have returned to your room you will need to remain in bed and lie on your back with your head elevated for six hours. You will also need to drink as much fluid as possible. These precautions help minimize the risk of developing a headache. A post-myelographic headache is the most common side effect of a myelogram, occurring in approximately one in five cases. You will be discharged from the hospital six hours after your procedure if you do not develop a headache.

Nuclear medicine

The patient receives a very small dose of a radioactive substance, and images are made by detecting the energy that is emitted by the substance. The amount of radiation a patient is exposed to is about the same as a routine x-ray.

PET CT

Iredell Memorial offers Iredell County's first permanently fixed PET system, the gold standard for advanced cancer diagnosis and other disorders. PET, or positron emission tomography, detects disease more quickly and accurately by identifying biochemical changes in the body.

The PET/CT has a variety of oncology applications, including early detection, determining the stage of cancer, checking for recurrence and assessing the effectiveness of chemotherapy. In addition, there are neurological and cardiac applications.

Learn more about Iredell Health System's full range of cancer services.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound systems utilize high-frequency sound rather than x-rays to produce images. Ultrasound can be used to show movement because the images are created in real time.

A painless procedure, ultrasound can image muscle, soft tissue and bone surfaces. It is often used to evaluate pain, swelling and infection. Common uses are to examine the bladder, gallbladder, kidneys, liver, ovaries, pancreas, parathyroid, spleen, thyroid, scrotum and uterus.

Ultrasound (also known as a sonogram) is often used to follow the growth and development of a fetus.