Radiology

CT Scan

CT (computerized tomography) scans take x-rays of various body parts and use computers to process the images, creating cross sectional and 3D images of structures within the body.

Fairmont Regional Medical Center has 2 CT scanners, with services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We perform routine and emergency scans as well as biopsies under the guidance of a radiologist. Routine appointments must be scheduled through centralized scheduling with a physician’s order.

Our CT technologists work closely with the Emergency Department staff and physicians to provide you with top quality procedures and a rapid report turnaround time. This assists the Emergency Department to treat and diagnose your condition as efficiently as possible and helps to reduce the total amount of time patients spend in the ED.

Your CT scan may require oral, IV, or rectal contrast. Your physician will advise you of any prep instructions required and our staff will carefully screen you prior to your study to ensure your needs and medical history are taken into consideration. 

Calcium Scoring: This is a screening exam that takes between 10-15 minutes and requires no IV contrast. It assesses a patient’s likelihood of cardiac disease by measuring calcium deposits on the arteries surrounding the heart.

CT Angiography with Runoff Our 64-slice scanner uses state of the art technology to visualize arteries within the abdomen and lower extremities to determine if a patient would benefit from arterial intervention in our catheterization lab. This exam requires an injection of iodine into the vein and can be completed in less than a half hour.

Orthopedic 3-Dimensional The 64-slice scanner can also create 3D images of bone structures to better visualize fractures and other orthopedic disorders.

Radiation Reduction Fairmont Regional Medical Center is committed to radiation safety and has adopted radiation reduction protocols in accordance with our “Image Gently/Image Wisely” program. Our efforts to produce quality images at the lowest patient dose possible were commended by The Joint Commission on our most recent inspection.

DEXA

As many as half of all women and a quarter of men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. At Fairmont Regional Medical Center, we use Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) to determine a patient’s bone density. The results are sent to your physician, who can use the information to determine your risk for developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. Because osteoporosis is a silent disease, it is necessary to have screening procedures such as the DEXA scan to diagnosis bone density so the condition can be treated before a patient unnecessarily breaks a bone.

The DEXA scan uses low dose radiation to visualize and measure the density of the bones in the lower back and hip. If a patient has had prior surgery or is unable to lie on their back, we can also perform the scan in a sitting position using the forearm. The scan lasts between 10-15 minutes and it is recommended that you wear loose clothing with no metal zippers, buttons, or snaps for the exam.

Low Dose CT

Low dose CT screening for high risk smokers is now available at Fairmont Regional Medical Center. A large national study (National Lung Screening Trial) showed that a low dose CT scan (done without dye injected into the veins) resulted in 20% fewer deaths from lung cancer when used instead of a regular chest x-ray to screen patients considered at high risk for developing lung cancer. Lung cancer very often does not cause symptoms until it is very advanced and the outcome for patients is not good, even with treatment. Lung tumors found at an early stage can be very treatable. 

Patients must follow the criteria set up in the trial to take part in the screening which requires an order from a physician. The criteria for screening are:

  • Be between the ages of 55-74
  • Have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years (multiply the number of packs smoked in a day by the number of years smoked)
  • Are current smokers or have quit within the past 15 years (smokers who have quit more than 15 years ago do not qualify)

Anyone who has been exposed to certain chemicals in their work such as asbestos, silica, diesel fuel, and others may also qualify. One downside to the screenings is that there were many lung nodules that were found in the trial that caused concern for patients that ultimately did not turn out to be cancerous. The screening is not currently covered by insurances but is available to interested patients for a cost of $99.00. 

If you are interested in the screening, call your doctor and ask about this simple test that could save your life. For more information, call: (304) 367-7247

Mammography

A mammogram takes only a few minutes, but those few minutes could save your life!

A mammogram is an imaging procedure used to x-ray the breast's mammary tissue. Mammograms are used to find benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors before they can even be palpated by human touch. The digital mammography machine at Fairmont Regional Medical Center uses state of the art technology to locate lumps and tumors even in very early stages.

It is the decision of yourself and your health care provider as to when you should have your first mammogram. However, several medical organizations have set guidelines depending on age and risk factors.

There are two types of mammograms. Screening mammograms are done annually if you are having no symptoms or breast complaints. Diagnostic mammograms are performed when you have symptoms such as pain, discharge, palpable lumps, dimpling of the skin, or nipple retraction. Diagnostic follow up procedures may be ordered if results indicate more views are needed. Often only one breast will require additional imaging, which could include spot compressions or additional views. When these are completed the radiologist may decide to use ultrasound or MRI to make a more accurate diagnosis.

Your mammogram will be done by a radiologic technologist who has specialized in mammography. Each breast will be imaged individually and placed between a compression device to separate the normal breast tissue from any surrounding tissue. Two images of each breast (a frontal and side view) will be taken. Once the technologist has determined she has all the information required to make a diagnosis, a board certified radiologist will read the mammogram and send a report to your physician. You will receive a letter of your findings within 7 business days.

Stereotactic Biopsies:
Fairmont Regional Medical Center has recently begun performing these specialized breast biopsies which are done as an outpatient procedure and have a lesser recovery time compared to a traditional breast biopsy. If you are faced with the necessity of needing a biopsy, your physician can advise whether this procedure would be appropriate for your needs.

MRI

Fairmont Regional Medical Center offers MRI services in a brand new state of the art MRI suite located within the radiology department. The MRI unit is operated by experienced, board certified MRI technologists Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 4:30 pm. 

MRI technology uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to take 3-dimensional images. It is most useful in neurological, orthopedic and abdominal structures. Even though MRI and CT scan images and scanners look similar, each technology has distinct differences in how it looks into the body. 

Advantages of MRI:

  • MRI has much higher detail for soft tissue structures
  • CT uses x-rays to construct an image. MRI uses a magnetic field without x-radiation exposure.
  • MRI has the ability to adjust sharpness of image by changing the radio waves and magnetic fields.
  • Can highlight different types of tissue in ways no other technology can.
  • Contrast agents are used in both MRI and CT; however MRI contrast does not contain iodine.

For an MRI procedure:
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the appointment time. You may eat and drink as normal. You will be asked to change into hospital scrubs during your exam. If you are claustrophobic, you may ask your doctor to prescribe medication to help you relax during your exam. If you take it, please have someone drive you home.

Advantages of MRI at FRMC:

  • A 70 cm wide bore for more space around you
  • Quiet technology to reduce acoustic noise
  • Next generation clinical applications designed to reduce exam time

Delivers uncompromised imaging capability to help your physician make definitive diagnoses

The Technologist will screen you well prior to taking you into the scan room.  Some conditions may prevent you from having an MRI. If any of the following apply, please tell your doctor before scheduling.

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Cochlear implants
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Metal filing / fragments in your eyes or body
  • Body piercing / tattoos
  • Pregnancy

Nuclear Medicine

Imaging
Nuclear Medicine is the diagnostic imaging technology of how the human body functions. While other tests show what is inside the body, your physician may also need to know if something is just not working properly. A very safe, radioactive “tracer” will be given to you by a Technologist. You will not feel any side effects. Once this “smart medicine” traces to its target area it gives off low-level radiation that a diagnostic test can detect to reveal either normal function or disease

In most diagnostic tests the radioisotope has a short half-life that will leave your body fairly quickly, so it is safe for you to be around other people. In addition, these medicines are not associated with allergic reactions. Whichever procedure you are having, the Nuclear Medicine Technologist will make you comfortable for a test that takes a bit longer than other type procedures. Some of the most common functional procedures are Myocardial Perfusion (Cardiac) Stress Testing, Bone, HIDA (gall bladder) and other gastrointestinal studies, Thyroid / Parathyroid, Kidney and Infectious imaging.

Therapy
Our Nuclear Medicine unit can also provide therapy for the following conditions:

  • Radioactive Iodine-131 Therapy for hyperthyroidism
  • Radioactive Iodine-131 Therapy for thyroid cancer after surgery
  • Brachytherapy for prostate cancer  

Our Nuclear Medicine Technologists adhere to all regulations by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and work closely with Radiologists authorized to use this technology.

PET/CT Mobile Services

Fairmont Regional Medical Center contracts PET/CT scanning services from Insight Imaging, a leader among national mobile imaging companies. The imaging suite is located in a trailer between Radiology and the Emergency Department and is staffed by PET Nuclear Medicine/CT technologists every other Saturday.

PET and Nuclear Medicine show body function, while other modalities image the physical appearance of body structures. A special-order radioactive “tracer” is injected into your vein, and after it travels to a specific part of the body the scanner can reveal disease earlier than in some other tests. A PET scan is useful to determine the extent of many types of cancers, and the tumor(s) response to cancer therapy. It can also be used to evaluate for seizures, Alzheimer’s Disease, and possible cardiac abnormalities.

PET/CT is a hybrid scanner that detects the absorbed short half-life radioisotope that “lights up” a part of the body, and uses low-level CT exposure to localize the site. Because of the type of radioactive disease-seeking substances used, and the precise CT localization in relation to other tissues, organs and bone, there is an accurate distinction between benign and malignant tumors. PET/CT has become an important cancer imaging tool for diagnosing the spread of cancer and staging of therapy.

And you should know ...

  • PET equipment is very similar in size to a CT scanner. 
  • You should not have metal objects on clothing in the scan area. Metal implants are no problem.
  • The day before the test you should have low-carbohydrate meals.
  • The day before the test also avoid strenuous activities.
  • On the day of test you may have only water; food and other liquids could prevent test from being done.
  • The PET injection is special-ordered for a specific time on a specific day. The radioactive medicine decays in energy very rapidly, so please arrive on time; otherwise, the substance may decay to the point where there is no longer enough for an adequate test, causing the appointment to be rescheduled.
  • This is a very important test to help diagnose you or your loved one, and help on the road to recovery.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound (sonogram) uses sound waves to image body organs and tissue. There is no radiation involved and it is a safe procedure for infants through elderly patients. All of our ultrasound technologists at the Fairmont Regional Medical Center are registered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and have been trained extensively on various ultrasound exams and procedures. 

The Fairmont Regional Medical Center Ultrasound Department is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Outpatient exams can be scheduled with a physician’s order through centralized scheduling and time slots are available 7 days a week including evenings. 

Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy and Needle Placement
Ultrasound waves can be used to localize an area that looks suspicious and needs to be biopsied by a radiologist or other physician. Using the ultrasound probe as a guide to the area of interest, the physician will remove small amounts of tissue or fluid to be analyzed for a diagnosis. Ultrasound guided biopsies are typically performed on areas such as breasts, thyroids, and lymph nodes. 

Internal Guided Exams
The insertion of a sterile probe is required for some prostate and pelvic ultrasound procedures. In addition, the ultrasound technologist also assists the urologist in performing prostate biopsies, and the oncologist with accurate placement of prostate brachytherapy radioactive seeds.

Ultrasound Guided Fluid Removal
Ultrasound can be an excellent tool to assist in the removal of excess fluid from the lung or abdomen. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis with a physician’s order. Your physician can also provide you with the necessary instructions to follow prior to arriving for this procedure. During this procedure (called a thoracentesis if we are removing fluid from the lung or a paracentesis if we are removing fluid from the abdomen), the radiologist will numb the skin, then insert a needle or catheter to withdraw the fluid. We can also perform amniocentesis procedures to withdraw amniotic fluid from the pregnant uterus to help provide information about an unborn child’s health.