by the PRMC staff, Special to the Roundup
Bruce Hawkins, MS, RT(R)(MR) (CT), is the director of imaging services at Payson Regional Medical Center. Hawkins is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia in Washington D.C. and has a master’s from Marian College at Fond du Lac, Wis. in organizational leadership and quality.
With 25 years of experience in radiology, Hawkins leads a team of dedicated professionals who work hard to make a difference in the lives of each of their patients.
The field of diagnostic imaging is as diverse as the professionals who work in radiology at PRMC. The staff members are registered technologists; most are registered in multiple disciplines and all have at least five years of experience. With advanced medical imaging, the staff at PRMC can get the inside picture. Whether it is a simple X-ray or a 40-slice CT scan, the hospital has just the technology to see what’s going on inside.
Diagnostic imaging is used to create a graphic depiction of the structures and functions of the body’s organs and other internal systems. These images are used to examine and diagnose certain medical conditions.
PRMC uses the Picture Archival Communication System, or PACS, a system that manages digital images and does away with the film-based variety. This means a faster diagnosis and better patient care.
In fact, the hospital staff is happy to provide a CD of your diagnostic imaging study for you to take home, if you’re interested. You can make a request from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (928) 472-3450 or (928) 472-1357.
Imaging services at PRMC include:
• Bone densitometry (DEXA scan)
Osteoporosis means, literally, porous bones, and is a debilitating disease that can lead to bone fracture. More than 52 million Americans have low bone density and are at risk for osteoporosis — 80 percent are women. DEXA scans which stands for Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) are an advanced test that measures the density of the spine, hip and other bones that are the most frequent sites for bone loss and fractures, and compares it to that of an established norm to give you a score. If a loss of bone mass is discovered, especially early, patients can receive treatment to prevent breakage and further loss. PRMC is proud to offer this advanced test, and echoes the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s recommendation that women over 65 should get a DEXA scan every two years to diagnose bone density loss and hopefully prevent osteoporosis.
• CT scan
Thanks to CT scanning (computed tomography, often called a “CAT” scan) doctors can view a “slice” of the human body painlessly. Often used to diagnose life-threatening conditions and issues like cancer, blood clots, infections, lung and liver disease, head and spine injuries and internal bleeding. PRMC includes CT scans among the variety of diagnostic tools we use to give patients of all ages a clear picture of illness and injury.
PRMC uses 16- and 40-slice units to get detailed information about your body from a variety of angles that can be processed in a matter of seconds, showing an accurate cross section of body tissues and organs.
• Digital mammography
More than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are discovered in the U.S. each year. At PRMC, we know the value of early detection and mammography is a tool we use to identify potential issues.
An X-ray of the breast, mammography is used to look for breast disease in both women and men. It is a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that is generally not painful.
At PRMC, we’re dedicated to providing you with the most proactive care possible. If you have questions about your test or the results, your doctor or nurse can answer all of your questions.
• Nuclear medicine
A special kind of imaging, nuclear medicine creates images of the body and its functions by capturing the energy of safe radioactive tracers as they flow through the body. It’s used to detect tumors and infection by bringing to light a number of bodily processes from kidney function to blood flow through the heart and lungs.
Nuclear medicine can also be used to find blockages in the gallbladder and bleeding into the bowel.
It’s clear — precision is important during diagnosis. Of all imaging technologies, MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging gives doctors the clearest, most precise image of the inside of the body. It’s sophisticated and uses a strong magnetic field to show the structure and detail of organs, soft tissue and bones, which can pinpoint all types of issues from abnormalities to disease. PRMC performs MRIs with your comfort in mind.
PRMC uses ultrasound as a painless, non-invasive way to diagnose a variety of diseases and conditions without the use of radiation, making this a widely used procedure during pregnancy.
Sometimes called sonography, ultrasounds bounce high-frequency sound waves off the body to produce a real-time picture of the internal structures including organ formation, movement and blood flow.
Telemedicine integrates online communication and digital conferencing to enable face-to-face consultations between physicians like Dr. Kristi Gill, patients and specialists in Tucson and throughout the country if necessary. It’s like having a global team of experts right on your computer screen.
PRMC participates with the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson in our state’s first rural telemedicine network.
An integrated PET-CT scan combines images from a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and a computed tomography (CT) scan that have been performed at the same time using the same machine. Because a CT scan provides detailed pictures of tissues and organs inside the body, while a PET scan reveals any abnormal activity that might be going on there, combining these scans creates a more complete image than either test can offer alone.
Like the individual tests it combines, an integrated PET-CT scan is a diagnostic tool used to detect cancer and find out the cancer’s stage (a way of describing where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body). The PETSCAN is a mobile machine that is available every other Saturday here at PRMC.