What is MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic procedure that makes detailed images of internal bodily structures without the use of X-rays or any other form of radiation. MR images are produced through the use of a large and powerful magnet, radiowaves and a computer. This technology enables physicians to detect diseases or abnormalities in early stages of development. Early detection is the key to curing many diseases. Modern MRI systems can produce cross-sectional images less than a millimeter in thickness. Such resolution yields very fine detail of internal structures such as the spine, joints, brain and other vital organs. Developed in the late 1970s, Magnetic Resonance Imaging has become a common diagnostic test across the U.S.
What is Computed Tomography or CT?
CT began to be used widely in the 1970's and is now a common diagnostic test in most U.S. hospitals. CT is an imaging technique in which pictures are generated from a series of finely spaced, narrow-beam x-rays measured at different angles around a given body part. CT compares the intensity of each beam exiting the patient with the beam's original intensity; and then uses a computer to synthesize these measurements into a visual reconstruction of the object. The body part is displayed as a series of slices, or tomographs, which effectively allows radiologists to view the body part in three dimensions. If the same body part is imaged with conventional radiographs, it is represented in two dimensions; and the area of interest may be obscured by overlying objects..
What is PET?
PET is an advanced diagnostic imaging technology that brings multiple benefits to hospitals, physicians and patients through better control of patient disease management and early disease detection. PET is a nuclear medicine procedure that produces pictures of the body's biological functions. This is important because functional change, such as tissue metabolism and physiologic functions, often predates structural change. Since precursors to disease are biochemical in nature and initially affect function, PET can save time and costs in diagnosis and treatment of many significant disease conditions in the fields of oncology, cardiology and neurology. Utilizing PET improves patient care since it helps physicians select more effective therapies, which ultimately helps save lives. Developed in the early 1970s, PET is rapidly emerging from the halls of research and academic centers into everyday clinical practice. This leap into mainstream healthcare in the United States has been spurred by three components: expanded Medicare coverage (most recently for breast cancer, effective October 1, 2002), increased availability of PET radiopharmaceuticals from regional suppliers, and improved access to shared PET equipment options.
What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear Medicine scanning is a diagnostic procedure that uses radioactive isotopes--or radiopharmaceuticals--that are absorbed by certain body tissues. A "camera"--which is really a radioisotope detector--is used to map the distribution of the radiopharmaceutical. The resulting images provide information about organ function and physiology. SPECT exams are used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions. Common applications of SPECT include cardiac perfusion and function, brain perfusion and function, liver, spleen and bone. An Alliance partnership provides healthcare facilities with an opportunity to expand their diagnostic capabilities without the expense and commitment associated with purchasing the equipment.