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MRI

WHAT IS AN MRI?

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a test done to see organs and other structures in the body. It uses magnetic fields and radio wave pulses to create images of the body. The MRI machine varies in shape configuration depending on use of a closed or open design. There is little preparation needed when getting an MRI. Unless instructed otherwise, a patient can eat normally and take his/her medications (if any are taken) before an MRI exam.

HOW IT WORKS

During the exam, a technologist monitors a patient’s body images from another room while he/she lays on the table within the MRI machine. The procedure takes about an hour on average. It is important to lie very still during the scanning process since any movement can blur the images. It is common to hear repetitive and loud noises during the screening so ear plugs or headphones are provided to reduce noise during the procedure. Once the test is completed, a patient can resume normal activities.

CT

WHAT IS A CT SCAN?

A computerized tomography (CT) scan is an X-ray test done to produce cross-sectional images of internal organs and structures of the body. The CT machine is shaped like a donut and the X-ray images consist of many different angles of the body. In preparation of a CT scan, patients are asked to avoid eating food or drinking liquids for some hours before the test.

HOW IT WORKS

Similar to an MRI test, a patient is placed on a table that slips into the center of the CT machine which takes X-ray images of the body. The procedure takes about an hour unless a specific test or monitoring requires additional time. It’s important that the patient is very still during the exam to increase the clarity of X-ray images produced.

ULTRASOUND

WHAT IS ULTRASOUND?

Ultrasound images are created using high frequency sound waves to create the images. Ultrasound has a good safety record because it does not use radiation. The technologist will apply a probe to your skin using a warm gel. During this process the technologist will obtain static images for the radiologist to view. The ultrasound itself is not painful, but if you experience pain during your exam please notify the technologist so that probe pressure can be adjusted. Once your exam is completed, the radiologist will review your images and a report with your result will be sent to your doctor.

HOW IT WORKS

Ultrasound is an imaging modality that uses sound waves to produce images. Typically, ultrasound is used to image the organs of the abdomen and pelvis, the pregnant uterus, or the blood vessels of the arms, legs, and neck, but ultrasound can also be used for guidance during invasive procedures such as biopsies and arthrograms. Ultrasounds usually take approximately 45 minutes to perform and you may need to be prepped (asked to not eat or drink, or asked to come with a full bladder) depending on which ultrasound examination you are having done. Your scheduler will guide you as to which prep to use. 

X-RAY

WHAT IS AN X-RAY?

An X-ray is a test done to produce images of the body, particularly of the bones. X-ray beams are a form of electromagnetic radiation that pass through the body and are absorbed at different degrees to produce white (bone) and gray (fat and muscle) images.

HOW IT WORKS

An X-ray machine produces safe levels of radiation to pass through a patient’s body and create images of the area being examined. A patient may be positioned in certain ways to get proper views of the body parts being X-rayed. Similar to a MRI and CT scan, the patient should remain still during an X-ray. The test can take anywhere from a couple minutes for bone X-rays to more than an hour for more specialized procedures.

LUNG CANCER SCREENING
  • Lung cancer screening needs to be thought of as a process, rather than a single test.
  • The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is helical low-dose computed tomography (also called low-dose CT or LDCT) for persons who are at high risk for lung cancer because of their age and cigarette smoking history.
  • The National Lung Screening Trial, a clinical research study in which participants at high risk for lung cancer were randomly assigned to receive lung cancer screening with LDCT or chest x-ray, found that screening with LDCT reduced lung cancer deaths.9 In this test, an x-ray machine scans the body in a spiral path and uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs.
  • If an LDCT scan reveals a pulmonary nodule, additional evaluation may be needed to determine whether lung cancer is present.10
  • The American College of Radiology has developed a Lung Imaging Reporting and Data System (Lung-RADS) to help classify nodules and standardize the interpretation of LDCT scans. A nodule may be monitored with serial CTs, evaluated further (for example with a PET scan or biopsy), or managed surgically depending on its size and chance of becoming cancer.10
  • Clinical settings that have high rates of diagnostic accuracy using LDCT, appropriate follow-up protocols for positive results, and clear criteria for doing invasive procedures are more likely to duplicate the results found in carefully controlled research studies such as the National Lung Screening Trial.

WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED ?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends (www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce. org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/ lung-cancer-screening) annual lung cancer screening with LDCT for persons who—

  • Have a history of heavy smoking (i.e., a smoking history of 30 pack years or more), and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Are between 55 and 80 years old. A pack year is defined as smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. A person can have a 30 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
Arthrography

WHAT IS AN ARTHROGRAM?

An Arthrogram is a test done using X-rays and a contrast material (dye, water, air or a combination) injected into a joint to see the soft tissues of the specific joint being examined. The soft tissues can be tendons, ligaments, muscles or cartilage in the joint, and they cannot be viewed on a plain X-ray.

HOW IT WORKS

An Arthrogram is used to find the cause of joint pain or swelling. A patient will sit or lie down under an X-ray machine and have a contrast material injected into the skin over the joint with a needle. A patient should remain very still when the X-ray images are being taken unless the doctor specifies otherwise. The X-rays must be taken quickly before the contrast material spreads to other tissues around the examined joint. An Arthrogram usually lasts between a half hour and an hour.

Health Guide

Take control of your health by drinking lots of water, eating a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, managing your stress and getting medical checkups done regularly.

IMPROVING YOURSELF 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By doing the basics, you can potentially prevent a bad health condition from occurring rather than just treating one that may already be there. Medical diagnostic imaging tests are critical reports done for treatment of a condition and prevention for worsening ones. Be good to your body and it will be good to you!