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Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging

Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging

Atmore Community Hospital offers a wide range of diagnostic imaging tools. The imaging modalities include diagnostic x-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All procedures are maintained on the Radiology PACS (picture archiving computer system) for future reference.

Services are offered to inpatients, and outpatients having orders from their physician. For procedures that require appointments, please call the scheduling department line and the staff will be happy to assist you in scheduling your procedure. Many procedures do not require appointments, call the Radiology department if you have any questions or concerns.

All procedures are read by a board certified radiologist and a typed report is faxed to your doctor usually within 24 hours of having your procedure.

Department Contact Information: 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323

For more information on specific procedures select one of the following links.

Computerized Tomography (CT)
Diagnostic X-Ray
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Nuclear Medicine

Computerized Tomography (CT)
What is a CT scan?
Computerized Tomography, also known as a CT scan or CAT scan, is a diagnostic test that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body.
Simply put, a CT scan is similar to a loaf of bread. We can take an individual "slice" from the "loaf" - a body section- and look at that specific slice. CT technology is used to diagnose tumors, cancers, heart disease, vascular conditions, brain disorders, traumatic injuries and various other abnormalities within the body.

CT scans are painless unless your particular test requires an injection of contrast material. CT scans take from 10 to 25 minutes depending upon what type of test your doctor has ordered.

How to Prepare for your CT scan.
You will be asked to complete a history form before your test. The questionnaire asks current health information and the medications you're currently taking. Some scans require the use of safe contrast media. Contrast is sometimes referred to as a dye. There are 2 types of contrast used for scans, one is taken orally and the other is injected.

What is oral contrast?
Oral contrast high lights your digestive system bright white so various abnormalities can be seen. The taste of the contrast may not be pleasant, but it is important for the success of your test, that you finish all the contrast.

What is IV contrast?
IV contrast is injected into a vein to high light blood vessels and vasculature throughout your body. It is important to tell the technologist if you have a history of allergy to contrast or a history of renal failure. If you know you're allergic to IV contrast before your test, notify your physician so that you can be pre-medicated the day before your test.

Important Instructions
Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your CT scan. *You are allowed to have fluids to take your daily medications with.
Tell the technologist if you have a history of allergy to IV contrast.
Tell the technologist if you are or might be pregnant.

What to wear.
You may be asked to change into a gown for your test. Most of the tests do not require changing into a gown. It is important that no metal be in the area to be scanned, with the exception of orthodontic appliances.

Day Before Your Test
Be sure you bring a list of all medications you take. If your test requires a prep, follow all the instructions that were given to you, to ensure your ready for your test at the appointed time.

You can pre-register for your test if you would like. This can be done at the Out Patient Registration desk located at the front of the hospital. Be sure to bring your insurance cards and driver's license.

Day of Your Test
Remember not to eat anything prior to your test. Wear comfortable clothing.

Check in at the Out Patient Registration desk. They will make copies of your insurance cards and driver's license. They will give you paperwork to bring to Radiology.

After you check in at the Radiology desk, you may be given paperwork to complete, if not already done. This form must be completed for every CT scan you have.

When you're taken to the CT room, the technologist will ask you to lie on a table either head first or feet first depending upon the type of test you're having.

After the technologist has positioned you on the table, they will leave the room during the scan. During the scan the table will move slowly thru the scanner several times. The technologist will be monitoring you during the entire scan and give you instructions through the intercom. It is extremely important to hold still during your scan.

If your test requires IV contrast, the technologist will start an IV for administering the contrast.

The scan will take between 10 to 20 minutes. After all the images have been obtained, the technologist will assist you off the table.

After Your Test
The radiologist, a board certified doctor with special training in radiology, will review your scan and make an interpretation. This report will be sent to your doctor, usually within 24 hours.

If you were given oral contrast it is important that you drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquid within a 24 hour period if you are able to tolerate it. This will allow you to flush out any contrast that was given. It is normal for the oral contrast to cause either diarrhea or constipation depending upon your body.

If you're a diabetic taking pill medication
You will be given special instructions not to take some of these medications for 48 hours after your IV contrast. You will be instructed to call your doctor (who prescribes that medication for you) with any questions.

Contact Information
CT Department - 251- 368-6378 or 251-368-6323
Radiology Department - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323

Diagnostic X-Ray
The Radiology Department at Atmore Community Hospital uses digital technology to perform all procedures. All of your procedures will be stored on a computer called a PACS (Picture Archiving Computer System). If you need to request a copy of your studies you will be given a computer disc (CD) instead of film.

The digital image is sent to the computer where it is reviewed by a radiologist. The radiologist is a doctor that has specialized training in "reading" x-rays. All of the radiologist at Atmore Community Hospital are Board Certified by the American College of Radiology.

We do a variety of procedures in the Radiology department. Most procedures do not require an appointment or that you do anything special before the test. You may be asked to change into a patient gown depending upon the type of x-ray being done.

Procedures that require an appointment will usually require some type of preparation before you arrive for the test. The Radiologist performs these procedures with the assistance of the technologist. Check with the Radiology department staff before coming to the department if you are unsure if an appointment is needed.

After your x-rays are completed, the radiologist will review the images. The radiologist will interpret your study and a typed report will be sent to your physician. Most reports are sent out within 24 hours of your procedure.

If there is a chance that you may be pregnant please inform the technologist before having your x-rays.

Contact Information:
Radiology - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
What is it?
MRI uses a powerful magnet and computer technology to create detailed images of the soft tissues, muscles, nerves and bones in your body. There are no known side effects
of MRI, and it uses no radiation. Atmore Community Hospital offers MRI procedures on a GE high field scanner. The "bore" is the donut shaped device that the table will slide thru during the procedure.

What to Expect
Generally, there are no special preparations to follow before your exam. Because MRI uses a strong magnetic field, metal objects may interfere with the scan. We ask that you leave your valuables at home. We provide a secure location to store your keys, jewelry and other valuables during the exam. We ask that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, without zippers, snaps, etc. you may be asked to change into a hospital gown for image quality and safety reasons.

All metallic/surgical implants must be assessed for safety before having any MRI procedure. Common implants that may not be safe for MRI procedures include certain makers and models of the following:
Aneurysm clips in the brain
Inner ear (cochlear) implants
Implanted spinal cord stimulator
Metallic implants
Metal fragments in one or both eyes

Please notify our staff if you have had anything artificial implanted in your body.
Have removable dental devices
Wear a hearing aid(s)
Have ever been a metal worker
Are pregnant or think you might be
Are breastfeeding
Are diabetic
Are on dialysis
Have a kidney disorder
Have anemia or any diseases that affect red blood cells

If you have any questions about your eligibility to have an MRI scan, consult with your doctor. You may call the MRI staff and they will be happy to answer your questions as well.

What to Expect
After registering at Out Patient Registration bring your paper work to the Radiology Department. You will be asked to complete an MRI Screening form. Be sure to bring a list of your medications with you. While most MRI scans do not require the use of contrast material, there are times that contrast material is needed. A review of your medications is done before giving you any type of contrast.

Once you're positioned in the scanner, the technologist will communicate with you throughout the procedure via an intercom system. The scanner makes many loud and
strange noises during the scan. Ear plugs are provided to reduce the noise level during your scan. Remaining relaxed during the scan helps to reduce body movements.
The average MRI scan takes 30 - 40 minutes.

After your procedure is finished the radiologist will review your images and provide a typed report to your doctor within 48 hours.

Contact Information
MRI - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323
Radiology - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323

Nuclear Medicine

What is it?
Nuclear medicine provides information about function and structure of various organs within the body. The procedures are safe and relatively painless. The amount of radiation is equal to regular x-rays. Nuclear Medicine uses a radioactive substance - given by mouth or injected - depending upon the procedure.

Be sure to tell your doctor and the technologist if you might be pregnant or are lactating.

What to expect?
After registering at the Out Patient Registration, you will report to the Radiology Department. You will be asked to complete a Patient History form. This form is completed any time you will be given contrast - by mouth or injected. Be sure to bring a list of your current medications.

After you have completed the form, the technologist will take you to the nuclear medicine suite. The radioactive substance, also called an isotope or "dye" will be given either by mouth or injection depending upon the procedure you are having.

At the appropriate time, the technologist will have you lie on a narrow table. You will not need to change clothes, but you will want to dress comfortably. Once you're in position, the technologist will position you under a large round or pointed device that takes the images. The time it takes to acquire images varies depending upon the study. You should plan to be with us for a minimum of 2 hours.

Questions Commonly Asked:

1.Will the radioactive substance hurt me?
Answer: Radioactive substances are derived from naturally occurring elements and generally do not create an allergic reaction.

2.Will the "shot" make me sleepy?
Answer: No, the injection will have no effect on your body. You will be able to resume normal activities once the test is completed.

3.Can I eat before my test?
Answer: For most procedures you can eat. There are a few exceptions - studies of the GI tract or GI bleed studies that will require you to withhold food the morning of your test.

Contact Numbers:
Nuclear Medicine - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323
Radiology - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323


What Is It?
Ultrasound is similar to the way sonar is used by dolphins or submarines to detect objects. Ultrasound produces great images of organs that are soft or filled with fluid, but doesn't work as well for examining air-filled organs or bones. Ultrasound is a safe and painless test, usually taking 15 to 30 minutes.

Why Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate a developing fetus. Ultrasound can be used to determine if a lump is solid or cystic, to see the size and shape of an organ, to detect gallstones and to look for blood clots in the legs. Ultrasound can be used as a guide when a needle is being inserted into the body for tissue sampling, or to remove fluid.

Getting Ready
Abdomen scans require an empty stomach. You cannot eat or drink after midnight the night before your test.
Pelvis scans require a full bladder. Drinking 8 ounces of liquid every 15 minutes the hour prior to your appointment will ensure a full bladder. Thyroid scans and Venous Doppler scans (looking for blood clots) do not require any preparation.

What to Expect
When you arrive for your appointment check in at the Out Patient Registration desk. Be sure to bring a list of medications and insurance cards. Bring your paperwork to the Radiology Department. The technologist will escort you to the ultrasound suite where you will change into a gown.

A small amount of gel will be applied to the area to be scanned. The gel helps the sound waves move into your body. The technologist will slide a small instrument thru the gel. The instrument is called a probe or transducer and is used to capture the sound waves as they bounce off organs.
Once the procedure is finished, the gel will be wiped off and you will be allowed to dress.

The radiologist, a doctor specialized in reading ultrasounds, will review your images and interpret his findings. A report will be sent to your physician within 24 hours.

Contact Information
Ultra Sound - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323
Radiology - 251-368-6378 or 251-368-6323