An ultrasound examination uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image. The sound waves reflect off body structures such as the liver, muscles or the unborn foetus. An image is then created by using software with a special computer. No radiation (such as is used with x-ray images) is used during an ultrasound examination.
The test is a painless procedure and involves the patient lying down or sitting next to the ultrasound machine. A water-based gel is applied to the skin over the area of concern. The gel helps to transmit the sound waves. A transducer or probe is then moved over the examination area. The ultrasound department at QMI cover general abdominal, vascular ultrasound, neonatal and pediatrics, muscular skeletal ultrasound and obstetrics and gynecological examinations.
MRI - MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING
MRI is a non-invasive and painless procedure that is used for diagnostic radiological imaging. It uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves to create data which is transformed into diagnostic images by a complex computer system. No radiation is involved and MR imaging is safe for children and pregnant women.
The MRI gives information about the internal structures of the body with more sensitive soft tissue characterisation as compared to other imaging modalities like x-rays, ultrasound or CT. It is used for the imaging of the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen, pelvis, joints, breast, heart and vessels. For this reason your doctor may request an MRI study even though you may have had other imaging tests already.
There are certain contra-indications for the MRI examination and you will be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire before you are allowed to enter the magnet room. These include cardiac pacemakers, cochlear implants and other metal implants. It is important to discuss previous surgeries and procedures with the MRI technologists.
For the MRI examination, the area that is being studied is placed in the middle of the machine (“tunnel”). Some patients are nervous of confined spaces and will need some medication to help them relax. You will not be able to drive if you are given a sedative and will need to arrange transport.
CT - COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY
A CT scanner creates its image by moving the human body through a donut shaped machine, which emits a series of narrow x-ray beams. The data from these beams is converted by a computer into diagnostic cross- sectional images. Special software is used to reconstruct images in different planes and to create 3 dimensional views.
A CT scan provides fast and detailed imaging of the head and the body. CT is particularly useful in imaging of the abdomen and pelvis, the lungs, soft tissues, bones, brain, heart and blood vessels. Because of the speed of the examination, it is possible to image the beating heart to demonstrate even the smallest blood vessels!
Most CT scans are painless and non-invasive. Some examinations require special preparations and an intravenously administered contrast (dye) media to optimize the visualization of organs, structures and vessels in the body. Patients are screened for known allergies and existing conditions before any procedure is started.
Quest Medical Imaging in Accra, Ghana is now able to offer Mammograms with Tomosynthesis (3D).
2D mammograms are the regular standard procedure. Simply put it means that the breast image is obtained from top to bottom or from side to side. Visualisation of small cancers can be missed and often result in the patient having to experience further imaging and biopsies.
However, with advances in breast imaging, early detection of breast cancer has improved by 40%. Tomosynthesis or 3D Digital Breast Imaging (DGB) is fast becoming the gold standard for imaging breast tissue, especially for women with dense breast tissue. 3D imaging has undoubtedly improved the peace of mind for both radiologist and patient.
Tomosynthesis (3D) technology is performed on the standard mammogram machine.The software enables the x-ray tube to 'sweep' over the breast in a short arc movement from different angles, allowing for a layered or sliced breast tissue acquisition of images.
The Radiologist is then able to view these layers one by one. Thus allow for overlying structures to be visualised individually and provides clarity in those difficult, dense areas within the breast.
The advantages of Tomosynthesis are:
· Improves visualisation and detection of breast cancer.
· Fewer recalls for patients especially regarding further biopsies. Reason being that tissue is easier to
see with overlying structures. As a result, more certainty in evaluation of tissue.
· Potential less compressing or of the breast due to increased visibility.
DIGITAL RADIOLOGY & FLUOROSCOPY
X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation. This ionizing capability of X-rays is used in medicine for both diagnosis and less frequently for treatment of certain disorders. X-rays are useful in the detection of pathology of the skeletal system as well as for detecting some disease processes in soft tissue and is often one of the first special investigations your doctor will send you for.
Fluoroscopy is a specialised imaging technique using X-rays. Fluoroscopy is used by radiologists (and some other specialists) to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient. This method may use a contrast material and some procedures require preparations from the day before such as fasting or cleansing of the bowel. Some types of fluoroscopy examinations are: barium swallows - to examine for oesophageal disorders; gastric procedures including barium meals to examine the stomach as well as adjustments of surgical bands; barium enemas – to examine the large bowel and arthrogram - where contrast media are injected into a joint.
With the introduction of digital radiology the overall quality of our radiology service has vastly improved.
Our referring doctors can now view their images on their computer either via a disk or our network or internet setup. This immediate availability of images translates into shorter waiting times for our patients.