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Other Radiology Services & Radiological Procedures

Other Radiology Services

Emory Decatur Hospital offers a wide variety of radiology services. They consist of:

Angioplasty and vascular stenting are two endovascular procedures offered by Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital. Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels. A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that expands inside an artery. A stent is often placed after angioplasty. It helps prevent the artery from closing up again. A drug-eluting stent has medicine in it that helps prevent closing of the artery.

Arteries can become narrowed or blocked by deposits called plaque. Plaque is made up of fat and cholesterol that builds up on the inside of the artery walls. This condition is called atherosclerosis.

Angioplasty may be used to treat blockage of one or more arteries. For most people, angioplasty greatly improves blood flow through the arteries. Angioplasty does not cure the cause of the blockage in your arteries.

Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital are premiere providers of CT scan in Atlanta. This test also is known as a CAT scan, computed axial tomography scan or a computed tomography scan. A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body.

A CT scan procedure involves the use of X-ray and a computer to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. The equipment has a camera that takes pictures of your body during the CT scan to capture images from various angles. These images are joined together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied and have greater detail than the images provided through a regular X-rays.

A CT scan has greater clarity than conventional X-ray. Bone, soft tissue, internal organs, and blood vessels are some of the area’s that can be studied using this test. A CT scan procedure rapidly creates detailed pictures of the body, including the brain, chest, spine and abdomen. A CT scan test may be used to:

  • Guide a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy
  • Identify masses and tumors, including cancer
  • Study blood vessels

A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your CT scan images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your CT scan procedure at Emory Decatur Hospital. Your physician will share the results with you.

Read more about a CT scan here.

Preparing for Your CT Scan Procedure

A CT scan is essentially painless. Be sure to tell you doctors if you have any of the following conditions because they may increase your chances of having a reaction to the contrast or the CT scan.

  • Any recent illness
  • A history of heart or lung disease
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Sickle Cell
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease

You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. Depending on your test, you may be asked to lie on your back, side or stomach. The scanner itself is donut-shaped and will rotate around your body while it takes the images. You will be asked to lie very still and may be asked to hold your breath for different lengths of time while the images are being taken.

The entire CT scan procedure will last approximately 10 to 15 minutes. You may return to your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed.

Some CT scans require the use of a special dye or contrast material. There are two different types: oral and intravenous contrast. Some exams require both, while others only require one. The contrast material is used to highlight certain areas of the body and create a clearer image. The contrast also helps give the radiologist additional information when he or she is reading your exam.

Oral Contrast

If you are having an abdominal or pelvic CT scan, you may be given a special liquid to drink before your procedure. This liquid helps to coat the stomach, small bowel and colon. Make sure to ask your doctor about this before you go in for your test because the test cannot be performed unless this step has been taken and it can cause your appointment to last much longer.

Do not eat or drink anything for two hours prior to drinking the liquid. You should drink it two hours before your appointment. There are few, if any, side effects to the oral contrast although you may notice white stools for a couple of days following your scan. If you have allergies to barium products and/or have difficulty swallowing, talk with your physician before your CT scan.

Intravenous Contrast

Depending on the area of your body that is being scanned or the symptoms you are experiencing, some of your organs or blood vessels may need to be better viewed. If this is the case, an IV needle will be inserted into your arm or hand, and used to give you the contrast material. This is similar to what you may feel when getting your blood drawn. Images are sometimes taken both before and after you are given the contrast material.

The contrast can cause some patients to become nauseous. If you know you are having an intravenous contrast, you should not eat for four hours prior to your CT scan. Unless otherwise instructed, drink plenty of fluids following your exam to allow the contrast to pass out of your body through your kidneys.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician may contact Emory Decatur Hospital to schedule your CT scan for you or you may be asked to schedule your own procedure. If you need to schedule your CT scan, call 404.501.2660.

If your CT scan will be performed at the Diagnostic Imaging Center at Emory Decatur Hospital,

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
  • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

If your CT scan is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
  • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
  • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your CT scan.

Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital offer diagnostic X-rays in Atlanta using special machines and film to view certain organs and tissues. Diagnostic X-rays are a form of high-energy radiation which tissues of the body can absorb to varying degrees. For example, dense structures such as bones absorb less X-rays than soft tissue. After passing through the body, the X-rays are directed onto a special film where the dense tissue such as bone appears as a white shadow in contrast with the soft tissue which produces a darker image on the film. Diagnostic X-rays produce a single image.

Fluoroscopy is one of the oldest areas of diagnostic radiology. It is similar to diagnostic X-rays because a small dose of radiation is directed through a body part but the image obtained is displayed on a monitor rather than on a digital image. The fluoroscope provides images of internal body parts as they move, similar to a movie. A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined and transmitted to an image-intensifying tube, a TV-like monitor that allows the body part and its motion to be seen in detail.

During fluoroscopy, the patient is placed between the X-ray source and the monitor. The live images generated by the X-ray source strike the image-intensifying tube and allow doctors to see the size, shape and structure of a patient's internal structures. Most fluoroscopy devices include television or video cameras attached to the image-intensifier tube. The camera output can be digitized and sent through a computer for image enhancement.

In fluoroscopic studies, the radiologist can use a contrast agent to visualize the organ or area of interest. The contrast agent allows the image to be viewed more clearly. Contrast agents may be introduced into the patient's body by injection, swallowing or an enema.

A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your diagnostic X-ray in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital. Your physician will share the results with you.

Preparing for Your Diagnostic X-ray

Traditional diagnostic X-rays require little, if any, preparation. Let your physician know of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications such as Pepto Bismol and if you have had any other radiology exams recently.

Because some clothing and metal objects in clothing can show up and block a portion of your X-ray, you will be asked to wear a hospital gown, depending on the part of your body to be X-rayed.

You will be asked to hold your breath and be very still while the image is being taken, and you may be asked to stay still in an awkward position for a few minutes.

You should tell your physician and the technologist if you think you may be pregnant.

Some diagnostic X-rays require an injection of contrast material or a special dye. The amount of time your procedure will take depends upon the type of procedure. Times will vary according to the type of procedure you are having. For example, most diagnostic X-rays last 5 to 15 minutes while a small bowel procedure can last several hours.

After Your Diagnostic X-ray

When your procedure is complete, you may be asked to wait while the technologist checks the images to be sure they are accurate. You may resume your normal daily activities immediately following your diagnostic X-rays at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital.

A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your diagnostic X-rays. Your physician referring or ordering will share the results with you.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician may contact Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital to schedule your diagnostic X-ray or fluoroscopy test for you or you may be asked to schedule your own procedure. If you need to schedule your own procedure, call 404.501.SCHD. For some X-rays, you may walk into the facility with your physician’s orders for the test without an appointment.

If your X-ray will be performed at the Diagnostic Imaging Center at Emory Decatur Hospital,

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
  • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

If your X-ray is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
  • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
  • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your X-ray.

Interventional Radiology in Georgia is available at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital where these IR procedures are provided by our team of experts.

  • Endovascular – Two minimally invasive procedures used to improve blood flow in the body’s arteries.
  • Angioplasty of vessels – An interventional radiology procedure in which a very small balloon is used to open a blocked blood vessel.
  • Central venous access – External access for long-term intravenous (IV) therapy that involves placement of a catheter in the vein.
  • Chemoembolization – Delivery of cancer-fighting agents directly to the site of a cancer tumor.
  • Embolization – Delivery of a clotting agent directly to an area that is bleeding, such as a traumatized vessel.
  • Fallopian tube recanalization – Opening of blocked fallopian tubes to help with infertility.
  • Fistulagram– A procedure that evaluates why a fistula or graft (synthetic connection of an artery and a vein for hemodialysis to treats kidney failure) is not functioning properly and uses angioplasty/stent placement or thrombolysis to treat blockages.
  • Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty – Procedures to restore bone placement and reduce pain from compression bone fractures from trauma, cancer or osteoporosis.
  • Needle biopsy – A procedure in which a needle is used to obtain a sample of cells for testing, used with CT-guided biopsies and ultrasound-guided biopsies
  • Nephrostomy tube –The placement of a catheter into the kidney for treatment of obstruction and access for kidney stones.
  • Radiofrequency (RF) ablation – Use of radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy cancerous tumors.
  • Thrombolysis – Use of thrombolytic drugs (drugs that dissolve clots) to eliminate the blockage in a peripheral artery caused by a blood clot.
  • TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) – A lifesaving procedure that improves blood flow and prevents hemorrhage in patients with severe liver dysfunction.
  • Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) – A treatment for uterine fibroids, non-cancerous tumors that grow within the uterine muscle.
  • Vascular access procedures – A procedure that involves the insertion of a flexible thin plastic tube or catheter into a blood vessel to provide a painless way of drawing blood or delivering drugs and nutrients into a patient's bloodstream over a period of weeks, months or even years.
  • Endovascular – A small metal tube inserted into the blood vessel to hold it open; often inserted after angioplasty.

Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital perform the lumbar puncture procedure to draw fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. A lumbar puncture procedure is used to determine if an infection is present, to detect neurological disorders or to diagnose spinal damage. A lumbar puncture procedure also is referred to as a spinal tap.

A lumbar puncture procedure may be done to measure pressures within the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and/or to collect a sample of the fluid for further testing. CSF acts as a cushion, protecting the brain and spine from injury. The fluid normally is clear.

Fluoroscopy is used to help guide the needle that draws the fluid sample into the proper position using the lumbar puncture technique.

The laboratory will send the results from your lumbar puncture to your physician who will share the results with you.

Read more about lumbar puncture.

Preparing for Your Lumbar Puncture

When having a lumbar puncture at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital, you should increase your fluid intake the day prior to your exam. Then after midnight you should not have anything to eat or drink. Continue to fast until your lumbar puncture procedure is complete. Ask your physician about any medications you are taking. If you are a diabetic, ask your physician for special instructions.

You will need to have someone drive you home after your procedure. Most lumbar puncture procedures last about one hour, although you need to arrive two hours before your test to register, obtain lab work and complete your medical history. After your procedure is complete you will stay an additional three to four hours for observation.

During Your Lumbar Puncture

You will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area where a needle will be inserted into the spinal canal. You may feel pressure or a brief tingling sensation during insertion of the needle. Fluoroscopy is used to guide the needle into place.

When the needle is in place, the X-ray table may be tilted or you may be asked to move in different positions to allow the best collection of the spinal fluid. When enough fluid has been obtained for testing, the needle is removed and a bandage is placed over the needle site.

After Your Lumbar Puncture

You will be transferred to a bed to lie flat and be observed and monitored by a nurse for the next three to four hours.

Occasionally you may get a headache after having a lumbar puncture. These tips may help reduce the chances of a headache:

  • Once home, you may lie down with your head flat for 12 hours after the exam.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before and after your exam, unless restricted by your physician.
  • Limit walking to only when necessary.
  • Make arrangements for someone to stay with you overnight.
  • The laboratory will send the results from your lumbar puncture to your physician who will share the results with you.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital to schedule your lumbar puncture procedure for you.

If your lumbar puncture will be performed at Emory Decatur Hospital, you will go to the hospital’s central registration area.

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
  • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
  • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
  • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
  • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
  • Take escalators down one level.
  • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
  • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
  • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
  • At the end of hallway, turn left.
  • Central Registration is on the right.

If your lumbar puncture is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
  • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
  • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department.
  • Having a magnetic resonance imaging scan, or MRI scan, in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital is an effective way for your doctor to get information that helps him or her make a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. Unlike X-rays and computed tomographic or CT scans, which use radiation, an MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves. IV sedation is available for claustrophobic patients if ordered by referring physicians.

    Because a very strong magnet is used in an MRI scan, if you have a pacemaker and other implanted device you may not be able to have this particular exam.

    An MRI scan produces dozens and sometimes hundreds of images that can be viewed from many different angles. Single MRI images are called slices. They can be stored on a computer or printed out using film. A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly provide a report your physician about the findings of your MRI scan in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital. Your physician will share the results with you.

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Georgia

    Emory Decatur Hospital is among those hospitals that offer both traditional and open magnetic resonance imaging in Georgia. The open MRI scan in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital often is better for those people who are claustrophobic or have a fear of being closed in because the machine is not as close to your body as it is in a traditional MRI. Some patients benefit from taking a mild sedative prior to their MRI scan to help them relax for the test. Talk with your physician if you have any anxiety about your MRI scan in Atlanta.

    Preparing for Your MRI Scan

    An MRI scan is a painless procedure that requires little or no preparation. You can follow your normal daily diet and routine before having your test. Depending on the area being scanned, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 to 6 hours before the scan.

    Wear your normal clothes. You will be given a hospital gown to change into for your scan, and you will need to remove any jewelry or other accessories such as hair pins or clips. Metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room because they interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI equipment.

    If you have a fear confined spaces (claustrophobia) or have difficulty lying still, tell your doctor before the scan. He may be able to prescribe a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure. Remember, if you do have a sedative you will need someone to drive you home after your MRI scan. You also may be able to request an MRI scan using the open scanner in which the machine is not as close to your body.

    Our Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital’s team is very experienced in recognizing and responding to signs of anxiety and claustrophobia related to having an MRI scan. Special accommodations to support patients include education, a walk-through prior to your appointment, headphones for music and in some cases allowing a family member to accompany you during the scan.

    Your MRI Scan

    The radiological technologist will help you get onto the MRI scanning table and get as comfortable as possible while remaining still during the scan. The table slides into the MRI machine during the scan.

    The machine makes various loud whirling, thumping and bumping noises. These are quite normal. You will be given earplugs to use during your breast MRI to help cut down on the noise. The person conducting the exam is in another room but he or she can communicate with you using an intercom system

    Some MRI scans require the use of a contrast material or special dye to help the radiologist see certain parts of the area being scanned more clearly. When this is necessary, the technician will place an IV needle in your hand or arm and give you the contrast material using the IV. This is similar to what you may feel when getting your blood drawn. Additional series of images will be taken following the injection.

    An MRI scan usually lasts about 45 minutes.

    After Your MRI

    When your procedure is complete, you may be asked to wait while the technologist checks the images to be sure they are accurate. You may resume your normal daily activities when your test is completed.

    A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your MRI scan. Your physician will share the results with you.

    Scheduling and Directions

    Your physician may contact Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital to schedule your MRI scan for you or you may be asked to schedule your own procedure. If you need to schedule your MRI scan, call 404.501.2660.

    If your MRI scan will be performed at the Imaging Center at Emory Decatur Hospital,

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
    • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

    If your MRI scan is at Emory Decatur Hospital, go to the hospital’s central registration area.

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
    • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
    • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
    • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
    • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
    • Take escalators down one level.
    • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
    • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
    • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
    • At the end of hallway, turn left.
    • Central Registration is on the right.

    If your MRI scan is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

    • Park in the hospital parking lot.
    • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.

    Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital offer myelogram, a special test most commonly used to detect abnormalities of the spinal cord and canal such as herniations, spinal stenosis, tumors, infection, inflammation and spinal lesions.

    A myelogram is a procedure that uses a special dye and X-rays to make pictures of the bones and the fluid-filled space between the bones in your spine. The dye helps produce clearer images of the nerve roots and spinal cord.

    A myelogram may be used to find a tumor, an infection, problems with the spine such as a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal caused by arthritis. It also is used to check for the cause of arm or leg numbness or pain and problems with blood vessels to the spine. A myelogram procedure may help find the cause of pain that cannot be detected with other tests such as an MRI. The myelogram procedure will be done in combination with a CT scan.

    A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your myelogram procedure. Your physician will share the results of your myelogram with you.

    Read more about a myelogram.

    Preparing for Your Myelogram Procedure

    When having a myelogram at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital, you should increase your fluid intake the day prior to your exam. Then after midnight you should not have anything to eat or drink. Continue to fast until your myelogram procedure is complete. If you are a diabetic, ask your physician for special instructions.

    It is very important to ask your physician about any medications you are taking because some medicines can interfere with your myelogram.

    You will need to have someone drive you home after your procedure. Most myelogram procedures last about one hour, although you need to arrive two hours before your test to register, obtain lab work and complete your medical history. After your procedure is complete you will stay an additional three to four hours for observation.

    During Your Myelogram

    You will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area where a needle will be inserted into the spinal canal. You may feel pressure or a brief tingling sensation during insertion of the needle.

    When the needle is in place, you will be given an injection of contrast material to help the area show up better in the X-rays. Multiple X-rays will be taken, and the X-ray table may be tilted or you may be asked to move in different positions to distribute the contrast material throughout the spinal canal. After your myelogram is complete, a CT scan will be done to get more detailed images of the area.

    After Your Myelogram

    Occasionally you may get a headache after having a myelogram. These tips may help reduce the chances of a headache

    • Once home, you may lie down with your head elevated 30 to 45 degrees for 12 hours after the exam.
    • Drink plenty of fluids before and after your exam, unless restricted by your physician.
    • Limit walking to only when necessary.
    • Make arrangements for someone to stay with you overnight.

    A radiologist who is specially trained in reviewing your images will promptly analyze your images and provide a report to your physician about the findings of your myelogram at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital. Your physician will share the results with you.

    Scheduling and Directions

    Your physician will contact Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital to schedule your myelogram procedure for you.

    If your myelogram will be performed at Emory Decatur Hospital, you will go to the hospital’s central registration area.

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
    • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
    • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
    • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
    • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
    • Take escalators down one level.
    • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
    • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
    • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
    • At the end of hallway, turn left.
    • Central Registration is on the right.

    If your myelogram is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

    • Park in the hospital parking lot.
    • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
    • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
    When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department.

    A needle biopsy is a diagnostic procedure sometimes used to evaluate lumps or masses just under the skin. This is a safe, minor surgical procedure which is usually done on an outpatient basis. A specially trained interventional radiologist will perform your biopsy with guidance from an ultrasound machine or CT scanner. Read more to learn about needle biopsies.

    Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital perform a variety of inpatient and outpatient diagnostic procedures using nuclear medicine in Atlanta. Nuclear medicine procedures use very small amounts of radioactive materials and a special imaging machine to create and display a picture showing the condition of bone or other body organs. The nuclear medicine procedure is safe and painless. The radioactive material is introduced into your body orally or through an injection, and disappears from your system in one to two days. The nuclear medicine exams are useful in viewing the function of the bone, gallbladder, heart, liver or thyroid.

    The most common exams that are performed in nuclear medicine in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital are:

    Biliary Studies — to assess the function of the gallbladder.

    Bone Scans — used to detect bone growth, fractures, tumors, infection of the bone and its blood supply.

    Renal Studies — used to assess the anatomy, function and blood supply to the kidney.

    Thyroid Studies — to examine the function of the thyroid gland which may be over or under active or enlarged.

    Cardiac Studies — used to assess the blood flow to the heart and check for coronary artery disease.

    Another type of nuclear medicine in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital involves a nuclear stress test, which may be performed to measure blood flow to your heart muscle at rest and during stress. This nuclear medicine test is performed similar to a routine exercise stress test but provides images in addition to electrocardiograms. This nuclear medicine test usually includes a heart scan, injection of the radioactive material while you are exercising and another scan one to two hours after exercise.

    A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images from your nuclear medicine test and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician. Your primary care or referring physician will share the results of your nuclear medicine test with you.

    Read More to learn about nuclear medicine.

    Preparing for Your Nuclear Medicine Procedure

    You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your nuclear medicine procedure. There are different preparation instructions depending on the type of scan you are having. You will be given specific instructions on what to do to prepare for your scan when your procedure is scheduled. The following general information will help you understand what to expect during your nuclear medicine procedure.

    The first step in having a nuclear medicine procedure is for a radioactive isotope to be introduced into your body. This may be done in several ways:

    • Through an IV needle into a vein, usually in the hand or inside of the elbow.
    • Ingestion by swallowing a radioactive capsule or pill.
    • Subcutaneous which is just under the skin

    Based on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are having, a certain period of time must pass after the isotope has gotten into your body. This is usually a few hours, although it can be one day for some exams. There are no side effects from the radioactive material that is in your body, and it is safe to be around other people.

    You then will be taken into the exam room and asked to lie on a padded table that is guided under the camera. The technologist will position you to obtain a series of images. It is very important that you are completely still so the camera can obtain quality images for interpretation.

    The average imaging time is usually less than one hour, although some nuclear medicine tests require more than an hour and, in some cases, more than one visit.

    After Your Nuclear Medicine Procedure

    As soon as the images have been reviewed by the technologist for quality you can leave and resume your normal activities and diet as directed by your physician.

    The radiologist who performed your nuclear medicine procedure will advise your physician as to the finding of the test. Your physician will follow up with you about the results of your nuclear medicine procedure.

    Scheduling and Directions

    Your physician will contact Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital to schedule your nuclear medicine procedure for you. If your physician has placed the medical orders for your specific procedure, you can call 404.501.2660 to schedule your procedure at your convenience.

    If your procedure is at Emory Decatur Hospital, go to the hospital’s central registration area.

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
    • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
    • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
    • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
    • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
    • Take escalators down one level.
    • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
    • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
    • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
    • At the end of hallway, turn left.
    • Central Registration is on the right.

    If your nuclear medicine procedure will be performed at the Imaging Center at Emory Decatur Hospital,

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
    • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

    If your procedure is being performed at Emory Hillandale Hospital, go to the hospital’s registration area.

    • Park in the hospital parking lot.
    • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
    • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
    • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your nuclear medicine procedure.

    Emory Decatur Hospital offers PET/CT scan in Atlanta, a technology that combines PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computer Tomography) scanning capabilities to further improve the information gained from the positron emission topography test. This combined positron emission topography test allows the radiologist to determine not only what cancer is present, but also the exact location of the cancer.

    A PET/CT scan often can detect cancer that other imaging tests are unable to detect by showing both the chemical function and structure of an organ or tissue. It uses a small of radioactive material to reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. It is extremely sensitive for detecting early stages of diseases such as cancer because small amounts of tumor may be found, even when they can’t be detected by other imaging procedures.

    A PET/CT scan in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital also can help monitor the effectiveness of treatment for your particular diagnosis or disease. In addition to cancer, a PET/CT scan also is useful in detecting neurological programs and heart disease, among other conditions.

    The procedure begins with an injection of a very small amount of radioactive-labeled glucose. The amount of radiation received is no more than with a nuclear medicine procedure. There are no known side effects caused by the material. It takes approximately one hour for the injected material to circulate throughout the body. The scan lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves lying on a table which passes through the scanner.

    When you have a PET/CT scan in Atlanta at Emory Decatur Hospital, a radiologist with special training in nuclear medicine will interpret the images from your PET/CT scan. The results of the PET/CT scan then are sent to your referring physician, who will discuss the results with you.

    Read more to learn about a PET scan.

    Preparing for Your PET/CT Procedure

    You should not eat or drink anything other than water for six to eight hours before your PET/CT scan. Do not take any prescribed medications unless your physician instructs you otherwise. If you are diabetic, you will receive special instructions on how to prepare for your PET/CT scan.

    You should not exercise for 24 hours before your scan. You will be given barium sulfate to drink two hours before your scan time. Dress comfortably because you will be asked to lie down on the imaging table for pictures. Also, remove your jewelry, dentures and any other objects that might include metal. The Emory Decatur Hospital scheduling office will contact you with more detailed instructions about your scan.

    Before you have your PET/CT scan, you will receive an injection of a very small amount of radioactive chemical, which is absorbed in most cancerous cells and has no known side effects. It takes about one hour for the material to circulate through your body.

    Your PET/CT scan will begin with an injection of a very small amount of radioactive-labeled glucose. The amount of radiation received is no more than with a nuclear medicine procedure. There are no known side effects caused by the material. It takes approximately 90 minutes for the injected material to circulate throughout the body. The PET/CT scan lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and involves lying on a table which passes through the scanner.

    After Your PET/CT Scan

    You can resume your normal diet and daily activities after your PET/CT scan. Drink plenty of fluids to help remove the radioactive substance from your body.

    The radiologist who performed your procedure will advise your physician as to the findings of the test. Your physician will follow up with you about the results of your PET/CT scan.

    Scheduling and Directions

    Your physician will contact Emory Decatur Hospital to schedule your PET/CT scan for you.

    Your PET/CT scan will be performed at the Imaging Center at Emory Decatur Hospital,

    • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
    • The Diagnostic Imaging Center is on the left.
    • Parking is on the left in front of the center and is free for all Imaging Center patients.

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