Watson Imaging Center in St Louis and St Joseph Missouri

Radiology Exams

Watson Imaging offers a number of exams using the latest technology

Many of our patients are surprised to learn that they have a choice on where to have their imaging services performed. Tell your doctor you choose Watson Imaging Center. We are a Missouri radiology imaging center with locations in St Louis and St Joseph that provides our patients with personalized imaging services from highly trained staff that “truly cares”.

Digital Mammograms

Today, 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. The most important thing to remember is that breast cancer is best treated when found early. Early detection of breast cancer is maximized through a combination approach of a monthly self-exam, a thorough physical examination by a physician and a mammogram. A mammogram is a special breast x-ray that can detect 90% of cancers – even before a lump can be felt. The American Cancer Society recommends that women have annual mammograms beginning at age 40.

Ultrasound Imaging

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high-frequency sound waves. The reflected sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Obstetric ultrasound refers to the specialized use of sound waves to visualize and thus determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her embryo or fetus.

Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body’s internal organs, including but not limited to the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs and enable physicians to see blood flow. This can help to diagnose a variety of conditions caused by illness.

Cat Scans

Computed Tomography (CT) imaging, also known as “Cat Scanning” (Computer Axial Tomography), combines the use of a digital computer together with a rotating x-ray device to create detailed cross sectional images or “slices” of the different organs and body parts. A computer reconstructs these “slices” to produce the actual pictures. CT has the unique ability to image a combination of soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels, giving your doctor the best information to make the most accurate diagnosis.

Bone Density Scans

Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and reformed. As a person grows, bone forms faster than it breaks down until it reaches a peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 35. After age 35, both men and women lose bone mass at a greater rate than it forms, causing bone loss. After menopause women start to lose bone mass at a much more rapid rate than men of the same age. As a greater amount of bone mass is lost, the bones become porous and brittle, a disease known as Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans with 34 million at risk. Annually, this disease is responsible for over 2 million fractures, of which 250,000 are hip fractures. To assist in diagnosing low bone density, a bone density scan can be done. This examination estimates the amount of bone mineral content in specific areas of the body, including the spine, hip and forearm. Early detection is the best way to protect against Osteoporosis.

Osteoporotic Fractures
Osteoporosis may go unnoticed if it is asymptomatic. Signs that there has been a reduction in bone mass include low back pain, loss of height over time often accompanied by stooped posture, and minimal trauma fractures. As bone mass decreases, the risk of fracture grows. The three principal sites of osteoporotic fractures occur in the spinal vertebrae, hip, and the wrist. Fractures of the proximal femur, or hip, may occur spontaneously or result from minor accidents. Fractures of the distal wrist, or Colles’ fractures, often result from a fall on an outstretched hand. Compression fractures in the lower spine result from a decrease in the trabecular bone of the vertebral bodies. These can be caused by little or no trauma. Deformities of the spine may occur due to a collapse of these injured vertebrae. Dorsal kyphosis, or Dowager’s Hump, often results from fractures to the front of the vertebral body.

Indications of Bone Densitometry
Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis. In women, the cessation of estrogen production at menopause induces an acceleration of bone loss. Excessive loss in men is often linked to disease, certain medications, or secondary factors such as alcohol abuse. Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis are called “risk factors”. The NOF has identified the following risk factors:

  • Female
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants
  • Thin and/or small frame
  • Postmenopause
  • Diet low in calcium
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Low testosterone levels in men
  • Advanced age
  • Amenorrhea
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Being Caucasian or Asian

X-Ray Exams

An x-ray (radiograph) is a method of obtaining images inside the human body by exposing a specific part of the body with a minimal dose of ionizing radiation. An x-ray is the oldest and most used form of medical imaging. X-rays are the fastest and easiest way for a physician to view and diagnose: fractures, joint dislocations, fluid buildup on joints and other medical conditions.

MRI

MRI exams are only offered at Watson Imaging’s St. Joseph, Missouri location.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is an advanced, state-of-the-art method that produces very clear pictures, or images, of the human body without the use of X-rays. MRIs use a powerful, but harmless, magnetic field and radio waves, much like the kind that transmit your favorite FM station. The combination of the magnetic field and radio waves produce detailed images of body structures such as the brain, the spine, and other vital organs.

Why is it done?
MRI provides an uparalleled view inside your body.  It has become the prefereed procedure for diagnosing a large number of poternial problems in many different parts of the body.  Physicians use an MRI scan not only in defining anatomy but in evaluating the intergirty of the spinal cord after trauma.  An MRI scan can evaluate the structure of the heart and aorta.  It provides valuable information on glands and organs withing the abdomen as well as information about the sturcture of the joints, soft tissues and bone of the body.

How safe is MRI?
The powerful magnetic field of the MR system will attract iron-containing (also known as ferromagnetic) objects and may cause them to move suddenly and with great force. This can pose a possible risk to the patient or anyone in an object’s flight path. Great care is taken to be certain that objects such as “ferromagnetic” screwdrivers and oxygen tanks are not brought into the MR system area. It is vital that you remove any metallic belongings in advance of an MRI exam, including watches, jewelry, and items of clothing that have metallic threads or fasteners.

The powerful magnetic field of the MR system will pull on any iron-containing object in the body, such as certain medication pumps or aneurysm clips. Every MRI facility has a protocol that, when carefully followed, will ensure that the MRI technologist and radiologist knows about the presence of metallic implants and materials so that special precautions can be taken. In some unusual cases the exam may have to be canceled. An example is MRI of the head when a “ferromagnetic” aneurysm clip is present, because there is a risk of the clip moving or being dislodged. The magnetic field may damage an external hearing aid or cause a heart pacemaker or electrical stimulator to malfunction. If you have a bullet or other metallic fragment in your body there is a potential risk that it could change position, possibly causing injury.

A metallic implant or other object may distort the MR images or make it difficult for the MRI system to “tune” to your body. This may be unavoidable, but if the radiologist knows about it, allowance can be made when interpreting the images.

For some MRI studies a contrast material called gadolinium may be injected into a vein to help interpret the exam. Unlike contrast agents used in x-ray studies, a gadolinium contrast agent does not contain iodine and therefore rarely causes an allergic reaction or other problem.

The Question of Claustrophobia
Some patients who have MRI in an enclosed scanner may feel confined, closed-in, and frightened. Perhaps one in twenty will require a sedative to remain calm. In some cases, a relative or friend may be present in the MR system room, which also has a calming effect. If patients are properly prepared and know what to expect, it is almost always possible to complete the examination without any problems.

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