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Mercy Hospital

Medical Imaging

Medical/diagnostic imaging


Medical imaging

For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150.

Mercy Hospital offers a full range of advanced diagnostic technology for peering inside the human body, including:

To interpret images, a full-time radiologist is on staff and is able to consult with additional specialists electronically.

For medical imaging information please call 763-236-7150.


Source: Mercy & Unity Hospitals, Medical Imaging
Reviewed by: Geri Heilman, Mercy Medical Imaging Manager and Vicki Goodman, Unity Medical Imaging Manager
First Published: 01/01/2005
Last Reviewed: 05/09/2006

Diagnostic x-ray


Mercy x-ray

Diagnostic x-ray encompasses many different types of exams such as bone imaging, chest x-rays, abdomen plain films, fluoroscopy and studies using contrast agents.

Exams that are done using fluoroscopy allow the radiologist to visualize the motion of internal structures and fluids. Using a variety of contrast materials that include barium and iodinated compounds, health care professionals can obtain images of the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, kidneys and spinal canal.




Fluoroscopy


Mercy x-ray

For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150 (Mercy) or
763-236-0500 (Elk Ridge Health).

X-rays cannot “see” soft tissue such as the digestive tract. To acquire an x-ray of these organs, it is necessary to use a contrast agent. Imaging of the upper digestive tract, often called an “upper GI series,” includes the organs from the mouth to the beginning of the small intestine; the contrast agent is taken orally. Imaging of the lower digestive tract, often called a barium enema, includes the colon and rectum; the contrast agent is administered as an enema at the time of your imaging appointment. The small bowel, the portion of your digestive tract between the stomach and the colon, may also be visualized with the use of oral barium.

Pre-appointment

Let your technologist know about any of the following:

  • Any previous surgeries
  • You are or think you may be pregnant
  • Allergies including latex allergies or sensitivity
  • When you last ate or drank
  • Medications you are taking

Patient experience

Fluoroscopy exams, also known as tableside exams, are done by the radiologist, assisted by the technologist. You will be asked to shift your position from time to time so the radiologist and technologist can capture the clearest images. The radiologist will explain the procedure as the exam progresses.

Each exam takes approximately one hour. Depending on the type of exam, you may have to hold your breath briefly several times. You may need to resist the urge to burp, or you’ll feel the need to go to the bathroom. Pressure may be applied to your abdomen and air may be added in addition to the barium. The radiologist or the technologist will be at your side explaining what is being done and why. The small bowel study may take up to two hours to complete.

When the exam is over, the technologist will assist you from the table and out of the room.

Patient preparation

Because the images are of your digestive tract, it is important for you to follow the general dietary instructions provided by your doctor and the imaging specialists.

You must have with you:

  • previous x-rays pertaining to your history as requested by the imaging department (if the exam is the same or related to the current study)
  • complete insurance information including your insurance card

Be sure to wear comfortable clothes. You will be asked to change into a gown for the exam. Your doctor will provide a prep sheet with specific instructions. Certain exams require a preparation kit, available at the clinic or the radiology department at Mercy & Unity Hospitals, which includes complete instructions.

Post-exam

Your x-ray images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be given to your physician. Your physician will contact you to share and discuss the results.

For general radiology information please call: 763-236-7150 (Mercy) or 763-236-0500 (Elk Ridge Health).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


MRI

For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the newest, and perhaps most versatile, medical imaging technology available. Doctors receive highly refined images of the body's interior without surgery, using MRI

Strong magnets and pulses of radio waves are used to manipulate the natural magnetic properties in the body. This technique makes better images of organs and soft tissues than those of other scanning technologies and doesn't require radiation. 

MRI is particularly useful for imaging the brain and spine, as well as the soft tissues of joints and the interior structure of bones. The entire body is visible to the technique, which poses few known health risks. The imaging is painless. The high field MRI surrounds the body like a hoop. 

 

The latest addition to MRI technology is magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which was developed to study blood flow (see description of MRA below).

Pre-appointment

The use of a magnetic field presents some limitation. Before making a MRI exam appointment, let your doctor know about any of the following:

  • Pacemaker, defibrillator
  • If you are or may be pregnant 
  • Brain aneurysm clips 
  • Surgeries, especially of the brain, eye or ear 
  • A gun wound or similar injury (shrapnel) 
  • Inner ear implant 
  • Metal plate, pin or other metallic implant 
  • Permanent (tattooed) eye liner 
  • Intrauterine device such as a copper-7 IUD 
  • Ever been a metal worker (had metal in your eye, etc.) 
  • Insulin pump or other infusion pump
  • Latex allergies or sensitivity 
  • You are claustrophobic 
  • Wear a medication patch (for example: pain, nicotine, hormone, etc.)

Patient experience

An imaging procedure typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the type of information requested by your physician. For the best quality image, you need to be as still as possible during the exam. Just relax, make yourself comfortable and breathe normally. 

In some cases, you may be given a contrast agent which enhances the MRI image. We use only safe, FDA-approved contrast agents. 

Your exam will be performed by a registered radiologic technologist. You will not feel anything. You will hear a drumming sound as the machine does its work and you will be able to hear a technologist throughout the exam. 

During a child’s exam, a parent may be in the room. When the exam is over, the technologist will assist you from the table and out of the room.

Patient preparation

You must have with you:

  • previous x-rays if requested by your doctor’s office 
  • complete insurance information including your insurance card 

For an abdominal or pelvic MRI:

For some MRI exams, you may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking three hours prior to your exam. Instructions will be given at time of scheduling.

The majority of MRI exams require no special preparation.

  • Eat normally and continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor unless you have been given other instructions. 
  • Wear comfortable clothes without metal fasteners such as zippers, buckles, or snaps. 
  • You will be asked to leave all items containing metal, and cards with magnetic strips such as credit cards, outside the room. 
  • You may be asked to remove dentures. 
  • For most MRI exams, feel free to bring your favorite audio tape or CD to listen to during the test. 

Post-exam

Your MRI images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be given to your physician. Your physician will contact you to share and discuss the results.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

MRA is a safe and accurate method of acquiring detailed images of the vascular system (your blood circulatory system). MRA technique is used to image the arteries of the brain, carotid arteries, the aortic arch, the abdominal aorta, renal arteries and vessels of the extremities.

Patient preparation
You should arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam.

For renal MRA and abdominal MRA:
Usually no restriction on eating or drinking. If restrictions apply to your exam, instructions will be given at time of scheduling.

For carotid or brain MRA:
You have no restrictions on eating or drinking.

Patient experience
You may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a patient gown and robe. The technologist will tell you what to expect during the procedure. You will be asked to lie on the MRI table where you will be moved into position for the study. A small needle may be placed into a vein, depending on type of MRI exam. The technologist will be outside of the room but immediately available at all times. You will hear the drumming sound of the MRI scanner while the imaging data is being taken. The examination will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

Post exam
Your MRI images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be given to your doctors. Please follow up with your doctor for results.

For general radiology information please call 763-236-7150.

CT (CAT) scan


CT scan

A CT scan is the term used to describe a radiologic test known as "computerized tomography." Computed refers to the use of a computer to create the image. Tomography refers to the fact that the images are of a plane of an area inside your body, like a single piece of bread from the middle of the loaf.

The CT scanner is a doughnut-shaped machine that takes pictures of cross-sections of the body, called "slices." An x-ray tube moves in a circular fashion around the area being scanned. The rays are picked up on a scanner, fed into a computer and seen on a computer screen.

CT can look inside the brain and other parts of the body, into areas that cannot be seen on regular x-ray examinations. CT makes it possible to diagnose certain diseases earlier and more accurately than other imaging tools. Because most diseases are better treated in the early stages, CT scans can help save lives.

Pre-appointment


CT scan

For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150.

Let your technologist know about any of the following:

  • Allergies/asthma
  • Latex allergies or sensitivity
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetic and other medicines you take (you may be required to have a blood test prior to your scan)
  • You are or think you may be pregnant  or you are breastfeeding
  • You ate or drank before the exam 
  • Previous reactions to contrast agents 


Patient experience

An imaging procedure typically lasts 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of information requested by your physician. For the best quality image, you need to be as still as possible during the exam. Just relax and breathe normally. You will lie on a bed that slides into a doughnut-shaped machine. 

Your exam will be performed by a registered radiologic technologist. To enhance the CT image, you may be given a contrast agent through an intravenous (IV) line or by injection. The technologist is always nearby to assist you. 

Patient preparation

You must have with you:

  • Previous x-rays if requested by your doctor’s office 
  • Complete insurance information including your insurance card 

For a head or neck CT:

Do not eat or drink anything two hours before the exam. 

For an abdomen, chest or pelvic CT:

Do not eat or drink anything during the two hours before the exam. You may be asked to drink an oral contrast agent at 1-1/2 hours and then again 45 minutes before the exam which helps to outline the stomach and intestinal track in the image. 

For a spine CT:

You have no restrictions on eating or drinking, unless instructed otherwise.
Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor unless you have been given other instructions. Make yourself comfortable during the exam. You will be able to see and hear a technologist throughout the exam.

Post-exam
Your CT images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be sent to your physician. Please follow up with your physician for results. 

For general radiology information please call 763-236-7150.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound Ultrasound

For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150 (Mercy) or
763-236-0500
(Elk Ridge Health).

Diagnostic medical sonography utilizes high-frequency sound waves as the imaging tool. There is no radiation exposure and, unlike therapeutic ultrasound, it induces no physiological changes within body tissues. Ultrasound uses low energy sound waves, beyond the range of audible sound, in order to create images.

Ultrasound can be used to study abdominal, pelvic, pregnancy, thyroid, and vascular work and for performing invasive procedures such as biopsies.

Pre-appointment

Let your sonographer know about any of the following:

  • Previous diagnostic imaging of the area of concern
  • Surgery in the area of concern
  • Date of your last menstrual period
  • Medications you are taking 
  • Latex allergies or sensitivities

Patient experience

An imaging procedure typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of information requested by your physician. For the best quality image, you need to be as still as possible during the exam. Just relax and breathe normally. 

To capture images, the sonographer will be moving an instrument called a transducer over your skin. To ensure good contact for the transducer, a small amount of warm gel is spread on your skin in the area of the procedure. The gel will be removed at the end of the exam. When the exam is over, the sonographer will assist you from the table and out of the room. 

Patient preparation

You must have complete insurance information with you, including your insurance card. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes. You may be asked to change into a gown for the exam.

For a pelvic/OB GYN ultrasound:

Drink 32 ounces (four 8 ounce glasses) of water, finishing one hour before the procedure and do not urinate until after the exam.

For a kidney ultrasound:

Drink one 8 oz glass of water one hour before the procedure and do not urinate until after the exam.

For an abdominal ultrasound (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, aorta):

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, including gum chewing and smoking.

For other ultrasounds (vascular, thyroid, etc.):

You have no restrictions on eating or drinking.

Post-exam

Your ultrasound images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be given to your physician. Your physician will contact you to share and discuss the results.

For general radiology information please call: 763-236-7150 (Mercy) or 763-236-0500 (Elk Ridge Health).

Our departments promote "add-on" same day procedures.

PET


For more information on medical imaging please call,
763-236-7150.

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a medical diagnostic, imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about the body’s chemistry, cell function and location of disease – information not seen through CTMRI, X-ray, blood test or physical examination. Unlike CT or MRI, which look at anatomy or body structure, PET studies body function or the biology of diseases.  

How PET is used  
PET scans are ordered and used by physicians in the fields of oncology, cardiology, neurology and psychiatry to show various disease states.  

  • PET can help your oncologist tell if a tumor is cancerous.  
  • PET enables the cardiologist to screen for heart disease and evaluate damage from heart attacks. 
  • PET images can also be used to detect the early signs of neurological diseases. 

For general radiology information please call: 763-236-7150 (Mercy) or 763-236-0500 (Elk Ridge Health).