Radiology

Here at Pocahontas Community Hospital our highly-trained staff uses their diagnostic imagining knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment to identify structural and functional abnormalities in the body. The Radiology staff is available 24 hours a day and all registered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and have completed other specialty training. Board-certified radiologist review and interpret each exam.

HOURS
7 am-5 pm, Monday through Friday
Emergency coverage 24 Hours/7 days a week
Interpretations are provided by Radiology Consultants of Iowa

CONTACT
If you have any further questions or comments, contact PCH Radiology department at 
Phone: 712-335-5227 
Fax: 712-335-5223
Nicki Bunda, Manager

All Radiology examinations require a physician referral.


X-rays

X-rays help identify disease or injury to different areas of the body. While receiving an x-ray, a small, carefully calculated amount of radiation is directed toward a specific part of the body to produce an image. Images created by x-rays show different features of the body in various shades of gray.

You may be asked to move in different positions in order for us to get the images we need for the best visualization possible.

We have two diagnostic imaging rooms here at PCH so wait time is minimal. We also use CR (computed radiography) so images are on the computer rather than on film providing us with better quality images and less wait time.


Mammography

Mammography is simply an x-ray that provides the sharpest images available of the breast's inner structure. The advanced screening capability of a mammogram greatly improves the survival rate of women because it helps the physician to detect much smaller tumors than those that can be felt by self-examinations alone.

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women ages 40 and over have a screening mammogram annually. If you experience a change in your breasts you should contact your physician.

Pocahontas Community Hospital offers a full field digital mammography system, providing patients with optimal breast imaging and comfort. Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologists monitor in a matter of seconds. There is no waiting for film to develop, which can mean a shorter wait time for patients. Also, it is designed to reduce the discomfort often associated with mammography as well as provide detailed electronic images while actually reducing the amount of x-ray dosage the patient receives.

How do I get ready for a mammogram? 
You should not use any lotion, powder or deodorant on your breasts or underarms before your mammogram. If you arrive for your appointment wearing any of the above it is okay but, you may be asked to remove it prior to imaging.

How long does the exam take?
A routine mammogram usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.


Bone Densitometry

Bone density testing is most commonly used to detect and evaluate the advance of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

The DXA machine sends a thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays with two distinct energy peaks through your bones. One peak is absorbed mainly by soft tissue and the other by bone. The soft tissue amount can be subtracted from the total and what remains is a patient’s bone mineral density.

Doctors usually focus on bone loss in the spine and hip where most osteoporosis-related fractures happen. During an examination of the spine, your legs will be supported on a padded box to flatten your pelvis and lower (lumbar) spine. To assess your hip, the technologist will place your foot in a brace that rotates the hip inward. You will be asked to lay still while the camera moves over top of the area being scanned.

How long does the exam take?
This test usually takes between 10-15 minutes.


Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is great for non-invasively imaging and diagnosing a number of organs and conditions, without x-ray radiation. It uses very high frequency sound waves to produce an image of the internal structures of the body. X-rays use radiation to produce images, ultrasound uses sound wave, which are harmless, even on pregnant women.

A transducer (a small microphone like device) is placed over the area being examined. Sound waves pass through the skin from the transducer. The sound waves bounce off certain organs and tissues in the body. This creates “echos”. The echoes are reflected back through the transducer and onto a monitor. Ultrasound is a useful tool that can visualize organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas and gallbladder. Also, pelvic and reproductive organs, thyroid, breast and blood vessels to name a few.

What will happen during the exam?
The patient will be asked to lie down on the exam table and asked to move into different positions during scanning. You may also be asked to hold your breath. A warm gel is applied to the part of the body being imaged and an instrument called a transducer is passed over the area by the sonographer.

How do I get ready? 
Some ultrasound examinations require special preparations. These will be explained at the time of scheduling.

How long does the exam take?
An ultrasound exam usually takes between 30-60 minutes.


CT Scans

Computed tomography, more commonly known as CT or CAT scanning, is a sophisticated imaging technique that can show anatomy at different levels within the body. During CT imaging, the x-ray source rotates around the patient and each rotation produces a single cross sectional “slice” (like a slice in a loaf of bread). CT allows physicians to see a horizontal piece of the body, as if you were taking a slice of bread out of the loaf.

CT scans are used to diagnose many conditions. When examining the head they may be checking for bleeding, tumors, blood clots or signs of a stroke. CTs done on other parts of the body may be used to tell whether a growth is solid or fluid-filled, determine an organ's size and shape and evaluate many different diseases.

What will happen during exam?
Different areas of the body require different scanning techniques. Typically, the patient is asked to lie on their back and hold their breath for short periods. An intravenous injection of contrast material (x-ray dye) may be given. If contrast is needed for the scan bloodwork may be necessary if not done recently.

How do I get ready for a CT scan?
Preparations may be required and will be explained at the time of scheduling.

How long does the exam take?
The procedure usually takes between 30-60 minutes. You may have to wait a few minutes during your scan while the images are being examined so please be patient with us. It is important that the pictures contain all necessary information before you are moved from the table.


MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technology that creates images for a radiologist to interpret from the water in the human body. Giant magnets allow the patient's body to receive radio waves and “echo” them back. A computer uses the information within the echoes that bounce back from the body to create images. There is no exposure to X-ray radiation when an MRI is performed. The images created are unique to the patient, depicting their anatomy and any disease that may be present. The MRI process is safe and painless.

MRI “sees” right through bone, and clearly pictures soft tissue. MRI is extremely valuable for helping to diagnose brain and nervous system disorders, cancer and musculoskeletal problems.

What will happen during the exam?
An MRI requires the patient to lie on a table. The area of the body that is being scanned is positioned in the center of the magnet, this determines whether the patient will enter feet or head first. A small device called a surface coil may be placed over or near the body part being scanned to improve images.

How do I get ready for an MRI?
MRI scans require clothing without metal and no metal objects such as jewelry, hair accessories, or body piercings.

How long does the exam take?
An MRI usually takes 30-45 minutes.


Nuclear Medicine

Unlike x-rays that produce a structural image of an organ, nuclear medicine scans produce an image of the organ's function. Images produce by nuclear medicine scans tell what part of an organ is working correctly, and what part is not.

In x-ray and CT exams, radiations come out of a machine and passes through the patient's body. In a nuclear medicine exam a radioactive material is introduce into the patient's body, usually by injection, and is then detected by a machine.

The amount of radioactive material introduce into the body is carefully measured to reflect the patient's age, weight and other variables, so it is very safe. The radioactive material is only inside the body for a very short time because it decays rapidly.

What will happen during the exam?
The radioactive material will be given through an injection in the arm or by swallowing a capsule. How the dose is given is based on the area of the body be examined. The dose of radiation is comparable to a routine x-ray and there are no side effects with the radioactive material given. The patient may be asked to lie or sit in front of the camera.

How do I get ready for a nuclear medicine test?
For many of the exams there are no special preparations required, however if preparations are necessary, they will be explained at the time of scheduling.

How long does the exam take?
Scans range in time from a few minutes to several hours. Some exams require a delay after the material is given before imaging is started; this is to allow the material to collect at the area of interest. 


PACS

PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) is an electronic system where images from all of our modalities are stored. This system replaces film/paper reports, etc. Images and reports are easily accessible to technologists, radiologists and providers. Images can also be sent and/or viewed in other facilities (depending on location) making for better patient care.