Radiology & Imaging
Radiology & Imaging Providers
Radiology & Imaging Locations
Information about Radiology & Imaging
See what’s going on inside
The first glimpse of a child in the womb. An x-ray that reveals how severe a fracture is. A clean bill of health after a mammogram. Thanks to medical imaging, doctors can see what’s going on inside the body so that they can monitor and treat a range of conditions.
At Vancouver Clinic, patients receive expert, attentive support throughout the entire imaging process. Licensed technologists guide patients through exams. Board-certified diagnostic radiologists interpret the results and work closely with referring doctors and specialists to enable seamless care. Our team includes physicians who are fellowship trained in women’s imaging, musculoskeletal radiology, and neuroradiology.
Medical imaging can make people feel lots of emotions, from excited to anxious. We’re here to answer questions and provide care and support at every step. Find out what to expect for each type of appointment. Click on an exam type below to learn more:
An x-ray is a painless medical test and the oldest, most frequently used form of medical imaging. An x-ray can make images of any bone in the body (hand, wrist, arm, etc.) and soft tissue (abdomen, chest). For example, an x-ray can be used to confirm a fracture or look for signs of pneumonia. During an x-ray, the body receives a small dose of ionizing radiation—the same type of radiation that the sun produces. One adult chest x-ray is equivalent to about 10 days of natural background radiation, which everyone is exposed to through daily living.
Bones can lose calcium with age and with certain medical conditions. Bone-density testing measures how strong or weak bones are and helps doctors determine an individual’s fracture risk. People experiencing bone loss may have this painless test yearly to monitor their condition. Bone-density testing is commonly called DEXA testing. DEXA refers to “dual energy x-ray absorption,” the method used to perform the test.
Vancouver Clinic also uses a DEXA machine for body composition testing. Athletes and individuals performing high-intensity training risk depleting muscle rather than fat. Determining body composition can help ensure that a training regimen is healthy.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan takes x-ray images at different angles around the body and employs computer processing to create cross-sectional images of bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues. CT scan images provide more detailed information than plain x-rays do. In some cases, contrast media is used to “light up” internal organs so doctors can see them better. Contrast media is either taken by mouth or given by injection. CT scans usually take 5 to 20 minutes. Patients who experience claustrophobia may be prescribed an oral medicine to reduce their anxiety.
Doctors use 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) to evaluate breast tissue. It provides more detailed images than traditional mammography, making it easier for radiologists to spot concerns. Patients who are due for an annual mammogram, also called a screening mammogram, can easily schedule an appointment through MyChart—no referral necessary. Vancouver Clinic uses padded machines to increase comfort during exams.
A diagnostic mammogram is a type of follow-up mammogram. A radiologist might order a diagnostic mammogram because they need to better evaluate a specific area, because breast tissue was too dense to get an adequate look, because of shadows on the images, or because they spotted breast changes or areas of concern. Vancouver Clinic has fellowship-trained radiologists who specialize in ultrasound-guided breast biopsies if additional evaluation is required after a diagnostic examination.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Health care professionals use MRI scans to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumors. MRIs are very useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.
MRI exams take 30 to 45 minutes. Contrast media is sometimes used to help doctors better examine organs, blood vessels, or the spine. Doctors often order MRIs prior to surgery to better evaluate the extent of an injury. Patients who experience claustrophobia may be prescribed an oral medicine to reduce their anxiety during the exam.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to show doctors what’s going on inside the body. It’s one of the safest exams available. During an ultrasound, a sonographer will apply a colorless, odorless gel to the area being scanned and use a transducer to transmit images to a monitor. Most people associate ultrasounds with pregnancy because doctors frequently use them to check on a baby’s health. However, ultrasounds are also used to diagnose conditions affecting the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, ovaries, testicles, and more.
During a nuclear imaging exam, a radioactive tracer is injected into the vein or given by mouth. A scanner then picks up the radiation signals and turns them into an image. The tracers are not dyes or medicines and have no side effects, and the amount of radiation a patient receives is very low. Nuclear imaging may be used to detect coronary artery disease, assess lung function, evaluate bone tumors, and evaluate stomach emptying, among many other concerns.
Do I need a referral from my doctor to get an imaging exam?
All imaging services, with the exception of screening mammography, require a physician order. Most insurance providers require preauthorization before an MRI, CT, or nuclear imaging scan can be performed. Our staff works with your insurance company to confirm insurance coverage and obtain preauthorization.
Do I need an appointment?
X-rays do not require a scheduled appointment; you may walk-in for your procedure. Imaging staff will call and schedule appointments for all other diagnostic services.
How do I prepare for my imaging exam?
Imaging staff will explain procedure preparations when scheduling the appointment.
How will I receive the procedure results?
Results are sent to the physician who ordered the study. The doctor will review the findings, discuss a care plan, or refer you to additional specialists, as necessary. Mammography patients will receive a results letter in the mail after a doctor has reviewed the study.