Medical Imaging (Radiology)
Verde Valley Medical Center's Medical Imaging Department is accredited by the American College of Radiology.
Ensuring patients have access to the latest medical imaging technology at VVMC continues to be a focus of the VVMC Board of Directors and Northern Arizona Healthcare. In its effort to accomplish this, VVMC combines leading-edge technology with professional, experienced, compassionate personnel. All of VVMC’s CT technologists are board-certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists and are licensed by the state of Arizona. Board certified radiologists are available on site at VVMC to provide consultations and interpretation of imaging results.
A state-of-the-art Imaging department is a vital part of diagnosis and treatment. In 2008, VVMC went completely digital with the latest computed radiography equipment and all images archived through a specialized Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS). Because every image captured at the hospital now is stored digitally, images can be quickly transferred anywhere in the world, including physicians' home or clinical offices.
Through VVMC's expansion project, the Imaging department also was relocated to a new, expanded Imaging suite in 2008 with upgraded equipment, larger rooms and additional space for continued growth and services.
Computed tomography (CT) scan, also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, is a radiology method that creates cross-sectional images, called slices, of structures in the body. In this procedure, X-rays are taken from many different angles and processed through a computer to produce three-dimensional (3-D) images called tomograms.
CT scanners offer the best combination of low radiation exposure and short examination times while maintaining excellent image quality. CT sees inside the body, into areas that cannot be visualized by standard X-ray examinations. The results of CT allows physicians to diagnose certain diseases earlier and more precisely.
The Siemens Somatom Sensation 64-Slice CT Scan offers patients the most powerful CT scanning equipment available outside of research and teaching facilities. It features ultra-fast scanning, short breath holds and superior image detail with the ability to reconstruct images in any plane or angle.
X-ray technology uses electromagnetic radiation to make images. Healthcare professionals use them to look for broken bones, problems in the lungs, abdomen, and other areas of the body.
Different parts of the body appear light or dark due to the different rates that body tissue absorb the X-rays. Calcium in bones absorbs X-rays the most, so bones look white on the radiograph. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less, and look gray. Air absorbs least, so lungs look black.
Utilizing digital fluoroscopy, VVMC’s Philips multi-diagnostic, G.E. Proteus XR/A and a variety of portable Imaging Equipment allows Imaging anywhere in the hospital, 24 hours per day, providing state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. It is an important tool used in many fields of medicine, and is capable of generating a detailed image of any part of the human body.
Healthcare professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumors. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.
In 2008 VVMC purchased a brand new, Siemens MRI. This 1.5 Tesla magnet is only high-field strength MRI in the Verde Valley.
The American Cancer Society recommends women 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. Medical research demonstrates annual mammography screening is the single most effective method of early detection of breast cancer. Research shows annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable. Mammography plays a central part in early detection because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.
VVMC invested in digital mammography to ensure patients have the most advanced technologies and treatments available, including Hologic TM-50 equipment and tomography. A recent medical study has proven that digital mammograms find cancers that traditional mammograms may miss. It also is especially effective for women under 50, women who are premenopausal, and women with dense breasts.
Since the digital mammogram doesn't have to be developed, results can be obtained more quickly. With the click of a computer mouse, radiologists can enlarge and enhance the digital image, adjust the contrast, or zoom in on specific areas. This technology means it's less likely women need to come back for a second test.
With the latest equipment and specially trained staff, each mammogram is performed by a registered mammographer. Use of the Mammo Soft Pad places a soft, warm, protective surface between the breast and the mammography machine which can significantly increase a woman’s comfort during mammography. Call 928 639-6580 to schedule a mammogram at the Sedona campus or VVMIC in Cottonwood.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Stereotactic technology uses a computer to enable a board certified radiologist or general surgeon trained in stereotactic guided breast biopsy to locate and obtain samples of tissue from inside the breast. It uses "stereo" X-rays (X-rays taken from multiple angles), and a special biopsy needle to aspirate or "vacuum" the targeted area containing the suspicious tissue.
Local, instead of general anesthetic is used so there is no hospitalization or prolonged recovery time necessary. It is one of the least invasive ways to perform a biopsy, and causes minimal disturbance to breast tissue.
VVMC uses a MammoTest Select Breast Biopsy System from Fischer Imaging, which represents the very best in breast biopsy: superior image quality, better access and maximum patient comfort.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Healthcare professionals use ultrasounds to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and other organs. During pregnancy, physicians use ultrasound tests to examine the fetus.
Unlike X-rays, ultrasound does not involve exposure to radiation. During an ultrasound test, a special technician or doctor moves a device called a transducer over part of the body. The transducer sends out sound waves, which bounce off the tissues inside the body. The transducer also captures the waves that bounce back. Images then are created from these sound waves.
VVMC utilizes two ATL 5000 high-definition ultrasound units with CT sonotechnology accompanied by a Nicolet Vasoguard vascular machine offering noninvasive vascular exams.
Nuclear medicine procedures allow early detection of disease by using small amounts of radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals, or isotopes, to create images of the anatomy. Isotopes are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues. They are introduced into the patient's body by injection, swallowing or inhalation.
As the isotope travels through the body, it produces radioactive emissions. A special type of camera detects these emissions in the organ, bone or tissue being imaged and then records the information on a computer screen or film.
Nuclear medicine is unique because it documents function as well as structure. For example, nuclear medicine allows physicians to see how a kidney is functioning, not just what it looks like. Most other diagnostic imaging tests reveal only structure.
Nuclear medicine procedures are performed to assess the function of nearly every organ. Common nuclear medicine procedures include thyroid studies, brain scans, bone scans, lung scans, cardiac stress tests, and liver and gallbladder procedures. It can locate the presence of infection and can determine the presence or spread of cancer.
Although nuclear medicine is primarily used for diagnosis, it can be used to treat disease as well. There are more than 100 different nuclear medicine examinations. The procedure is painless, with no anesthesia required, and documents the degree of organ function without surgery.
PET (positron emission tomography)/CT (computed tomography) scan is the leading diagnostic tool for many types of cancer, coronary heart disease and neurological problems. It combines nuclear medicine technology with X-ray, thereby providing both anatomical and functional information.
PET/CT is one of the most advanced, whole body imaging tools available and is an invaluable clinical test for both adults and children. This technology can provide information that enables physicians to make an earlier diagnosis or to determine if current treatment is working effectively. This capability can translate into faster initiation of the best possible treatment.
In oncology, PET/CT can accurately image multiple organs at the same time to diagnose malignancy and even provide information about whether or not cancer has spread to other parts of the body. In addition to cancer studies, PET/CT examines patients for myocardial infarctions and looks for reversible damage as opposed to permanent heart damage. PET/CT also is used in neurological studies, investigating brain metabolism in patients with dementia and epilepsy.
PET/CT allows physicians to look at the most minute chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism to see how a body is functioning. For the patient, PET is a safe and painless procedure with no known side effects, which typically takes approximately one hour to complete.