Grand River Health’s Diagnostic Imaging Department offers the very best in technological advances to care for our patients.
- Grand River Health was the first in the nation to order 3D breast tomosynthesis equipment and was the first facility in Colorado to offer this service to women. This system offers exceptionally sharp breast images, an advanced ergonomic design providing more patient comfort, and a groundbreaking 3D tomosynthesis platform designed to deliver superior screening and diagnostic performance.
- Grand River Health now offers upgraded CT equipment. The new General Electric (GE) machine will give patients the benefits of up to 40% reduction in radiation dose from the previous equipment, a faster procedure, less discomfort, in depth brain and cardiac techniques, and better images.
- Grand River Health Diagnostic Imaging will soon be upgrading to a Phillips Fluoroscopy machine. Typically used for upper GI tests, the new equipment will offer up to 80% less radiation dose, superior imaging quality, and has dedicated pediatric protocols.
Grand River’s Diagnostic Imaging Department offers some of the best imaging equipment on the market today, from digital mammography to nuclear medicine to the latest in MRI technology.
Our caring, knowledgeable staff will walk you through your procedures and answer any questions you have. We are proud to offer you only the best and strive to make sure you are comfortable and at ease.
Please call for available appointment times: 970.625.6442
Costs of Common Procedures
Services and Procedures
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast. It is used to find and diagnose breast disease in women. Your healthcare provider may order a mammogram if you have a breast problem such as a lump, pain, or discharge from a nipple. Your provider may also order one as a screening test. The test can look for breast cancers, noncancerous or benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt. If a mammogram shows an area in your breast that may be cancer, your provider can remove a sample of tissue. This is called a biopsy. Your provider may remove the tissue by needle or during surgery. The tissue will be looked at under a microscope to find out if it is cancer. X-rays use a small amount of radiation to create images of your bones and internal organs. X-rays are most often used to find bone or joint problems, or to check the heart and lungs. Mammograms are one type of X-ray.
Mammograms may also be done with the help of a computer to make digital images. This method is good for women younger than 50, women with dense breast tissue, and women who are premenopausal or perimenopausal. Digital mammograms are basically done the same way as a standard mammogram. With either method, the mammogram images are checked for masses, tiny mineral deposits called calcifications, or areas of abnormal density. Any of these may mean that you have cancer. The problem areas are highlighted by the computer for a radiologist to look at. Why might I need a mammogram? You may need a mammogram as a screening test or to help your healthcare provider make a diagnosis.
You should have a mammogram if you are older than 25 and have any of these symptoms:
- A lump
- Thickened skin on your breast
- Skin indentation on your breast
- A nipple with leaking fluid, or discharge
- A sore on a nipple that doesn’t get better
- Breast pain. You may also need a screening mammogram if you have breasts that are dense, lumpy, or very large. This is because your provider may not be able to do a full physical breast exam. You may also need a routine mammogram if you are at high risk for breast cancer. Or if you have had breast cancer in the past. Your provider may have other reasons for recommending that you have a mammogram.
When to get a mammogram:
Different health experts have different recommendations for women who have no symptoms of breast cancer:
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years for women ages 50 to 74.
- The American Cancer Society recommends screening be an option for women who are at average risk, starting at age 40. Mammograms should be done every year for all women ages 45 to 54. Then you can switch to mammograms every 2 years. Or you have the choice to continue annual mammograms. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which screening guidelines are right for you.
If you are at higher risk for breast cancer, talk with your provider about:
- Starting screening mammograms earlier
- Having additional tests such as breast ultrasound or MRI
- Having mammograms more often
What are the risks of a mammogram?
A mammogram is done with X-rays, which use a small amount of radiation. Talk with your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used and any risks that apply to you. Consider writing down all X-rays you get. This includes past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be linked to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time. Tell your provider if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects. If you need to have a mammogram while you are pregnant, your provider will take special steps to keep radiation exposure to your baby as low as possible. Mammograms may be harder to interpret if you are younger than 30. This is because your breast tissue is denser than when you are older. You may feel some pain or discomfort during the mammogram because your breast is compressed against the X-ray plate. This pressure will not harm your breast. You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the test.
Some things may make your mammogram less accurate. They include:
- Powder, deodorant, creams, or lotions that you put on your underarms or on your breasts
- Breast implants. If you have breast implants, be sure to tell your mammography facility that you have them when you make your appointment. You will need an X-ray technologist who is trained in working with women with implants. This is important because breast implants can hide some breast tissue. This can make it hard for the radiologist to see breast cancer if it is there.
- Past breast surgery
- Hormonal breast changes.
How do I get ready for a mammogram?
- Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you. Ask him or her any questions you have. •You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully
and ask questions if anything is not clear.
- You can eat and drink as normal before the procedure. You will not need any medicine to help you relax or go to sleep.
- Tell your provider if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
- Tell your provider about all medicines you are taking. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal supplements.
- Tell your provider if you have breast implants or if you are breastfeeding.
- Wear clothing that you can easily remove.
- Ask if you need to bring past mammogram images with you. This is important if you have a mammogram done at a new facility. The radiologist will need to compare past images with the new ones.
- Do not use deodorant, perfume, powders, or ointment on your breasts or in the underarm area on the day of the mammogram. These things may make it harder to get a clear image of your breasts.
- If your breasts are painful, you may need to stop eating or drinking foods with caffeine for 5 to 7 days before your test.
- Breasts are often tender the week before and during your period. Try to schedule your mammogram for 1 to 2 weeks after your period starts.
- Follow any other instructions your provider gives you to get ready. What happens during a mammogram? You may have your mammogram done as an outpatient. Or it may be done as part of your stay in a hospital. The way the test is done may vary. It depends on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.
Generally, a mammogram follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that might get in the way of the test.
- You will be asked to remove clothing from your waist up. You will be given a gown to wear.
- The technologist will ask you if you have seen or felt any lumps or other changes in either breast. If so, the technologist will put a marker on that spot before the procedure.
- You will stand in front of a mammography machine. One breast will be put on the X-ray plate. The technologist may look at your breast or move your breast around to put it in the best place for the picture.
He or she may put a marker on any moles, scars, or other spots that might affect the breast image.
- The technologist will move a flat plastic plate down on top of your breast. This will squeeze or compress your breast gently against the X-ray plate. This pressure is needed to keep the radiation level as low as possible. It also helps take the best picture of your breast tissue. You may feel some pain or discomfort during this time.
- You will be asked to hold your breath while the image is taken.
- The technologist will step behind a protective window while the image is taken.
- The technologist will take 2 pictures of each breast at different angles. He or she will need to reposition your breast between pictures.
- After the X-rays have been taken, you will be asked to wait. The radiologist will look at the images. He or she will make sure they are clear and that no more pictures are needed. You may need to have more pictures taken if the radiologist has any questions about the first set of images. 10.The test takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The mammogram itself is not painful. But you may feel discomfort or pain when your breast is moved around and compressed. This is especially true if you have had a recent breast injury or surgery. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the test as soon as possible
What is a Computed Tomography?
Computed tomography (CT) is a test that combines X-rays and computer scans. The result is a detailed picture that can show problems with soft tissues, such as the lining of your sinuses, organs, such as your kidneys or lungs, blood vessels, and bones.
Be sure to tell the technologist if you:
- Have allergies or kidney problems
- Take diabetes medicine
- Are pregnant or think you may be
- Ate or drank anything before the test
Before your test:
- Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a reaction to contrast material (“X-ray dye”). If you have had a reaction, you may need to take medicine before your scan, so be sure to tell your provider ahead of time.
- Be sure to mention the medicines you take. Ask if it’s OK to take them before the test.
- Follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure. Your provider will give you instructions if required. You may be required to drink contrast by mouth before arriving for the study depending on the type of exam you are having. Your provider or the imaging site will provide this for you.
- The length of the procedure may vary, depending on your condition and your provider’s practices.
- Arrive on time to check in.
- When you arrive, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. Remove all metal near the part of your body that will be scanned, including jewelry, eyeglasses, and dentures. Women may need to remove any bra that has metal underwire.
During your test:
- You may be given contrast through an intravenous (IV) line or by mouth.
- You will lie on a table. The table slides into the CT scanner.
- The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds during your scan.
After your test:
- You can go back to your normal diet and activities right away. Any contrast will pass naturally through your body within a day.
- Before leaving, you may need to wait briefly while your images are being reviewed. Your healthcare provider will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.
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What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that lets your doctor see detailed pictures of the inside of your body. MRI combines the use of strong magnets and radio waves to form an MRI image.
How do I get ready for an MRI?
- Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before the test.
- Ask your provider if you should stop taking any medicine before the test.
- Follow your normal daily routine unless your provider tells you otherwise.
- You’ll be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, hearing aids, credit cards, pens, pocket knives, eyeglasses, and other metal objects.
- You may be asked to remove your makeup. Makeup may contain some metal.
- Most MRI tests take 30 to 60 minutes. Depending on the type of MRI you are having, the test may take longer. Give yourself extra time to check in.
What happens during an MRI?
- You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- You may be given earplugs to wear if you need them.
- You may be injected with a special dye (contrast) that improves the MRI image.
- You’ll lie down on a platform that slides into the magnet.
Tell your healthcare provider and the technologist if you:
- Have ever had an imaging test such as MRI or CT with contrast dye
- Are allergic to contrast dye, iodine, shellfish, or any medicines
- Have a serious health problem. This includes diabetes or kidney disease, or a liver transplant.
- Are pregnant or may be pregnant, or are breastfeeding
- Have any implanted device or metal clips or pins in your body.
What happens after an MRI?
You can get back to normal activities right away. If you were given contrast, it will pass naturally through your body within a day. You may be told to drink more water or other fluids during this time.
• Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.
What is a nuclear medicine scan?
Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer to diagnose disease and other abnormalities within the body. Depending on the type of nuclear medicine scan you are undergoing, the radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed by mouth, or inhaled as a gas and eventually collects in the area of your body being scanned, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera and/or probe. These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts.
Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in minimal radiation exposure. Thus, the radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits. Nuclear medicine has been used for more than five decades, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure. Allergic reactions to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare. Women should always inform their physician or radiology technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding their baby.
What should I expect BEFORE my nuclear medicine scan?
You will receive specific instructions based on the type of scan you are undergoing. In general, the following guidelines apply to all scans.
- Medications: You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking as well as vitamins and herbal supplements and if you have any allergies. Also inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions. Upon checking in, you will be asked to provide a list of medications you are currently taking and also a list of known allergies.
- Food and drink: Most nuclear medicine procedures do not require patients to fast, however there are some that do. Specific instructions will be provided upon scheduling of these procedures.
- When to arrive: Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time.
- What to wear: You will wear your own clothing during the scan, therefore please wear something without metal clasps or zippers, as they will interfere with the study. Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the scan as well.
What will I experience DURING my Nuclear Medicine scan?
Scanning: You will be positioned on an examination table. If necessary, a technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm. Depending on the type of nuclear medicine scan you are undergoing, the dose of radiotracer is then injected intravenously, swallowed by mouth or inhaled as a gas. It can take several seconds to several days for the radiotracer to travel through your body and accumulate in the organ or area being studied. As a result, imaging may be done immediately, a few hours later, or even several days after you have received the radioactive material. When it is time for the imaging to begin, the gamma camera will take a series of images. The camera may rotate around you or it may stay in one position and you will be asked to change positions in between images. While the camera is taking pictures, you will need to remain still for brief periods of time. It is important that you remain still while the images are being recorded. Though nuclear imaging itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still or to stay in one particular position during imaging. If a probe is used, this small hand-held device will be passed over the area of the body being studied to measure levels of radioactivity. Other nuclear medicine tests measure radioactivity levels in blood, urine or breath.
Length of scan:
The length of time for nuclear medicine procedures varies greatly, depending on the type of scan. Actual scanning time for nuclear imaging scans can take from 20 minutes to several hours and may be conducted over several days. You will be given specific information depending on the type of study you are having.
What should I expect AFTER my Nuclear Medicine scan?
Instructions: When the scan is completed, you may be asked to wait until the technologist checks the images in case additional images are needed. If you had an IV line inserted for the procedure, it will be removed. Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. In many cases, the radioactivity will dissipate over the first 24 hours following the test and pass out of your body through your urine or stool. You may be instructed to take special precautions after urinating, to flush the toilet twice and to wash your hands thoroughly. You should also drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material out of your body. Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your nuclear medicine scan.
All Nuclear Medicine scans are read by a Mass General radiologist specialty trained in nuclear medicine imaging and dedicated to the specific area of interest for your study. Rapid results are essential not only for your peace-of-mind, but also for your physician to begin planning your treatment immediately, if necessary. After the scan has been read the results are sent to your physician, who will discuss them with you.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body. It’s also known as sonography. The technology is similar to that used by sonar and radar, which help the military detect planes and ships. An ultrasound allows your doctor to see problems with organs, vessels, and tissues without needing to make an incision. Unlike other imaging techniques, ultrasound uses no radiation. For this reason, it’s the preferred method for viewing a developing fetus during pregnancy.
How to prepare for an ultrasound:
The steps you will take to prepare for an ultrasound will depend on the area or organ that is being examined. Your doctor may tell you to fast for eight to 12 hours before your ultrasound, especially if your abdomen is being examined. Undigested food can block the sound waves, making it difficult for the technician to get a clear picture. For an examination of the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, or spleen, you may be told to eat a fat-free meal the evening before your test and then to fast until the procedure. However, you can continue to drink water and take any medications as instructed. For other examinations, you may be asked to drink a lot of water and to hold your urine so that your bladder is full and better visualized. Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or herbal supplements that you take before the exam. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and ask any questions you may have before the procedure. An ultrasound carries minimal risks. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, ultrasounds use no radiation. For this reason, they are the preferred method for examining a developing fetus during pregnancy.
How an ultrasound is performed:
Before the exam, you will change into a hospital gown. You will most likely be lying down on a table with a section of your body exposed for the test. An ultrasound technician, called a sonographer, will apply a special lubricating jelly to your skin. This prevents friction so they can rub the ultrasound transducer on your skin. The transducer has a similar appearance to a microphone. The jelly also helps transmit the sound waves. The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves through your body. The waves echo as they hit a dense object, such as an organ or bone. Those echoes are then reflected back into a computer. The sound waves are at too high of a pitch for the human ear to hear. They form a picture that can be interpreted by the doctor. Depending on the area being examined, you may need to change positions so the technician can have better access. After the procedure, the gel will be cleaned off of your skin. The whole procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes, depending on the area being examined. You will be free to go about your normal activities after the procedure has finished.
After an ultrasound:
Following the exam, your doctor will review the images and check for any abnormalities. They will call you to discuss the findings, or to schedule a follow-up appointment. Should anything abnormal turn up on the ultrasound, you may need to undergo other diagnostic techniques, such as a CT scan, MRI, or a biopsy sample of tissue depending on the area examined. If your doctor is able to make a diagnosis of your condition based on your ultrasound, they may begin your treatment immediately.
What is an X-Ray?
An X-ray uses a small amount of radiation to create images of your bones and internal organs. X-rays are most often used to detect bone or joint problems, or to check the heart and lungs (chest X-ray).
Tell the technologist if you:
- Are or may be pregnant
- Have had an X-ray of this part of your body before
- Have metal in the part of your body being imaged
Here is what to expect before the test:
- You may be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, or garments with metal closures from the part of your body being imaged. These items can block part of the image.
- You may be asked to put on a gown.
- You may be asked about your overall health or any medicines you take.
Here is what to expect during the test:
- You will be asked to lie on a table, sit, or stand.
- A lead apron may be draped over part of your body to shield it from the X-rays.
- With an X-ray of your chest or belly, you will have to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.
- Each exam usually needs at least 2 X-rays. You will need to move your body before each new X-ray.
Here is what to expect after the test:
Your healthcare provider will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.