Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ask The Experts: Low Dose CT Scans

Atlantic Medical Imaging recently installed low dose CT technology in all of their outpatient imaging facilities that provide CT scans. The new technology reduces the radiation  exposure by up to 75% without compromising the quality of the images. This month's blog will focus on the new low dose CT technology and the benefits to patients and referring physicians.

In this edition of the AMI blog Dr. Ajay Viswambharan, a board certified radiologist at Atlantic Medical Imaging, answers some of the commonly asked questions about CT scans (CAT Scans).

What is a CAT scan?

Computerized tomography (CT), also known as a CAT scan, is a non-invasive, painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT imaging uses special x-ray equipment to produce multiple images of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied.

CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels provide greater clarity than conventional x-ray exams. Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders.

How does a CAT scan work?

In many ways, CT scanning works very much like an x-ray examination. In a conventional x-ray exam, a small burst of radiation is aimed at and passes through the body, recording an image onto photographic film or a special image recording plate. Bones appear white on the x-ray; soft tissue shows up in shades of gray and air appears black. However, unlike conventional x-rays, CT scanning provides very detailed images of many types of tissues as well as bones and blood vessels. 

Advancements in imaging technology now allow new CT scanners to obtain multiple slices in a single rotation. The scanners, called "multi-slice CT" or "multi-detector CT", allow thinner slices to be obtained in a shorter period of time, resulting in more detail, additional view capability, and shorter patient exam time. This is beneficial for all patients but especially children, the elderly and the critically ill.

What should I expect during the exam?

A CT exam usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the type of exam. Most CT exams are painless, fast and easy. With spiral CT, the amount of time that a patient needs to lie still is reduced. 

The technologists begins the CT exam by positioning you on the exam table. You be will be asked to lay very still and at times hold your breath. Next, the table will move quickly through the scanner to determine the correct starting position for the scans. Then the table will move slowly through the machine as the actual CT scanning is performed. 

You will be alone in the exam room during the CT scan, however, the technologists will be able to see, hear, and speak with you at all times. With pediatric patients, a parent may be allowed in the room but will be required to wear a lead apron to prevent radiation exposure.

Is there any preparation for the CAT scan?

The CT exam may require the use of a contrast material to enhance visibility of certain tissues and blood vessels. The contrast material can be administered via IV (intravenous) or orally. With intravenous contrast material, you will feel a slight pin prick when a needle is inserted into your vein. You may have a warm, flushed sensation during the injection of the contrast materials and a metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for a few minutes. Occasionally, a patients will develop itching and hives, which can be relieved with medications. If you become light-headed or experience difficulty breathing, you should notify the technologist or nurse, as it may indicate a more severe allergic reaction. With oral contrast, you will be asked to drink the contrast agent prior to the exam. 

Continue to check back for more information on low dose CT scans from Dr. Viswambharan. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now Offering Ultra Low Dose CT Scans

Atlantic Medical Imaging is now offering ultra low dose ct scans, with up to 75% less radiation than standard CT imaging.

AMI is the first radiology practice in the area to provide ultra low dose CT scanning at all of our outpatient facilities that provide CT services. With this new, highly advanced technology, we are able to reduce radiation doses by 50-75%* without compromising image quality.

You can be assured that your imaging will be done with the least possible radiation dose while still maintaining exceptionally high quality imaging. When you or your loved one needs a CT scan, ask for the ultra low dose CT scan at AMI. It’s one more reason why AMI is the region’s leader in medical imaging.

Recently, The Press of Atlantic City published an article featuring Dr. Robert Glassberg, President & CEO of AMI, discussing the new technology. To read the article click HERE.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (609) 677-XRAY (9729).

*Compared to conventional CT scanners.

Mobile Digital Mammography Van Schedule-July

This past spring, AMI hit the road with the new Dr. Jan Astin Mobile Digital Mammography Van. With funding from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, RNS Cancer & Heart Fund and the AMI Foundation, the Mobile Digital Mammography Van will offer life-saving screening mammograms to women throughout southern and central New Jersey.

For July location and scheduling information, click HERE and remember to check back monthly for updated location information.


Friday, May 2, 2014

New Jersey’s Breast Density Notification Law Goes Into Effect

Women in New Jersey  who have mammograms will also get a letter informing them about breast density due to the new law passed requiring patients to be informed on the topic.


New Jersey is not the first to pass this law, in fact 14 other states are now requiring radiologist to tell their patients that dense breasts can mask tumors. This is sue to the way the tissue appears on a mammogram. Like tumors, dense tissue shows up white on the scan, unlike fat which appears black. Because of this, the law also requires insurance companies to raise coverage for addition screenings such as an ultrasound, breast MRI, and/or a 3D mammogram if the patients mammogram shows dense breast tissue or if they have additional breast cancer risk factors. However, additional testing may be subject to utilization review for medical necessity to determine coverage.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Take a Walk on the Wild Side!


The AMI Foundation with Dr. Robert Glassberg is proud to be the Corporate Chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlantic & Cape May Counties first ever Wild Walk for Kids!  

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization dedicated to helping children realize their own potential and building better futures. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is the nations largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network. That means, they would not be a success with out the help of local volunteers, donors, and partners within the community. 

By joining us for The Wild Walk for Kids you will be making a difference in the lives of children in Atlantic and Cape May Counties. We invite you to join us at the beautiful Cape May County Zoo and Park on Saturday April 5th, 2015 for a day full of fun, animals, food, music & more!

Registration will begin at 10am and is followed by a 2 mile walk on the beautiful park grounds. Hang around after the walk for lunch and fun activities for the whole family!
 
Register to walk & Join Team AMI, or donate today! 
For more information on signing up please visit:  http://www.wildwalkforkids.org/

A Big Thank You for Your Support!

The AMI Foundation would like to thank everyone that supported the 4th Annual Images of Springtime Fashion Show and Luncheon. We had another successful event this year, with over 150 attendees, and raised much needed funding for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. 

Here are a few photo's from the days fun event! 














Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Don't Wait to Show Off Your Legs!

For the month of March we have focused on venous disease and treatments available at The Vein Center at Atlantic Medical Imaging for those suffering from varicose or spider veins. 

Dr. Michael Schmidling answered your most popular questions questions in our previous posts, It's Time to Show Off Those Legs!, Are Your Legs Summer Ready?, & Start Loving Your Legs Again!. In this segment he continues covering information on who can schedule a consultation appointment, insurance coverage, and what to expect with your first appointment. 


Who should consider scheduling a consultation appointment?


If there are symptoms that concern you such as leg heaviness and aching, restless legs, night cramps, or swelling,  now is the time to schedule a consultation. Often, after a few brief screening questions, we can schedule a free consultation appointment with one of our physicians. 

Are men at risk for venous disease? 

Although varicose and spider veins are more common in women, men are also at risk to develop them. As with women, the risk is greater with age.

What can a patient expect from their first visit? 

If there are no bulging veins, patients are typically scheduled for a complimentary consultation. Patients will be seen in our vein center in Galloway Twp or Hammonton. If sclerotherapy of spider veins is all that is required, then an appointment for this treatment can be set. 

If there are more significant findings, such as varicose veins, patients will be scheduled for a complete consultation. In these complete consultations appointments a more complete medical history and physical examination will be performed. To develop a comprehensive treatment plan, an ultrasound of the legs will be performed and reviewed with you. 

Is this covered by insurance?

Treatment of larger varicose veins is considered symptomatic and  typically covered by insurance. Treatment of spider veins can be considered cosmetic and not typically covered by insurance.  

Should patients be advised of any precautions with these procedures?

For certain procedures patients are advised to stop blood thinners and aspirin prior to the treatment, if cleared by their physician. Remember, as always do not stop taking any medications without first discussing this with your doctor. This will also be discussed prior to scheduling your treatment appointment. 

To schedule a consultation with AMI's Vein Center, or to get more information, please call (609)-652-6094.