The radiology department at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital provides General Radiography, Bone Densitometry, Mammography, MRI, CT, and Diagnostic Ultrasound, both general and vascular. The Mammography Department is full accredited by the American College of Radiology. All Radiology Imaging procedures are interpreted by one of our 18 Board Certified Radiologists associated with Mountain Empire Radiology of Johnson City, TN. Radiologist are physicians who interpret/read medical imaging procedures in order to rule out specific diseases or injuries. To become Board Certified in Radiology requires the Radiologist to pass a standardized national examination in radiology.
The Radiology Department of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day with highly qualified registered Radiologic Technologists, providing radiology imaging services. To become a Registered Radiologic Technologist requires completion of a two or four year accredited Radiology program and passing a national certification examination to become a Registered Technologists. Continuing educational training is required annually in order to maintain the Radiologic Technologists certification to practice imaging procedures.
Below is a description of the imaging services available at UCMH.
Computed tomography (CT)
A CT scan is a sophisticated imaging technique utilizing x-rays combined with
a computer to produce multiple cross-sectional images, in rapid sequence. These images are pictures of slices through the body, much like slices from a loaf of bread, whcih provides a more detailed image of the body’s tissues and vessels than conventional X-rays. CT scans are used to diagnose many conditions, such as examinations of the head to check for bleeding, tumors, blood clots or signs of stroke, determine an organ's size, shape, whether a growth is solid or fluid -filled, and evaluate many different diseases. CT scanning can identify both normal and abnormal structures and is painless and accurate. UCMH installed a new state of the art Philips 16-slice CT scanner in January, 2008.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI is a sophisticated diagnostic imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field, combined with radio waves to stimulate the body's water molecules with a computer. Stimulated molecules release signals that are detected by the MRI scanner and produces cross-sectional images. MRI creates better soft-tissue scans than x-rays and is most commonly utilized to image the brain, spine, organs in the chest and abdomen, the heart and blood vessels and structures near bones, such as muscles and ligaments. MRI creates clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones and is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems. MRI is extensively utilized to diagnose injuries or problems affecting the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, wrist, and spine. UCMH provides MRI services with a new state of the art Philips 1.5 Telesa unit installed within the hospital in December of 2008.MRI services are provided Monday through Friday and staffed by a registered MRI Technologists.
Mammography utilizes low-dose radiation to image breast tissue and is the best way, at present, of detecting breast cancers during its early, more treatable stages. Mammography can detect breast lumps before they can be felt which could significantly increase a woman's successful treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends women have a baseline mammogram at the age of 35 and then begin annual mammograms at age of 40. UCMH provides digital mammography services Monday thru Friday and is fully accredited by the FDA. Mammograms are performed by registered Mammographer’s with kind and caring attitudes. UCMH installed a state of the art GE Digital mammography unit in January 2009.
UCMH provides general radiography, which are the most familiar imaging procedures for people. General procedures include x-rays of the chest, hands, ankles, feet, legs, spine, abdomen and other areas of the body. UCMH installed two state of the art Philips Radiographic and Fluoroscopic rooms in December and January of 2010/2011, to serve the patients needs. As of December of 2010 all imaging procedures completed a UCMH are in a digital format that are stored electronically in a PACS system (Picture Archive Communications System). These stored computer images are easily retrieved by the Radiologists and can be compared to previous imaging examinations. The Radiology Department at UCMH became totally digital as of November of 2009.
Ultrasound: general & vascular
Ultrasound is a technique that sends sound waves into the body directed at specific organs or vessels. As the sound waves strike the area of interest they bounce back as a series of echoes and the ultrasound machine detects those echoes, analyzing the information and creating an image. Ultrasound can be used to examine many areas of the body including the abdomen, gall bladder, breasts, female pelvis, scrotum, thyroid, the vascular system, and for pregnancy to assist the doctor in determining when the baby is due or the position of the baby. Vascular Ultrasound can be utilized to diagnose restricted blood flow in arteries and possible blood clots in veins.
Bone densitometry is an imaging technique that measures a patient's bone mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength. Bone densitometry can determine if a patient has osteoporosis, a degenerative disease that results in bones becoming brittle and subject to fractures. Postmenopausal woman are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women older than 65 undergo a bone densitometry procedure every two years. Developing osteoporosis is greater for women who have a family history of osteoporosis, chronic intestinal disorders, lighted skinned, thin or small framed, milk intolerant or have low calcium intake and who take thyroid medication or steroid-based medications for arthritis, cancer or asthma. UCMH installed a new state of the art Hologic bone densitometry machine in January 2005.