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From a family practitioner to the most sophisticated neurologists, JFK Medical Center's staff includes some of the most highly respected physicians in the northeast. For a referral to a JFK physician, click here.

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CT

The Computer Tomography otherwise knows as a CT, has revolutionized medicine as it allows physicians today detect diseases that, in the past, could often only be found during surgery or an autopsy. A noninvasive, safe, and well-tolerated procedure. It provides a highly-detailed look at many different parts of the body for the effective diagnosis and treatment of disease and medical conditions.

At JFK Medical Center, we are equipped with the 64 slice CT scanner, which performs the same task of a standard CT in just a few seconds, producing a higher-resolution image of the heart, brain or lungs. Most commonly used to detect and evaluate heart conditions, the speed of the 64 slice CT serves as an alternative to conventional angiography or cardiac catheterization.

What is a CT Scan?

A sophisticated diagnostic device, the CT uses a rotating x-ray device to create detailed, cross-sectional images of internal anatomy from different angles. A computer reconstructs these "slices" to produce three dimensional images called tomograms. A non-invasive procedure, a CT scan obtains images of body parts that cannot be detected with the use of a traditional X-ray.

What Can I Expect During a CT Scan?

A CT scan is typically performed in an outpatient setting. The imaging machine resembles a large, square doughnut whereby the patient lies on a table, which slides into the circular opening and moves forward and backward to accurately position the patient for imaging. The CT scanner is a circular, rotating frame with an x-ray tube mounted on one side and a detector mounted on the other. With each complete rotation of the scanner, a cross-section of the body part in question is acquired. The procedure is performed by a certified radiology technician who will ask the patient to hold his/her breath for a few seconds at a time so that the scanner can collect the targeted data set. A complete scan typically takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. During the process, the patient will be able to communicate with the technician via an intercom system.

When is it Most Appropriate to Use a CT Scan for Diagnosis?

A superior diagnostic tool for the brain, chest, abdomen, pelvis, spine, sinus and vascular imaging, CT scans are frequently used to detect and evaluate diverse abnormalities of the body, including the brain, neck, spine, chest abdomen, pelvis, and sinuses. A CT has the ability to image a combination of soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels, making it possible to detect diseases earlier than with a regular x-ray. As such, it can obtain an accurate and earlier diagnosis, resulting in greater success of treatment of many diseases.

What Should I Do to Prepare for the Procedure?

On the day of your procedure, the patient must refrain from eating solid food for four hours prior to the appointment, if needed. However, a moderate amount of clear liquids is acceptable. There is generally no other special preparation required. A patient should where comfortable, loose clothing and such things as earrings, glasses, dentures, and belts should be removed so not to compromise the image. In some cases, a patient may be asked to where a hospital gown. In some cases, the CT procedure may require that the patient take orally or via injection a contrast agent to enhance the images of the organs and/or blood vessels being studied. As the contrast agent contains iodine, it is important for the patient to notify the nurse or technician if he/she is allergic to iodine.

How Safe is a CT?

A patient will be exposed to radiation when undergoing a CT. However, it is a safe level. Equally, the contrast agents are considered safe and side effects are uncommon. A CT scan is not done during a pregnancy. If you are pregnant, speak with your doctor regarding alternative options for diagnosis.

For additional information, please call (732) 321-7000 ext. 67454.
For on-line scheduling of an X-ray, please (888) 535-6762.

PET/CT

A PET scan uses radiation, or nuclear medicine imaging, to produce three-dimensional, color images of the functional processes within the human body. PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. The machine detects pairs of gamma rays which are emitted indirectly by a tracer (positron-emitting radionuclide) which is placed in the body on a biologically active molecule. The images are reconstructed by computer analysis. Modern machines often use a CT X-ray scan which is performed on the patient at the same time in the same machine.

PET scans can be used to diagnose a health condition, as well as for finding out how an existing condition is developing. PET scans are often used to see how effective an ongoing treatment is.

How a PET Scan Works

Radiotracer - Before carrying out a PET scan, a radioactive medicine is produced in a cyclotron (a type of machine). The radioactive medicine is then tagged to a natural chemical. This natural chemical could be glucose, water, or ammonia. The tagged natural chemical is known as a radiotracer. The radiotracer is then inserted into the human body. When it is inside, the radiotracer will go to areas inside the body that use the natural chemical. For example, FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose - a radioactive drug) is tagged to glucose to make a radiotracer. The glucose goes into those parts of the body that use glucose for energy. Cancers, for example, use glucose differently from normal tissue, so FDG can show cancers.

Detecting Positrons - A PET scan detects the energy emitted by positively-charge particles (positrons). As the radiotracer is broken down inside the patient's body, positrons are made. This energy appears as a three-dimensional image on a computer monitor.

The Image - The image reveals how parts of the patients body function by the way they break down the radiotracer. A PET image will display different levels of positrons according to brightness and color.

When the image is complete, it will be examined by a radiologist who reports his/her findings to a doctor. A radiologist is a doctor who specializes in interpreting these types of images, as well as MRI scan, CT scan, Ultrasound and X-ray images.

Why PET Scans Are Required

PET scans are generally used alongside X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. Doctors use PET scans as a complementary test to these main ones. They are used to make a diagnosis or to get more data about a health condition. As mentioned above, they are also useful in finding out how effective current treatment is. One study revealed that the use of combined imaging technologies may hold the key to stopping -- and even preventing -- heart attacks.

PET scans are commonly used to investigate the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

What Happens During a PET Scan

In most cases, the patient does not have to spend the night in the hospital when he/she comes in for a PET scan.

The majority of patients will be told not to consume any food for at least four to six hours before the scan, but to drink plenty of water. Some will be asked to refrain from consuming caffeine for at least 24 hours prior to the PET scan.

A small quantity of radiotracer will either be injected into the patient's arm or breathed in as a gas. The radiotracer may take 30 to 90 minutes to reach the targeted part of the body. While waiting for the radiotracer to reach its destination, the patient will normally be asked to stay still and not talk. Some patients may be given some medication, such as diazepam, to relax.

When the patient is ready, he/she will be taken to the room where the PET scan is and will lie down on a cushioned examination table. The machine has a large hole that the table slides into. Then images of the body are taken.

In many centers the patient will be able to listen to music during the scan.

While the scan is in process it is vital that the patient keep as still as possible. Depending on which part of the body is being scanned, the whole process takes from about 30 to 60 minutes.

If the patient feels unwell he/she can press a buzzer which alerts the staff. During the whole process the patient is being watched by staff.

The process is not painful.

Most patients can go home as soon as the scan has been done. Doctors advise people to consume lots of liquids to flush the radioactive drugs out of their system more quickly. Experts say the radiotracers should have left the body completely within three to four hours after entering the body.

To schedule a PET/CT scan, please call (732) 744-5527.

Ultrasound

An Ultrasound Examination is an imaging method that uses high frequency sound waves to produce precise images of anatomical structures within your body. Ultrasound, also called Sonography, is valuable in diagnosing a variety of diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound exams are done using a sonar device outside your body, though some exams involve placing a device inside the body (invasive ultrasound). Ultrasound is a safe procedure. There are no direct risks from a diagnostic ultrasound exam.

Why It’s Done

Ultrasound may be used to:

  • Evaluate a fetus
  • Diagnose gallbladder disease
  • Evaluate flow in blood vessels
  • Guide a needle biopsy
  • Check your thyroid gland
  • Reveal and evaluate anatomical structures

How You Prepare

Some ultrasound examinations require no prep at all. Others require you forgo food and liquids while still others require you to drink liquids. When scheduling your ultrasound exam, ask your doctor for specific instructions for your particular exam.

What You Can Expect

During an ultrasound exam, you will be asked to lie on an examination table. A technician will apply a small amount of gel directly on your skin while using a hand held device called a transducer. The transducer is moved from one area to another collecting information. Despite its valuable uses, Ultrasound has limitations. Sound does not travel through air or bone; for these we use other imaging modalities. When your exam is complete, the sonographer or technician and a radiologist generally view the ultrasound images and send a report of the findings to your doctor.

To schedule an Ultrasound, please call (732) 321-7540 and select option 6.

Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology is abbreviated IR or sometimes VIR for vascular and interventional radiology, also known as Image-Guided Surgery. It is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g., angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g., angioplasty).

The basic concept behind interventional radiology is to diagnose or treat pathology with the most minimally invasive technique possible. Images are used to direct interventional procedures, which are usually done with needles and narrow tubes called catheters. The images provide road maps that allow the interventional radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the areas containing disease. By minimizing the physical trauma to the patient, peripheral interventions can reduce infection rates and recovery time as well as shorten hospital stays.

Imaging Modalities

Common interventional imaging modalities include fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), and ultrasound (US). These methods have the advantages of being fast and geometrically accurate. Other common IR procedures are:

Angiography: Imaging the blood vessels to look for abnormalities.

Balloon Angioplasty/Stent: Opening of narrow or blocked blood vessels using a balloon; may include placement of metallic stents as well.

Chemoembolization: Delivering cancer treatment directly to a tumor through its blood supply, then using clot-inducing substances to block the artery, ensuring that the delivered chemotherapy is not "washed out" by continued blood flow.

Cholecystostomy: Placement of a tube into the gallbladder to remove infected bile in patients with cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gallbladder, who are too frail or too sick to undergo surgery.

Drain Insertions: Placement of tubes into different parts of the body to drain fluids.

Embolization: Blocking abnormal blood (artery) vessels (e.g., for the purpose of stopping bleeding) or organs (to stop the extra function, e.g., embolization of the spleen for hypersplenism) including uterine artery embolization for percutaneous treatment of uterine fibroids.

Thrombolysis: Treatment aimed at dissolving blood clots (e.g., pulmonary emboli, leg vein thrombi, thrombosed hemodialysis accesses).

Biopsy: Taking of a tissue sample from the area of interest for pathological examination from a percutaneous or transjugular approach.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RF/RFA): Localized destruction of tissue (e.g., tumors).

Line Insertion: Vascular access and management of specialized kinds of intravenous devices (IVs) (e.g. PIC lines, Hickman lines, subcutaneous ports including translumbar and transhepatic venous lines).

IVC Filters: Metallic filters placed in the inferior vena cava to prevent propagation of deep venous thrombus, both temporary and permanent.

Vertebroplasty/Kyphoplasty: Percutaneous injection of biocompatible bone cement inside fractured vertebrae.

Nephrostomy Placement: Placing a catheter directly into the kidney to drain urine in situations where normal flow of urine is obstructed. NUS catheters are nephroureteral stents which are placed through the ureter and into the bladder.

Radiologically Inserted Gastrostomy or RIG: Placement of a feeding tube percutaneously into the stomach and/or jejunum.

Dialysis Access and Related Intervention: Placement of tunneled hemodialysis catheters, peritoneal dialysis catheters, and revision/thrombolysis of poorly functioning surgically placed AV fistulas and grafts.

TIPS: Placement of a Transjugular Intrahepatic Porto-systemic Shunt (TIPS) for management of select patients with critical end-stage liver disease and portal hypertension.

Biliary intervention: Placement of catheters in the biliary system to bypass biliary obstructions and decompress the biliary system. Also placement of permanent indwelling biliary stents.

Cerebral Angiography: Imaging blood vessels in the head.

MRI

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is a safe and comfortable imaging technique used to diagnose myriad medical conditions. It does not use a traditional X-ray or radiation to produce images; instead, it brings together a powerful magnet with an advanced computer system, using radio waves to produce accurate, detailed pictures of organs and soft tissues. Soft tissue is muscle, fat, blood vessels, and other parts of your body that connect, support, and surround other structures. MRI exams provide very detailed and precise images of what is happening inside the body.

A MRI scanner consists of a large and very strong magnet in which the patient lies. A radio wave antenna is used to send signals to the body and then receive signals back. These returning signals are converted into images by a computer attached to the scanner. Pictures of any organ or tissue can be obtained at almost any particular angle.

MRI scanners are good at looking at the non-bony parts or "soft tissues" of the body. In particular, the brain, spinal cord and nerves are seen much more clearly with MRI than with regular x-rays and CAT scans. Also, muscles, ligaments and tendons are seen quite well, so MRI scans are commonly used to look at knees and shoulders following injuries. A MRI scanner uses no X-rays or other radiation.

Who benefits from an MRI?

At JFK, our state-of-the art open-bore MRI accommodates patients of all sizes and is even ideal for those who get anxious when confined to small spaces. Due to its shorter design, the majority of MRI exams can be done with the patient’s head outside the system. And, due to the larger opening (or bore) of the MRI, patients with lumbar spine problems who may not be able to tolerate a traditional MRI can be scanned with their knees bent to relieve pressure on the lower back.

How safe is an MRI?

An MRI is quite safe and effective. The MRI exam does not cause pain, nor does it produce harmful radiation. However, as it uses a magnet, patients with implanted medical devices such as aneurysm clips in the brain, heart pacemakers and cochlear (inner ear) implants as well as pieces of metal close to or in an important organ (such as the eye) may not be scanned. Some pregnant women should not have an MRI examination. Of course there are other safety considerations and exceptions based on individual circumstances.

Additionally, certain metal objects that we commonly have on our persons — such as watches, jewelry, credit cards, hair pins, writing pens — may be damaged by the MRI scanner or pulled away from our bodies when entering the MRI room. (But, don’t worry about your dental fillings, braces or undergarments; the type of metal used is not attracted to the magnet. Furthermore, metal can sometimes cause poor pictures if it is close to the part being scanned. For these reasons, patients are asked to remove these objects before entering the MRI scanner.

What can I expect during an MRI?

The majority of the times a patient does not need to disrobe when undergoing MRI. The patient lies on a special table that moves into the center of the MRI. Before the MRI procedure begins, earplugs will be provided to reduce the “hammering” noise that occurs as the MRI prepares to scan and take pictures. Some of our MRIs are equipped with headphones for music and a two-way communication system to speak with the technologist anytime during the exam.

For additional information, please call (732) 321-7000 ext. 65890.