At Vision XRAY, we offer a wide variety of radiological services for patients. To diagnose and treat conditions, we use examinations that assess bones, muscles, organs, nerves, and more. We utilise equipment that can focus solely on the limbs, torso, head, and even on the teeth. In fact, dental imaging is a frequently used service here at Vision XRAY. At Vision XRAY we offer a full range of dental imaging services including CT cone beam, CT Dental scan, OPG, TMJ X-ray and Lateral Cephalogram. Two of our frequently used procedures for dental imaging include the OPG and the lateral Cephalogram. Today, we take a closer look at what these two examinations are all about.
An OPG can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool for dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and other physicians who work with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. The OPG delivers a wide image of the patient’s jaw region on a single film. Essentially, this is a panoramic x-ray of the jaw and teeth which encompasses the front and sides.
Such a x-ray may be needed at various points in your life. If you’re experiencing jaw tension, popping, or frequent headaches, your practitioner may want to assess you for disfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This condition causes many people to inadvertently grind their teeth and experience pain. Using the OPG, the radiologist and practitioner can note problems or misalignment with the joint. They may also be able to see evidence of teeth grinding.
The OPG is frequently used in patients of all ages, younger patients or those entering orthodontic services, older patients or those looking for tooth decay or prior to tooth implantation. The panoramic image is ideal for showcasing the position of the teeth, the relation to the sinus and nerve and for those teeth that have emerged to the surface and those that are still under the gum line. This can help your physician prepare and plan for the best mode of treatment. The OPG is also commonly used to determine whether wisdom teeth are present in a patient, and can assist in preparation for an extraction.
What to Expect With an OPG
An appointment for an OPG should not take more than 15-20 minutes. You will need to remove jewellery or metallic objects from head and neck. The patient stands near the machine and places their chin onto a chin rest. To steady your jaw, your radiographer will ask you to bite down on a small plastic portion. The x-ray mechanism of the OPG machine rotates around the jaw, creating the panoramic image. The patient will be asked to stand still while the images are obtained. The x-ray itself takes only takes seconds.
Another useful assessment tool in dental imaging is the lateral cephalogram. This is an x-ray which generates a side view of the head that can provide important information about the teeth and jaw. The lateral cephalogram shows facial structure, bone, and soft tissue. Your radiologist or dental practitioner can use these images to study the relation of your teeth to your jaw, assess problems in alignment or growth patterns, and prepare treatment.
The lateral cephalogram is best for observing jaw alignment. If you have an overbite or underbite, for example, these images will provide better detail and allow your practitioner to develop the best approach for your needs. This x-ray is commonly used in children to predict growth patterns in the teeth and jaws. The lateral cephalogram is used with adults as well, to study changes made from treatment or track other issues.
If you are working with an orthodontist, the lateral cephalogram may be ordered alongside the OPG. This x-ray is useful in tracking the progress of treatment.
What to Expect With a Lateral Cephalogram
An appointment for a lateral ceph should take approximately 15-20 minutes. Often, you’ll receive this scan in conjunction with the OPG. You will need to remove jewellery and metallics from your head and neck. For your lateral ceph you’ll be asked to keep your teeth together, and may lean your forehead against a steadying implement. The x-ray itself will be completed in only a few seconds
Dental Imaging At Vision XRAY
Questions about the services offered at Vision XRAY? We are happy to answer any queries or provide further information. Contact us today to set up your appointment, or for additional details.
If there’s one thing radiologists see a lot of, it’s broken bones. With 206 of them, bones play a vital role within the human body. Bones primarily support body structure, allowing us to stand tall and execute a range of movement. Bones protect our more vulnerable internal organs, store important minerals such as calcium, and also contain marrow which allows for blood cell production. Bones are extremely important, and help us remain active all through our lifetime. A broken bone is never fun, and while you may not be able to prevent accidents from occurring (though you can certainly minimise this risk), you can take steps today to make your bones as healthy and strong as possible.
Boost Your Bone Health
According to Healthy Bones Australia, there are 3 essential elements involved in maintaining healthy bones: exercise, calcium, and sunshine. Each factor plays an important role in strengthening your bones. With bone health knowledge under your belt, it is surprisingly easy to boost your bone health in your everyday lifestyle.
Get That Calcium
Calcium deposits are what build our bones and keep them healthy. Some calcium is needed throughout your life to keep your bones at their strongest. Older children and adolescents require the most calcium intake in their daily diet, as their bones are growing rapidly at this stage. As we age, we also need to keep tabs on our intake, as bone calcium levels begin to decrease, especially for women. After the age of 50, women may need to include more calcium in their diet, or even take a supplement. Maintaining proper levels of calcium helps to prevent osteoporosis and keeps our bones from becoming brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
What foods provide calcium?
You can easily consume your daily recommended calcium amount by eating calcium-rich foods. When most people think of calcium, they think of milk. While milk has the highest calcium content, you can get it from a wide variety of sources, including soy milk, natural yogurts, cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, and edam, sardines, mussels, salmon, tahini, and even many vegetables, such as bok choy, chickpeas, and watercress.
Move Your Body
Exercise is a large part of maintaining healthy bones. Exercise has an endless number of important benefits for your body, but for bones, exercise provides work for your muscles, which, in turn, aids in improving bone density. Physical exercise should be undertaken at least 4 times per week to get the maximum results. Cardiovascular activity is great for bones, but only if it is weight-bearing such as basketball or running. Resistance training, balance-focused workouts like yoga, and traditional weight lifting are also excellent sources of bone-boosting exercise. You should participate in a variety of activities and aim to do high-impact exercise frequently.
Enjoy the Sunshine
When your skin is exposed to rays of the sun, vitamin D is produced within your body, another vital element for healthy bone maintenance. Vitamin D helps your body better absorb calcium, which assists in the strengthening of your bones. It’s easy to get your recommended Vitamin D from the pleasant Australian sunshine (only about 10 minutes are required on summer days) but it’s important to limit your sun exposure to prevent sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer.
We Love Healthy Bones
With a focus on the three elements of sunshine, exercise, and calcium, you will be on track for strong and durable bone health. If you have further questions or are concerned about your bone health, you should talk with your physician. Vision XRAY offers painless Bone Density testing (DEXA) with referral from your physician. AT Vision XRAY we’d be happy to help you discover ways to boost or examine your bone health. At Vision XRAY, in addition to providing our bone densitometry, we’re happy to help you discover ways to boost or examine your bone health.
During pregnancy, nothing is more important to a mother than the health of her baby. A healthy pregnancy also depends on a healthy mother. If there is a concern about your own health or that of your unborn child, there may be a need for radiological scans to help in diagnosis and treatment.
As you might know, although radiological scanning procedures are generally considered safe, scans that utilise x-ray technology do pose a slight risk, as these expose you to small amounts of radiation. At Vision XRAY, we adhere intensely to a stringent set of safety standards, minimising radiation dosage for our patients as much as possible. In the case of pregnancy, it is advised to avoid all scans that utilise radiation. A woman who is with child should therefore not undergo any x-ray or CT scans. But what if scans are needed?
Scans for Pregnancy
When assessing the health of a foetus, we use ultrasound technology, a completely safe, non-invasive method which provides detailed images of your baby. The pregnancy ultrasound is an excellent tool for checking on the baby’s health. Ultrasound can also be of benefit in scanning other areas of a patient’s body, if needed.
Occasionally, something is noticed on an ultrasound that may require a closer look at the foetus. Or perhaps the pregnant mother is experiencing a problem and an internal scan is needed. In such a case, the radiological tool of choice is the MRI.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, a scan which utilises radio waves and a magnet to generate remarkably intricate images of a patient’s body. The MRI machinery uses wire coils to transmit radio waves and their resulting signals build a series of cross-section images, creating a multi-dimensional understanding of the bodily tissues. Because of the excellent images MRI produces, it is an extremely useful tool in diagnosis and treatment, both for problems in a pregnant mother or health concerns within the foetus. An MRI lasts a bit longer than a CT scan or x-ray, and may require the use of an orally-ingested contrast dye to assist with imaging.
Is MRI Safe for Pregnant Mothers?
Unlike x-rays or a CT scan, MRI does not use ionising radiation. This makes it an ultimately safer scan as it does not have the same inherent exposure risks. Numerous research studies have been done to assess the possible risks of MRI on pregnant women and their babies. No adverse side effects have conclusively shown to result from MRIs performed during pregnancy. MRI is considered to be a safe test for pregnant women. However, to reduce any possible risks, an MRI is typically not performed until after the first trimester of pregnancy.
The health and safety of our patients is our number one priority at Vision XRAY. We always try to reduce the number of tests and scans required on a pregnant mother whenever possible, administering MRI only when health concerns indicate that it is medically necessary or prudent to do so. If you have further questions or concerns regarding MRI or scans during pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to speak with you and provide more information on our services here at Vision XRAY.
Selecting a medical professional can often be a challenge, and a process that can feel overwhelming. There’s a great deal of information out there, and a seemingly greater number of providers. While you put care into selecting a primary physician, it’s important to choose the right medical professionals in other areas. Radiology is no exception. But how do you find the right radiologist for you? How do you ensure you select a great radiologist?
Perhaps the most important indicator of quality in the medical field comes from word-of-mouth recommendations. When individuals find an outstanding professional, they often want to share this news with others. You should look for a radiology practice that has a top reputation and is known for their consistent excellence in care and service. Find out what groups and centres are most celebrated in your area.
Training & Technology
Radiology is a specialised and highly-technical field. When seeking the right radiologist, you want a team that has extensive experience and training. Ideally, a centre should have a number of radiologists with superior credentials and who focus on a range of specialties. This lets you know you’re in capable hands and are working with a team who has experience in all aspects of the field.
It’s also wise to pick a radiology practice which uses only the highest quality of equipment and state-of-the-art technology. Teams that keep on top of the latest technological advances and emphasise low-dose radiology machinery also earn points in this category.
Communication & Collaboration
A radiologist may be top in their field, but this accomplishment is diminished if he or she lacks exceptional communication skills. It is imperative that your radiologist is equipped and ready to work closely with your primary or referring physician, when necessary. This level of collaboration ensures you receive the best possible medical care.
At Vision XRAY, we are in constant communication with physicians and other healthcare providers, and we utilise teleradiology technology for ease and swiftness of sharing medical records and increasing communication and cooperation.
While such factors may not be as important as quality of care, you should consider logistics when selecting a radiologist, such as convenience of the practice location. You will likely wish to work with a radiology centre that is in your area, particularly if you anticipate frequent visits. A radiology practice with several locations may be ideally suited to your needs.
Commitment to Patient Care
Above all, you owe it to yourself to choose a radiologist who demonstrates a sincere commitment to patient care. You want to be in the best hands when it comes to your health and safety.
At Vision XRAY, we believe we embody all of the above criteria, but most of all, we strive to emphasise our dedication to offering the utmost level of care for each and every patient. In everything we do, we aim to promote our core values of compassion, justice, human dignity, excellence, and unity. If you’re seeking a great radiologist, please consider Vision XRAY, and find out why we are the radiology group against which all others are measured.
At Vision XRAY Group, the safety and care of our patients is at the core of everything we do. Our organisation has been around since 2002, when we began providing radiological services to Australians in Sydney and regionally at our additional locations. Vision XRAY was built on the values of compassion, justice, excellence, unity, and human dignity. Our practice is focused on implementing these values in our every action. By starting with these vital values, we are able to ensure our safety standards are continually met and expanded. How do we give patients our best? Here are a few of the areas we emphasise:
Patients are the Priority
We offer a wide range of services at Vision XRAY. This provides a variety of options when it comes to the scans and procedures we can provide to our patients. Our radiologists know that each patient is unique and thus, their needs and care will vary greatly. We work closely with each individual patient, ensuring our care plan is consistent with providing the best, tailored for that patient’s specific requirements. What this means is that we select (alongside the patient’s physician) the most appropriate scans and procedures which will be most effective for diagnosis and treatment. We also choose the scans which will be best for image clarity and accuracy. As we make these selections, we work to expose the patient to the minimum possible amount of ionising radiation.
A Focus on Radiation Levels
At Vision XRAY, we are highly focused on controlling radiation exposure, protecting our patients and maximising your safety and care. For xray and CT scans, which use ionising radiation to produce images, we emphasise minimising radiation dosage, honing in on the specific region of the body under observation to use the lowest possible dose. We also have invested in top of the line specialty CT and xray equipment, which can allow for “ultra low dose” scanning and can deliver excellent imaging results using smaller radiation amounts. With certain circumstances, we take extra precautions to minimise radiation exposure, such as when scanning a pregnant patient or a child, and in these cases, we will elect for alternate scanning options when possible.
The Best Equipment, Staff, & Systems
Vision XRAY is entirely radiologist owned and operated. We are a team made up of accredited, talented radiologists with extensive experience in our field. We have set a precedent for accepting only the highest standards and our practices strive to continually meet and exceed these levels.
Our top trained radiologists are experts at what they do and each are committed first and foremost to patient comfort and care. Each member of our team embodies our organisation values in everything he or she does. You can feel confident in Vision XRAY as we meet the Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme standards put forward by Australia’s Department of Health and Ageing.
In addition to employing outstanding radiologists and staff, Vision XRAY uses state of the art equipment which is meticulously serviced and maintained. In keeping with our strict standards, we are always continually evaluating our systems and procedures and promote continuous learning amongst our team. We hope to remain at the forefront of technological advancements and systems development, as we tirelessly work to provide more efficient and effective procedures and overall better patient care.
When it comes to medical diagnosis and treatment, physicians and other practitioners use a vast range of procedures, methods, and tools in their care. Radiology plays a major role in the medical arena, and its importance only continues to grow as technology and science contribute continuous new advancements to the field. Radiologists work with a variety of scans, but the most commonly used are CT scan, MRI, general x-ray, and ultrasound. Depending on the nature of the injury or illness, a radiologist may use a single type of scan or use several scans in combination. How does the radiologist determine which scan to use in patient diagnosis and treatment?
A Closer Look at Common Radiology Scans
The x-ray is the most broadly used type of scan, and most people have probably had at least one x-ray in their life; dentists use x-rays to assist them in the proper treatment of patients’ teeth, for example. The x-ray scan uses electromagnetic energy waves to create images of the bones and other interior structures.
A CT (computerised tomography) scan is a more advanced x-ray which rotates to provide cross-sections of internal images. Using a higher dose of radiation, the CT is able to produce a much more detailed scan, which becomes important when diagnosing or treating certain types of issues.
Ultrasound is well-known for its use in monitoring pregnancy and providing images of the growing foetus inside the mother. Ultrasound technology does not use ionising radiation like the x-ray or CT scan, but uses sound waves to build images of the patient’s body.
Like the ultrasound, MRI, or Magnetic resonance imaging, does not utilise ionising radiation in its scans. Rather, MRIs work with magnets and radio waves to capture their internal images. An MRI is a scan which takes longer to complete, but the pictures it can produce are highly detailed.
Practical Applications of Radiology Scans
X-rays are very common, particularly for more “visible” ailments such as injuries. For broken bones or an overview of an internal organs, x-rays might be the best choice. Fast and effective, an x-ray produces an adequate scan with a reasonable dose of radiation. X-rays are generally considered the right scan for imaging bones, which explains their extensive use in dentistry.
A mammogram is specialised type of x-ray, used to scan women’s breasts for early indications of breast cancer. It is typically recommended for older women or those with a family history of breast cancer to be scanned yearly. In terms of early diagnosis, mammography is highly effective. Using x-ray technology, it does expose the patient to radiation, so its use should be as limited as possible and used minimally in young women.
When common x-ray is not appropriate, the more advanced CT scan might be chosen. The majority of CT scans use a significantly higher dose of radiation than the x-ray, but CT produces an image with much greater detail, as it creates 3D cross-section pictures of the patient. To minimise radiation exposure, CT scans can be highly localised onto the area of the patient’s body under analysis. A radiologist might choose to use a CT scan in cases of testing for abnormalities such as tumours or blood clots. Physicians often elect to use CT scans during surgeries or other tests to assist with navigating during the procedure, for example with the delicate workings of endoscopic sinus surgery.
Ultrasound is the scan of choice for observing growing babies within the mother’s womb. Ultrasound technology has grown by leaps and bounds, and extremely detailed images can now be procured. This technology is useful to radiologists as it does not subject the patient to any form of potentially harmful radiation, which is particularly important for the expectant mother. Additionally, ultrasound can be used for other purposes, such as soft tissue scans of the pelvis, extremities, neck, and abdomen or for musculoskeletal ultrasound: scanning for abnormalities in joints, muscles, and tendons. The radiologist might choose such a scan if other scans would unnecessarily expose a vulnerable patient to radiation.
Unfortunately, ultrasound is sometimes not effective enough to complete a full diagnosis. When scanning for cancerous lumps, for instance, ultrasound may be performed first followed by the more detailed MRI or CT scan. In their work, careful radiologists try to opt for the scan which presents the least possible risk for patients, but in some cases, additional, more advanced technology is required to form an accurate diagnosis. As always, the advantages and the risks will be weighed and the most beneficial course of action chosen.
MRIs and CT scans are both tools which offer a high level of detail. In many cases, a radiologist will decide which to use between these two scans. While both are very effective, the area of the body under evaluation will often guide the radiologist in his or her decision. MRIs are a good choice for scans of the ligaments, tendons, or spinal cord, as MRI tends to produce images with better density. Conversely, a CT scan might be selected in the case of internal organ injury or when testing for blood clots, tumours, or other masses.
Choosing the Right Scan for the Job
Which scan to use depends upon many factors. The radiologist typically works closely with the patient’s physician, and together they determine which scan(s) will be most effective for their patient’s needs. In addition to selecting the scan which will provide the highest level of detail, radiologists must also consider what scans tend to produce the best images and results for the specific ailment in question. Other considerations include the patient’s age, level of health, and previous exposure to radiation. The radiologist will select the best tool for the job as well as the scan that will be safest for their patient. It’s important for the physician and radiologist to strike the proper balance between efficacy and protection. At Vision XRAY, our radiologists strive to minimise radiation whenever possible, and the health and safety of our patients is always our priority.
You may have heard that Vision XRAY offers teleradiology services within our practice. Yet you may be left wondering: just what is teleradiology? Teleradiology is the sharing of radiological medical images such as x-rays, MRIs and CT scans via electronic technology. The purpose of this system is to allow patient information to be available remotely. This helps to achieve greater accuracy, efficiency, and speed when it comes to patient diagnosis and treatment. The ability to share imaging easily and quickly allows patients and radiologists access to other radiologists as well as specialists. It also facilitates simple communication between physician and radiologist. Working with our healthcare partners, we enable rapid image sharing with community medical centres, hospitals, and private health centres.
Teleradiology at Vision XRAY
At Vision XRAY we use the RRRA (Remote Radiology Reporting Australia) system of teleradiology. RRRA was the first teleradiology practice in Australia, founded in 2001 and expanding ever since. We have 8 certified teleradiologists at Vision, and they prepare and handle imagery from MRI, CT scans, ultrasound, cone beam CT, dental x-ray, and chiropractic x-ray, among others. In most cases, images are transmitted within a timeframe of 24 hours–faster during emergency or urgent circumstances.
Technologically speaking, the RRRA teleradiology system is very advanced. Information is shared via a secure PACS system using Wide Area Network (WAN) and broadband as well as wireless options. A VPN as well as other protective measures ensures security and confidentiality of transmitted data. The IT infrastructure is strong and expertly-managed; in the case of any outages or errors, the system is supported by multiple servers, data backups, and other fail-safe mechanisms to keep the program up and running. At Vision XRAY, our teleradiologists have dedicated workstations for sending and receiving imagery, equipped with state of the art technology.
Practical Applications and Benefits
Thirty or so years ago, technology necessitated that radiologists physically be present when their expertise was needed. Teleradiology has vastly altered the process for analysis and diagnostic of medical imaging; radiology remains at the forefront of ‘telemedicine’ or medical care provided remotely or across several locations. The use of teleradiology allows radiologists to communicate clearly and easily with hospitals, physicians, surgeons, and more. This has certainly changed radiology practices, allowing radiologists to work effectively in various locations and streamlining and improving the process for patients.
As a patient at Vision XRAY, we may use teleradiology as an effective tool in your diagnosis and treatment. Communication with doctors, hospitals, and radiologists is better facilitated through the use of this premier technology and you can feel confident that Vision XRAY is committed to continuing to use the best available technology and practices available.
Probably the number one question heard by our team of radiologists regards our most common scan: the x-ray. Our patients want to know: “is x-ray technology safe?” The best way to discover an answer to a medical question comes from uncovering further information. The better understanding you have of x-ray technology and its risks, the more prepared and informed you’ll feel when it comes to dealing with x-rays and making decisions regarding your health.
First, let’s take a closer look at x-ray technology itself.
The most widely used scan, the x-ray, uses waves of energy (electromagnetic radiation) to create detailed pictures of the interior of a patient’s body. As the x-ray passes through the body, it produces images of the bones, organs, and other internal structures. Typically, x-rays are used to look at broken bones, for dental images, or for a closer look at internal organs, among a variety of other uses. X-rays are a very quick scan, and are completely painless for the patient. As x-rays are comprised of energy, radiation from a scan is absorbed into the body. This amount of radiation, known as a radiation dose, is what causes many patients concern about whether or not x-ray technology poses a threat to their health.
X-ray technology is also utilised in a CT scan. Traditionally, a CT uses a significantly higher radiation dose than plain x-ray, but also provides much more detailed information, which can be paramount in diagnosis. In recent years there has been a reduction in CT dose for a variety of reasons. Smaller areas are imaged when possible and the technology optimises the use of the dose for most effective, low dose results.
Radiation in the World
It may come as a surprise to some, but as we go about our daily lives on this planet, we are constantly exposed to some naturally occurring “background” radiation. Depending on where you live, your radiation exposure may vary. Even an airline flight exposes a passenger to a small amount of radiation.
In comparison to natural exposure, x-ray technology does not bring you in contact with much greater amounts of radiation. Background radiation is equivalent to 4 chest x-rays a year. Some x-rays and CT scans use significantly higher doses of radiation, but even these amounts pose a small risk to a patient.
Many patients may be concerned about the risk of cancer from radiation exposure. According to the UK’s National Health Service, x-ray exposure increases your risk of developing cancer by only one in a million. Though the risk of developing cancer may be small, we continue to focus on patient safety through everything we do at Vision XRAY, and we always utilise the lowest possible radiation dose.
A Focus on Safety
The radiologists at Vision XRAY are committed first and foremost to patient safety, health, and comfort. As a result, when it comes to any technology used, we always seek to minimise risks and perform scans efficiently and effectively. With x-ray, we are wholly focused on using the smallest amount of radiation possible, while still producing effective scan results. Our radiology team always adheres to the recommendations and regulations put forth in the most highly-trusted and scientifically-sound medical research available.
When it is determined that an x-ray or other scan is needed, the benefits and importance of the scan in diagnosis and treatment are the main considerations by your physician and/or radiologist. That the benefits outweigh the potential risks is the primary factor in deciding whether a scan is needed for a patient. In the vast majority of cases, the effectiveness of an x-ray or other scan is significant enough to combat the threat of any potential risks. As a rule, x-ray technology is safe for patients.
In terms of CT scans, which generally use a higher dose than general x-ray, manufacturers have researched and become increasingly aware of dosage. As a result, several different methods of reducing dose in CT scan have been developed by the manufacturers that significantly reduce dose. For example, a certain type of CT which screens for lung cancer makes use of ‘low dose” technique that reduces dose to about 25% of the usual.
Furthermore, we at Vision XRAY, alongside many other leading radiology centres, have developed an “ultra-low dose technique” on some specialised CT scanners we use. This reduces the dose further for specific studies, particularly when following the progress of certain conditions. When working with CT, we always specify the minimum possible radiation dose.
For children and pregnant women, radiation exposure can be more damaging. Special consideration and attention is taken when it is necessary for a child to receive an x-ray. Radiation doses used will always be minimal. As a pregnant woman, you may be concerned about safety risks for your unborn child. X-rays are generally considered harmless for a developing child, but there may be a small chance of complications developing, particularly early on in pregnancy. You should always inform your radiologist if you believe you may be pregnant. For pregnant women, x-ray technology may be avoided unless absolutely necessary. X-rays of the head or extremities typically do not affect the baby at all, and ultrasound technology, which is used to observe foetal development and health, is a scan which uses absolutely no ionising radiation. In the event that rare circumstances arise in which an x-ray is needed during your pregnancy, your radiologist will take all precautions necessary to ensure your baby is exposed to as little radiation as possible.
As medical research makes incredible advances in the world of technology, there is more information available than ever before regarding radiation dosage and possible health impacts. At Vision XRAY, we adhere to the most up-to-date, sanctioned guidelines when it comes to x-rays and appropriate radiation dose. As technology moves forward, there is an increased focus on using ultrasound and MRI in diagnosis and treatment. These can be beneficial alternatives to x-ray and CT scan, as neither MRI nor ultrasound use harmful radiation. The future seems to hold the promise of ever better and safer technology, and we at Vision XRAY will continually look for ways to give our patients the very best.
Nuclear medicine is one of many radiological services offered at Vision XRAY. Not a familiar concept to most, nuclear medicine is a very useful tool which assists in diagnosis on a more detailed level of scan. Today, we take an inside look at what nuclear medicine is and how it can help our patients.
On the Molecular Level
What is incredible about nuclear medicine, is it helps radiologists access a patient’s body on the molecular level. Within the realm of molecular imaging, nuclear medicine utilises radiopharmaceuticals (very tiny amounts of radioisotope) in diagnosis and treatment. Working with special scanning technology, these radiopharmaceuticals can be observed within the patient’s body and create the needed images, on a remarkable level. More common diagnostic tools, such as XRAY, CT scan, and MRI can produce advanced and high quality images of the physical structure of specific areas of the body. Yet nothing provides the detail that nuclear medicine can attain.
How Does the Process Work?
The procedures for nuclear medicine vary greatly. On a basic level, if you’re undergoing nuclear medicine, you will be administered a small quantity of radioisotope, typically through injection. During the procedure, a gamma camera will be placed around the key areas of your body being examined, producing the necessary images. Your radiologist will discuss the specifics of each procedure in greater detail if your situation requires nuclear medicine.
What Does Nuclear Medicine Do?
Nuclear medicine has many uses in the medical world. This type of scan can provide radiologists and physical with greater insight into your condition and your health. Nuclear medicine is effective in diagnosing a variety of illnesses and problems, including bone disorders, heart disease, and brain disorders, among others. In particular, nuclear medicine is important in identifying certain diseases in theur earliest stages. Assisting with a cancer diagnosis, nuclear medicine can determine the exact location of a tumor, sometimes even prior to the appearance of symptoms. It is one of the methods which can help with earliest possible detection. Often, nuclear medicine can be utilised as a form of treatment with cancer, kidney disorders, and brain diseases, as well as other illnesses.
Unlike biopsy or similar invasive methods, nuclear medicine has the benefit of being a completely non-invasive procedure. It produces the same results, if not better in certain circumstances, and its ability for early detection of some diseases makes it an excellent tool for patients.
Is it Safe?
Many patients express concern over the potential risks involved with undergoing nuclear medicine. The procedures of nuclear medicine do involve some ionising radiation, similar to other scanning technology, such as general XRAY. As radiation exposure is cumulative there is always some inherent risk involved. However, the amount administered in nuclear medicine or an XRAY is neglible and is not dissimilar from amounts of radiation you are likely to be exposed to naturally. Vision XRAY is committed to your safety, and always uses the lowest possible doses of radiation in our procedures and treatments.
Unfortunately, many patients will experience joint pain throughout their life. This can occur particularly as the body ages, sometimes caused by arthritis, but joint pain can also transpire as a result of strain, overuse, or injury. Radiology is one of the most effective diagnostic tools available for investigating joint pain. Through various mediums such as XRAY, Ultrasound, MRI, and CT scan, radiologists and physicians can closely examine the patient’s joints and surrounding structures, helping to determine the cause of the problem and find appropriate solutions.
Where Does Joint Pain Occur?
Joint pain may affect any joint within the body, but common areas of pain include the hips, shoulders, wrists, and knees. Joint pain may be caused by inflammation of tendons and ligaments, mal-alignment of joints, loss of cartilage, fractures, or related stresses and injuries.
Patients with arthritis or knee issues will commonly be referred for an XRAY. Your orthopaedic physician may request specific XRAY images of various angles of the joint in question. For knee pain, an XRAY can often indicate whether there is a fracture or bone spur. Your physician may closely examine the images to check for joint alignment and joint space. For arthritic patients, shrinking joint space can indicate a loss of cartilage and help determine the severity of the arthritis.
Ultrasound uses reflection of sound waves to produce an image and does not use ionising radiation, making it a harmless test. It is a dynamic examination so you can see movement both normal and abnormal. Ultrasound examines soft tissues so images can show ligaments and tendons. As it can also observe blood flow, this scan is also useful in assessing inflammation, as there is typically an increase in blood flow to the affected area.
For examining joints, a CT scan is another important tool for diagnosis. While XRAY is helpful for observing bone structure and problems with
cartilage and joint alignment, CT scan provides more detailed images of internal structures such as tendons and ligaments. The CT scan allows the physician to note problems with these structures as well as the internal structure of bones. In the shoulder, for example, there are several tendons which can be prone to tearing or inflammation. A rotator cuff tendon is a commonly injured area of the shoulder.
As the shoulder is a multi-layered area, an MRI is a frequently used scan for this part of the body. MRI scans can show the soft tissue as well as the bone, so this test can be especially useful in observing swelling. The MRI allows the radiologist and physician to see further detail of the interior structures. Frequently, an arthrogram is utilised to investigate shoulder pain. An arthrogram involves an injection of a contrast dye, which helps internal areas show up much more clearly on our scans. The arthrogram can be used in conjunction with a CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI.
There are many useful diagnostic tools and tests for determining the cause of joint pain throughout the body. Your radiologist, alongside your physician, will determine which scans are most appropriate for each patient. If you are experiencing any current joint pain, do not hesitate to contact your physician immediately. Injuries or other problems can be dealt with, and our radiology technology here at Vision XRAY is excellent for investigating these issues. Your doctor can refer you for a diagnostic scan, and together we’ll help determine the cause of your pain.