Medical Imaging Q&A
Q: I have a family history of breast cancer. What breast cancer screening options should I consider?
While digital mammography
remains the gold standard for breast screening, certain patients do benefit from supplemental breast MRI
scans. These patients include women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer or those with a strong family or personal history. For these patients, the American Cancer Society recommends both a mammogram and an MRI annually, beginning at age 30. Your doctor will determine if you qualify.
For patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, breast MRI gives surgeons and oncologists a clear picture of the extent of the cancer to ensure that proper treatment is delivered. It is also extremely accurate in determining a patient’s response to chemotherapy treatment, and can do so earlier than mammography, ultrasound or a physical exam.
Fauquier Health continues its commitment to bringing the latest in health care technology to our community by offering breast MRIs. Call your doctor to find out if you are a candidate.
Q: What is interventional radiology?
Interventional radiology (IR) treats and diagnoses diseases without surgery by using minimally invasive procedures. Interventional radiologists use X-rays
, CT (computed tomography) scans
and other imaging techniques to guide a small tube called a catheter into the body. Then they may use tiny tools inserted into the catheter to treat the source of the disease.
IR offers an alternative to surgery for many conditions. It can even eliminate the need for hospitalization in some cases. IR treatments offer patients shorter recovery time, less pain and fewer risks than open surgery.
A few common IR procedures include the following:
- Angiography: An X-ray of the arteries and veins to detect blockage or narrowing of the vessels. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat the blockages, such as those occurring in the arteries in the legs or kidneys, by inserting a small stent that inflates an attached balloon and opens the vessel. This procedure is called a balloon angioplasty.
- Embolization: The insertion of a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop excessive bleeding.
- Stent placement: A tiny expandable coil called a stent is placed inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. The stent is expanded to open up the blockage.
- Needle biopsy: A small needle is inserted into the abnormal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to obtain a tissue biopsy.
- Blood clot filters: A small filter is inserted into a blood clot to catch and break up clots.
LOCAL SPECIALISTS. Fauquier Health has an extensive interventional radiology team. Ask your doctor about possible procedures. For more information on our full medical imaging services, visit our main medical imaging page.