General Radiology, or Digital X-ray
Providence Imaging Center (PIC) is pleased to offer a full-line of radiology services to walk-in and scheduled patients alike. In our Anchorage location, we utilize three rooms including two fluoroscopy suites. Our team of experienced (over 180 years combined) registered technologists ensure expert, compassionate care to all of PIC’s patients. PIC is also a Learning Facility for future radiologic technologists who are enrolled in the UAA Imaging Sciences program.
Some of our services include Bone Density/DXA, General Radiography, and fluoroscopy.
X-rays are a form of radiant energy, like light or radio waves. Unlike light, X-rays can penetrate the body, which allows a radiologist to produce images of internal structures. The radiologist can view these photographic images on a TV or computer monitor.
X-ray examinations provide valuable information about your health and play an important role in helping your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases x-rays are used to assist with the placement of tubes or other devices in the body or with other therapeutic procedures.
As with other medical procedures, X-rays are safe when used with care. Radiologists and X-ray technologists have been trained to use the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain the needed results. The amount of radiation used in most examinations is very small and the benefits greatly outweigh the risk of harm.
X-rays are produced only when a switch is momentarily turned on. As with visible light, no radiation remains after the switch is turned off.
Providence Imaging Center in Anchorage performs several different X-ray exams that utilize a fluoroscope, making it possible to see internal organs in motion. Most of the tests we do are to image the gastrointestinal tract. Another test is often ordered by fertility specialists to view the female reproductive organs, and is called an HSG.
Fluoroscopy uses a continuous X-ray beam to create a sequence of images that are projected onto a fluorescent screen, or television-like monitor. When used with a contrast material, the area being examined is more clearly defined. This special X-ray technique makes it possible for the physician to view internal organs in motion (real time imaging). Still images are also captured and stored electronically on a computer.
The fluoroscopy studies that we offer do require some preparation, and must be scheduled in advance. They include:
- Barium Swallow (Esophagram) – nothing to eat or drink (including water) after midnight the evening before
- Upper GI – Download Prep Instructions (PDF)
- Small Bowel Series – Download Prep Instructions (PDF). Learn more about this exam at radiologyinfo.org – it includes images and a video of the images that are produced.
- Barium Enema with Air Contrast – Download Prep Instructions (PDF)
- Barium Enema – Download Prep Instructions (PDF)
- HSG (Hysterosalpingogram)
Hysterosalpingography, also called uterosalpingography, is an X-ray examination of a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes that uses a special form of X-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material.
Hysterosalpingography is primarily used to examine women who have difficulty becoming pregnant by allowing the radiologist to evaluate the shape and structure of the uterus and the openness of the fallopian tubes.
The procedure can be used to investigate repeated miscarriages that result from congenital abnormalities of the uterus and to determine the presence and severity of these abnormalities, including:
- tumor masses or adhesions
- uterine fibroids
Hysterosalpingography is also used to monitor the effects of tubal surgery, including:
- tubal ligation
- the closure of the fallopian tubes in a sterilization procedure and a sterilization reversal
- the re-opening of the fallopian tubes following a sterilization or disease-related obstruction
Please eat and drink as you would normally before this exam as it helps our radiologist visualize the area better. Also, please take some ibuprofen before the test (such as Advil) to help you relax and to reduce the chance of uterine cramping.
More information about this test can be found on the web at WebMD.
Bone densitometry, using an advanced technology called DXA (short for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), safely, accurately and painlessly measures bone mineral density. Bone densitometers with an additional capability called Instant Vertebral Assessment or IVA, may also produce an X-ray of the entire spine for the assessment of vertebral (spine) fractures. PIC’s bone densitometer can also precisely analyze your body fat.
During a comprehensive examination with DXA, you lie comfortably still on a padded table while the DXA unit scans two or more areas, usually the fracture-prone hip and spine. Unlike typical X-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low-less than the radiation exposure during a coast-to-coast airline flight. The entire process takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, depending on the number of sites scanned. It involves no injections or invasive procedures. DXA is a fast, convenient and precise way to determine a percentage of change from previous scans, and to help determine your risk of developing osteoporosis and future fractures.
Preparing for a bone density exam
Wear comfortable clothing without zippers or metal if possible (the metal creates a false reading). Patient gowns are also available. No special prep is necessary.
Do not schedule nuclear medicine or studies with Barium prep (like a fluoroscopy study, or certain MRI or CT exams) within ten days before your bone density exam as the contrast used in these tests will also cause a false reading.
Please refrain from taking any calcium supplements 24 hours before a bone density exam.
This number shows the amount of bone you have compared with a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. A score above -1 is considered normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 is classified as osteopenia, the first stage of bone loss. A score below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis. The T score is used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture.
Most people now understand that to have a healthier body means to have a leaner body. These people are ready for Body Fat Analysis (BFA). Currently, this test does require a doctor’s order as it utilizes a small amount of x-ray.
A relatively new technology that is very accurate and precise, BFA is based on a three-compartment model that divides the body into total body mineral, fat-free soft (lean) mass, and fat tissue mass.
The scanner passes across a person’s supine body and collects data. A scan takes between 10-20 minutes. It is safe and noninvasive with little burden to the individual, although a person must lie still throughout the procedure. The best results are achieved when patients change into a gown in order to prevent any false readings from snaps/zippers etc. in the clothing.
DXA is fast becoming the new “gold standard” for body fat analysis because it provides a higher degree of precision in only one measurement and has the ability to show exactly where fat is distributed throughout the body. It is very reliable and its results extremely repeatable; in addition, the method is safe and presents little burden to the patient.