What Should Patients Expect During a Low-Dose CT Scan?

CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs. By using the lowest possible dose of radiation in combination with computer technology, doctors can give patients clear and accurate diagnoses. For those who have never had this particular imaging procedure performed, this preview might help calm your fears or concerns.

What Is a Low-Dose CT Scan?

CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs.A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology in order to create images. X-rays use a small amount of radiation in order to show the body’s internal structures and produce images. On average, Americans are exposed to 3.1 mSv of radiation annually. CT scans use a slightly higher amount than that and qualified radiologists use the lowest possible dosage based on the size of a patient.

What Happens During the Exam?

CT scanners have the appearance of a tube with a spinning detector that collects the images your radiologist will use. For some procedures, the radiologist may ask that you abstain from eating for one or more hours prior to your examination.

Your CT scan will proceed as follows:

  1. While lying on your back,  a table will move your body slowly, feet-first, through the machine.
  2. If needed, your doctor may request contrast  for your CT scan procedure. Contrast is a substance that is used during imaging procedures to better understand your medical condition. Contrast material will be administered through an IV or by drinking a flavored substance.
  3. As you are moved through the machine, your technologist will be able to see, hear and speak to you.

The images and report are created after the procedure is performed, and you and your personal doctor can review the results  together to determine your treatment options. You may feel a warm sensation or a metallic taste after an injection.
You should inform your doctor if you have medication allergies or an allergy to iodine. You should also let your doctor know if you suffer from diabetes or any heart, thyroid or kidney conditions as contrast material may sometimes cause an adverse reaction in patients with these conditions. Otherwise, CT scans are non-invasive and painless and can provide incredibly useful information for your doctors to use in providing the best treatment options for you.

Doctors Imaging is now offering low-dose CT lung cancer screenings, recommended annually for those at high risk for lung cancer, for the low cost of just $99. Lung screening is performed without contrast.  To schedule your appointment, use our online appointment form or call 504-883-8111.

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Common Ultrasound Exams for Women’s Health

Technician uses handheld ultrasound device
Most women are familiar with ultrasounds for supplemental breast cancer screenings and pregnancy imaging, but what are the other occasions when a physician might order an ultrasound exam for women? Learn more about the life-saving capabilities these ultrasound exams provide.

How Ultrasounds Work

Ultrasounds use a combination of sound waves and computer technology to create internal images that doctors and patients seek. Ultrasounds are often used as a preliminary method of imaging. This means that when doctors suspect a problem and think that it is an area that the ultrasound will be able to view, they will use this method first because ultrasounds aren’t invasive or have side effects. Ultrasounds examine the internal organs, tissues and blood flow throughout the body, determining the blood flow through the heart, imaging breast tissue and guiding biopsy needles.

Almost any part of the body can undergo an ultrasound exam which makes it a faithful go-to for doctors.

These Are the Ultrasound Exams Many Women Receive

BREAST CARE: Ultrasound of the breast may be used for women who are at high risk for breast cancer or women who are pregnant and should not be exposed to x-rays used in a mammogram. Ultrasound of the breast can also be used to screen women who have dense breast tissue, meaning there are a lot of ducts, glands, fibrous tissue and less fat making it harder to find cancers with a mammogram.

HEART HEALTH: A major benefit that ultrasounds can provide for women is helping women determine their possibility of heart attack or stroke. Both of these conditions occur when the blood flow to the brain or heart is blocked. By using ultrasound technology, doctors can hear problems like weak valves, blockages, and murmurs. Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world and the highest killer of women around the world. The best way to combat this statistic, besides better health, diet, and exercise, is to have regularly scheduled check-ups with your primary care physician. As you get older, your doctor will likely recommend several kinds of tests to determine your cardiac health, so don’t forget to sign up for a cardiac ultrasound. The ability to see movement via ultrasound is particularly beneficial for those women concerned with their cardiac health as the movement of blood will be the biggest indicator of that problem.

PELVIC: In women, a pelvic ultrasound is most often performed to evaluate these parts of the body:

  • uterus
  • cervix
  • ovaries
  • bladder

Ultrasound examinations can help diagnose symptoms experienced by women such as:

  • pelvic pain
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • other menstrual problems

Ultrasound exams also help identify:

  • palpable masses such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
  • ovarian or uterine cancers

PREGNANCY: Ultrasounds are the best form of medical imaging for expectant mothers because ultrasounds are non-invasive and do not have the concern of radiation. Mothers can see their baby’s outline, hear their heartbeat and determine their child’s health.

TRANSVAGINAL: These exams go across or through the vagina (the genital canal in the female, extending from the uterus to the vulva). A transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed to view the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and the ovaries. Transvaginal ultrasound also evaluates the myometrium (muscular walls of the uterus). Sonohysterography allows for a more in-depth investigation of the uterine cavity. These exams are typically performed to detect:

  • uterine anomalies
  • uterine scars
  • endometrial polyps
  • fibroids
  • cancer, especially in patients with abnormal uterine bleeding

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Common Ultrasound Exams for Men and How They Help

When checking for male-specific health problems, doctors frequently use ultrasound exams for men’s scrotum and testicular health. The goal of any imaging procedure is to have a clear picture of the examined area so that a physician can make the best treatment choice for you. If you are a man and wondering what the advantages could be to having an ultrasound performed, you may want to learn more about your upcoming ultrasound exam below before scheduling an appointment.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images. The same way that sonar works for marine science, sound waves are emitted through the body and when they come into contact with a structure, whether it is an organ or other mass, that structure sends the sound waves back to the ultrasound machine. The machine then interprets the sound waves to determine things like size and location.

Ultrasound procedures are completely painless. They also do not use ionizing radiation, so they are considered harmless.

Ultrasound Exams for Scrotum and Testicular Health

Ultrasounds are best for providing images of the scrotum and surrounding tissues. Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum is usually completed within 15 to 30 minutes, though sometimes more time is necessary. Physicians use ultrasound technology to determine the presence of masses, infertility, and testicular injury.

  • Ultrasounds are also used for checking the possibility of testicular cancer.
  • Pain, swelling, inflammation could be symptomatic of epididymitis or testicular torsion, a condition that reduces blood supply to the scrotum and requires immediate surgery.
  • Undescended testes affect up to 30% of boys, and if not properly monitored the condition contains a high risk of developing cancer.

After your ultrasound exam, a radiologist will analyze your ultrasound images. Next, the radiologist will send a signed report to the doctor who ordered your exam. Finally, your doctor will share the results with you or you can log in to our patient portal for a summary of the exam results.

Are you looking for an Ultrasound facility in Louisiana? Make an appointment with Doctors Imaging through our online appointment request form or by calling 504-883-8111.

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Common Ultrasound Exams and How They Help

Ultrasounds are a very common form of medical imaging. They are painless, offer no risk of radiation, and can provide details of the interior of the body without making a single incision. However, there are various kinds of ultrasounds that can be administered for different parts of the body for different conditions.

Most people are aware of ultrasounds in relation to pregnancy. Ultrasounds use sonar power or sound waves in order to create images of internal organs without having to make incisions or use contrast material. Sound waves reverberate off the organs and bones and the ultrasound machine interprets the change in sound waves and uses computer technology to make an image. Because of the comfort on the part of the patient in concert with the information gleaned for doctors, ultrasounds are now able to do so much more.

Common Ultrasound Exams and How They Help You and Your Doctor

Ultrasound exams can determine problems like internal bleeding, vascular problems, and reproductive or sexual issues.

  • Abdomen: Most often ultrasound is used in the abdomen to see the abdominal aorta, bladder, liver, pancreas, and spleen.
    These exams will help your physician investigate blockages, pain, enlargement, malformation, narrowing of vessels, tumors, or abnormal function.
  • Appendix: When bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. Ultrasounds can help doctors determine the extent of the infection.
  • Carotid Doppler/Vascular: Doppler ultrasound can map the movement of blood through veins and arteries in the body. This is extremely useful if there is a possible blockage in the artery. Blood blockages are what cause conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, amputations, and other kinds of problems. The most common places to perform a Doppler ultrasound are at the neck and abdominal arteries leading to and from the brain and heart, mainly the aortic and carotid arteries. During this exam, the transducer (ultrasound wand) is held against the neck with ultrasound gel to prevent air pockets from forming as sound cannot penetrate the air. Patients report hearing pulse-like sounds when the procedure is happening. A carotid Doppler ultrasound differs from other forms of ultrasound because it measures the direction and speed of blood cells as they move throughout the vessels. The movement causes a change in the pitch of reverberating sound waves. This way doctors can tell if there is a blockage or damage to the vessel that could be detrimental to the healthy blood flow needed in the body. If you are concerned about cardiovascular health or high blood pressure, your doctor might consider having one of these ultrasounds performed. If you are aware that you are at high risk for heart attack or stroke, having crucial medical information gained from ultrasounds could save your life. Vascular ultrasounds help identify blockages in the arteries and veins and detect blood clots. This exam can help your doctor determine whether you are a good candidate for angioplasty procedures. Doctors use this exam to diagnose and evaluate varicose veins.
  • DVT/Venous: Clots that occur in larger veins are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can also occur in smaller veins that are closer to the skin. Symptoms of blood clots in the legs and arms vary and may include pain or cramping, swelling, tenderness, warmth to the touch and bluish- or red-colored skin. A blood clot can be life-threatening depending on the location and severity. Venous ultrasound: This test is usually the first step for confirming a venous blood clot, especially in the veins of the leg. Sound waves are used to create a view of your veins. A Doppler ultrasound may be used to help visualize blood flow through your veins. If the results of the ultrasound are inconclusive, venography or MR angiography may be used.
    This condition is often referred to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT (see above). A venous ultrasound study is also performed to determine the cause of long-standing leg swelling.
  • Gallbladder: Ultrasounds can determine the presence of gallstones which form when bits of cholesterol and others materials in bile combine to form solid masses.
  • Kidney and Kidney Stones: Kidney and bladder stones are solid build-ups of crystals made from minerals and proteins found in urine. Certain bladder conditions and urinary tract infections can increase your chance of developing stones. Your doctor may use an abdominal and pelvic CT scan, intravenous pyelogram, or abdominal or pelvic ultrasound to help diagnose your condition. If a kidney stone becomes lodged in the ureter or urethra, it can cause constant severe pain in the back or side, vomiting, hematuria (blood in the urine), fever, or chills.
  • Thyroid: Ultrasounds use sound waves in order to interpret the inner happenings of the body, including checking to see if the thyroid contains a cyst or tumor.

You can Request an Appointment online. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday.

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What Happens When My Child Gets Medical Imaging?


When children get sick or injured, it’s up to the parents and physicians to work together to find the best treatment options for the child. If your child requires hospitalization or surgery, then your child’s pediatrician will likely order one of these common medical imaging exams for children. Learn more about the common types of medical imaging, as well as the benefits and risks of each procedure.

All About Common Medical Imaging Exams for Children

Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are one of the most common and frequently used medical imaging procedures.  Ultrasounds use sound waves and computer technology to see into the internal structures of the body. Because of the lack of radiation used, they are completely safe to perform on children. Women will often have several ultrasounds performed throughout their pregnancy and all are harmless. Ultrasounds can help determine conditions like cardiovascular birth defects, dysfunction in the reproductive organs, injuries after traumatic incidents like falls or car accidents, and possible cancerous masses. This procedure is also completely painless for children so there is no need for sedation or anesthesia.

CT Scan / CAT Scan

A CT Scan or CAT scan is another medical imaging procedure that your doctor may ask to perform. CT scans use a combination of X-ray and computer technology to examine the body and form images for further study. CT scans are commonly performed when doctors need cross-sectional images of the internal organs such as the chest cavity, abdominal areas, or the brain. If your doctor needs to perform a pediatric CT, the child may be asked to not eat for several hours prior to the examination so that the images will not be distorted. Children will also have to remain very still and silent during the scan. A common practice for CT scans is to administer contrast material so certain growths or blockages can be seen better. Contrast material can be given to a child through an IV or by swallowing the solution. If your child has allergies or a kidney condition, you should inform the doctor or technician prior to the scan.

CT scans use small amounts of radiation in order to better highlight the different types of structures in the body. Although the dose is relatively small, repeated CT scans can incur a slightly higher risk of cancer. But the advantages in diagnosis that CT scans can provide far outweigh the potential risk. The best way to limit the exposure is to only have CT scans performed when they are essential and to have the mechanisms narrowed onto one part of the child’s body. Discuss options with your doctor and child.

X-Rays

X-rays are another extremely common medical imaging procedure performed on both adults and children. If your child has a recent injury or needs surgery, doctors will often ask that an X-ray be performed to determine conditions like bone fractures, breaks and growth dysfunctions. X-rays are performed relatively quickly so the time your child spends exposed to the small doses of radiation is limited. Ask your doctor or imaging facility if they use analog X-rays or digital. Digital X-rays use much smaller doses of radioactive material to examine the body.

MRI

MRI or a magnetic resonance imaging exam is an imaging practice that doctors will usually perform if the child has a cardiovascular or brain condition, bleeding problems, childhood cancer or a type of growth disorder. MRIs use no forms of radiation so children are safe to have this procedure performed. MRIs use radio and magnetic waves to excite the atoms within the body and then use computer technology to collect these atoms and form the image of the body. Possible points of discomfort for a child would be remaining still for very long and having contrast material administered.

Having any medical imaging procedure performed can be a scary experience for both parents and children. But it is important to remember that these tests are created to improve the health of children. If you have serious reservations or fears, speak with a doctor or technologist about all of your questions. Your child cannot ask these questions, so it your job to stay informed and calm so they can stay healthy and happy.

Doctors Imaging is prepared for your child’s visit to our calm office environment. Scheduling is simple, and you can either do it online, or by simply calling 504-883-8111.

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Painful Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems


Like its cousin, the appendix, the necessity of the gallbladder is often debated. However, despite popular belief, the gallbladder provides a necessary function of a body. The gallbladder is a small pouch that is found below the liver. Within this pouch, bile is stored. Bile is a fluid that the liver produces in aiding the breakdown of fats and digestion. The liver is a factory. But the gallbladder is the storage warehouse. They work together but can be independent.

When the gallbladder is experiencing problems, the rest of the body usually reacts rather quickly. Depending on the severity of discomfort, gallbladder pain can be symptomatic of a few conditions:

    Gallstones are the most common cause of gallbladder pain. Gallstones occur when bits of cholesterol and others materials in bile combine together and form solid masses. These masses are typically no larger than a pencil eraser but that does not mean they are any less painful. Pregnant women and those who are overweight and losing weight rapidly are more prone to gallstones. For some, the pain comes and goes. But for others, it needs immediate treatment.

    Another cause of gallbladder pain could be a condition related to gallstones called biliary colic. This occurs when bile leaves the gallbladder through the cystic duct and into the small intestine where it begins to break down the food we eat. However, if there is a gallstone blocking that duct, the body can have a serious reaction. Fever, sweats, constipation and severe abdominal pain are the typical symptoms of this condition. Luckily these episodes usually only last an hour or two.

    More severe problems associated with gallstones include cholecystitis or inflamed gallbladder. When there are too many gallstones, a life of excessive drinking, or some infections, the gallbladder can become swollen and irritated. If the condition persists without treatment, bacteria from the intestines can make their way into the gallbladder and lead to infection. If symptoms persist, the gallbladder can eventually rupture and need immediate surgical removal.

    Frequent gallstones can lead to chronic gallstone disease. Symptoms can include frequent indigestion, gas, and diarrhea due to the hampered digestive tract.

The pain from these conditions can range from the abdominal area and radiate upwards into the back and shoulder areas. Other noticeable symptoms can be painful cramping, unusual swelling of the stomach as well as vomiting and fever.

Gallbladder pain is located in the mid- or upper-right section of the abdomen. The pain often comes and goes. Intensity can range from mild to severe. Gallbladder pain often causes pain in the chest and back.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, medical attention is the best way to discern what kind of treatment you may need. Seek medical attention right away if you experience:

  • upper-right quadrant pain that does not resolve within five hours
  • fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • changes in bowel movements and urination

For any gallbladder problem, doctors will commonly start with an ultrasound exam. Ultrasounds are best for determining the presence of gallstones. Because of the solid nature of stones, they are easily detectable, especially in digital ultrasounds.

Ultrasounds are non-invasive and they can allow doctors to see the problem in real-time making them the fastest choice for doctors and the easiest on patients. If doctors want to see more detailed images, they may ask the patient to undergo an MRI with contrast material. The contrast material in an MRI is not harmful unless the patient has kidney dysfunction. But the contrast allows doctors to track the trajectory of the dye through the body, highlighting diseased tissue and blockages.

If you have concerns about gallstones or need to schedule your medical imaging, call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111. You can also complete our online appointment request form.

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Know the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Kids


Appendicitis is one of the primary causes of childhood surgery and if parents cannot recognize the symptoms quickly, it can lead to a great deal of pain for children and fear for parents.

What is the Appendix? The appendix is a small pouch, about 4-5 inches long, that rests on the front, right side of the body and connects to the large intestine. The appendix is an organ that most physicians believe serves no function because of the lack of symptoms after removal. Researchers theorize that the appendix might be an organ that can reboot the immune system with healthy bacteria after a bout of infection in the digestive system.

How Does the Appendix Become Infected?

When bacteria is trapped in the appendix, the organ becomes inflamed due to antibodies flooding the organ in the hopes of fighting off dangerous infections. Trapped bacteria can be the result of a hard collection of stool or by pressure on the lymph node in the groin. When the bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. This is usually when the abdominal pain begins in children.

What are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

Early Symptoms: An early symptom of appendicitis is pain, often in the center of the abdomen but sometimes on the right side. The pain may be dull at first but may become more sharp or severe. Accompanying symptoms may include slight fever (above normal but less than 100 degrees), vomiting or nausea. Some individuals, particularly children, experience loss of appetite.

Later Symptoms: As the condition progresses, severe pain is usually felt in the lower right part of the abdomen. As the appendix becomes further inflamed, symptoms may include:

  • severe or worsening pain or cramping in the abdomen, rectum or back
  • swelling or tenderness in the abdomen
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • high fever (over 100 degrees)
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • inability to expel gas

Appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose because a number of other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Not everyone with appendicitis exhibits all of these symptoms. If you or your child have any of these symptoms, particularly abdominal pain that continues to worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

If the appendix pain is left untreated, the organ will fill with pus and bacteria causing it to rupture. A ruptured appendix will cause extreme abdominal pain along with other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, loss of energy and appetite and will need urgent medical attention. If your child is complaining of persistent stomach ache or pain and it hurts to touch their right side of their body, you can be almost sure that their appendix is infected and needs to be removed.

Appendicitis in children is often the child’s first experience with any kind of surgery. Broken bones, falls and accidents are more typical reasons why children seek urgency medical attention, so if you can recognize that your child is displaying the symptoms of appendicitis, they will be understandably frightened. Try to keep them as calm as possible until a physician can see them.

How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

A physician or other healthcare provider will perform one or all of the following tests to determine the extent of the appendix infection.

  • Often, they’ll begin with a physical examination by pressing gently on the area and checking the child’s vitals.
  • After that, an ultrasound will be performed on the child. Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to image the interior of the body. Ultrasounds are totally painless and can help doctors determine the extent of the infection and whether it can be treated and minimized with antibiotics or if surgery is necessary.
  • They may also recommend having a CT scan performed to determine the presence of appendicitis in children. CT scans (also known as CAT scans) use the power of X-rays and computer software to create cross-sectional images of the organs and soft tissues of the body. CT scans can be extremely beneficial in pediatric appendicitis cases in order to rule out other causes of abdominal pain like injury or bleeding.
  • An MRI may be used to help diagnose or evaluate symptoms associated with appendicitis because it is non-invasive, fast, and does not use ionizing radiation.
  • In some cases, an abdominal or chest x-ray may be the initial imaging study. Constipation and sometimes even pneumonia may be causing abdominal pain similar to that seen with appendicitis.

How is Appendicitis Treated?

There are three treatment options for appendicitis in children:

  1. Removal of the appendix with surgery. Small incisions and laparoscopy are usual methods to remove of the appendix. The child will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days and be discharged with antibiotics.
  2. If the appendix is ruptured, surgery is needed immediately. Once the appendix is removed, the child will have to stay in under hospital observation for several days — possibly longer than a week to monitor infection or fever.
  3. Interval appendectomy is treating an appendix infection with antibiotics. As the infection subsides, surgery becomes more an option rather than a necessity.

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Finding and Treating Prostate Cancer Early

A cancer diagnosis is never an easy moment. But if it has to come, it’s better to get the news while the cancer is still small or new. Given recent advances in detecting adult cancers, oncology doctors are able to inform their patients about how to treat and heal after a cancer diagnosis.

When found in the early stages, one of the most treatable cancers currently is prostate cancer. With higher standards of preventative testing and more information readily available, more men are finding out that they have prostate cancer in its early stages. According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men.

But by keeping annual check-ups and having routine prostate exams, men can catch prostate cancer earlier. This means prostate cancer does not have to be fatal. In fact, many men with prostate cancer will not require aggressive treatment. Instead, their doctors may suggest watchful waiting.

Know the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Do you know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer? When prostate cancer is developing, men will sometimes notice:

  • bloody urine,
  • difficulty with or frequency of urination,
  • and sexual dysfunction.

Do not ignore these early symptoms for fear of judgment or embarrassment, as early detection can be the key to a successful treatment plan. You’ll thank yourself later.

Early Detection with PSA Tests, Prostate Exams and Medical Imaging

The best way to detect prostate cancer is to schedule and keep regular check-ups with your primary care physician, perform PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests, as well as have regular prostate exams.

If your doctor finds a prostate problem, your next step may be to schedule an ultrasound imaging exam for further evaluation. Many of us closely associate ultrasounds with pregnant women. However, both men and women can benefit from ultrasound imaging. For men, ultrasounds can determine whether there is a cancer growth around the prostate, whether the prostate gland is enlarged, and can help determine the cause of a man’s infertility.

Because of the location of the prostate, physicians and technicians must insert the transducer wand rectally in order to produce the best images. Because an ultrasound exam creates real-time results, doctors will often use them to guide biopsy wands in preparation for surgery. Although the procedure can be uncomfortable, patients should give primary importance to the information that doctors glean from these exams.

Your doctor may also choose to order an MRI of the prostate, which offers higher resolution images and more precision for detection, biopsy, and future treatment if needed.

Are you concerned about the possibility of prostate cancer or disorder? To access advanced medical imaging equipment and radiological techniques for detecting prostate cancer, come to Doctors Imaging. Our patients always pay less than they would at the hospital. And you won’t have to compromise comfort or service. You can call Doctors Imaging 504.883.8111 or request an appointment online.

Medical Options That Can Help You Quit Smoking


Smoking is one of the worst vices to have. Thankfully, over the past 50 years, research and education about the dangers of smoking have become widespread. Still, knowledge of the danger is only part of the battle. For current smokers, it’s never too late to quit and there are several medical options that can support your efforts to quit.

Nicotine Patches and Gum Can Ease Your Cravings

Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical additive in cigarettes that keeps you coming back for more. In some ways, nicotine is as deadly as the dangerous carcinogens found in cigarettes. Patches and gum provide just enough nicotine to avoid immediately harm you. But be careful: You can actually overdose on nicotine. While using these products, you may still be addicted to nicotine. Nicotine gum has proven effective at stopping people in the beginning of their transition out of smoking cigarettes. In the beginning, you are taking in about the same amount of nicotine. And then you slowly decrease your levels in an effort to wean yourself off the habit of smoking. For many smokers, one of the hardest parts of quitting is losing that oral habit, so chewing gum can be helpful in keeping that bit of routine. However, be careful not to give in to the cravings when you are using nicotine replacement products. The overload of nicotine to your system can have harmful side effects.

Prescriptions Can Assist With Nicotine Withdrawal


Some smokers have found relief from the addiction through nicotine replacement therapy found with certain prescription medicines. The two major brands of anti-smoking medications are Zyban and Chantix. Zyban contains the active ingredient Bupropion and helps to lessen the urge to smoke. Chantix contains Varenicline which helps with nicotine withdrawal. If a user decides to smoke again, the medicine in Chantix blocks the nicotine from cigarettes. These medicines have serious side effects such as nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting as well as headaches, abnormal dreams, and taste disturbance as well as some psychological problems.

Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping Products Are Unproven for Helping You Quit Nicotine


The sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cigs has exploded in the last 3-5 years. The products allow users to enjoy the sensation of smoking without tobacco. Early e-cigarettes were filled with a solution of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings which are superheated to a breathable vapor. Like the patch and gum, the amount of nicotine in the e-cig solution is supposed to decrease your smoking until you don’t have the urge anymore. Electronic cigarettes have come under fire because of the health risks of the chemicals in the solutions. Additionally, some critics say that the product simply acts as a stall before actually quitting.

In September 2019, researchers studied 53 lung disease cases linked to vaping. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine: 91% of the patients had abnormal chest x-rays. Forty-eight of the 53 patients underwent CT imaging, and the CT findings were abnormal 100% of the time. The authors offered this guidance:

“Since no single product or substance has been associated with the illness, persons should consider not using e-cigarettes while this investigation is ongoing, especially those purchased from sources other than authorized retailers (e.g., e-cigarette products with (tetrahydrocannabinol) THC) and those modified in a manner not intended by the manufacturer.”

“Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should consult with their health care provider and use proven treatments. Irrespective of these findings, e-cigarettes should never be used by youths, young adults, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”

On Sept 9, 2019, the FDA warned Juul Labs that it had illegally marketed its vaping products as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes without approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the agency said. In a warning letter to the e-cigarette company, the FDA raised concerns over Juul’s outreach efforts, including testimony that a representative told high school students that Juul was “totally safe,” The New York Times reports. The letter comes amid the public health crisis over e-cigarettes, with more than 400 cases of potentially vaping-related illness reported in the U.S.

Never buy electronic cigarettes and related products from unauthorized sellers because of the risk that vaping ingredients can trigger fatal lung disease in otherwise healthy people.

Find Support From Your Doctor, Peers and Others

If you are interested in using medical smoking cessation products, speak to your doctor about your quitting solutions before you start. Weaning yourself off of any addiction is extremely difficult. That’s why if you are starting this journey, you should definitely find support. Reach out to an online community and start avoiding same activities that you may associate with smoking. The benefits of quitting smoking, no matter when, can be felt immediately. Former smokers report better moods, better digestion, better taste, better sleep patterns and not to mention the long-term health benefits.

The Next Step: Lung Cancer Screenings

By using low-dose CT scans as lung cancer screenings, radiologists are able to determine the presence of lung cancer better than ever before. Because of our technologically advanced low-dose CT technology, our radiologists’ experience, and highly trained staff, patients of Doctors Imaging can be assured that their lung cancer screening is thorough. Doctors Imaging often sees the damage of smoking on the body and encourages you to enjoy the benefits of quitting smoking as soon as possible. We recommend that if you are over 50 and used to or still smoke cigarettes or tobacco, you should consider a lung screening. The earlier lung cancer is detected and treatment has begun, the higher your chances are of survival.

If you would like to schedule a lung cancer screening CT or you have questions about lung cancer in Louisiana or lung cancer symptoms you can call us at 504-883-8111. You can also Book an Appointment online.

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How Radiologic Imaging Can Decrease Health Costs

Medical imaging for diagnosis has been proven to save lives and decrease healthcare costs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT Scans) are essential to the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of lesions, cancer, and many other serious conditions. However, in the past few decades, the United States has experienced increased costs in diagnostic radiology, thus leading some to revisit the value of medical imaging.

Recently, researchers in the field have sought to understand how the general public values information provided via medical imaging. The results from these studies show that the American public agrees that imaging tests are essential for diagnosis despite their cost.

Americans See the “Value of Knowing” More About their Health


In May 2013, Siemens published a study which showed that 92 percent of Americans felt that they need to have up-to-date information regarding their own health was as important as actually having access to a physician.

Other results provided insights into when Americans see the value in medical imaging:

  • Almost nine in ten Americans (87%) agree that ruling out a diagnosis can save money in costly treatments that may not have been needed.
  • Roughly two-thirds (66%) of Americans would even be willing to pay out of their own pocket for tests to diagnose serious illness if there were such a test but it was not covered by their insurance.

Commenting on the survey results, Dr. Gregory Sorensen, the CEO of Siemens Healthcare and a board-certified neuroradiologist said:

“There is simply a rational, financial and emotional value to knowing if you are sick. The survey findings show clearly that Americans want to know exactly where they stand when it comes to their health. As a physician, I know first-hand there is great value in excluding a diagnosis. This is a critical step to ensure that patients avoid unnecessary, expensive medical interventions. Medical imaging and diagnostic technologies were not developed to drive up costs. They were developed to improve health.

“Overall, we found these survey findings to be quite eye-opening. The results show that Americans, on the whole, are much more concerned about paying for medical care (72%) than about access to medical care (28%). At the same time, Americans have great faith in the benefits of medical testing and imaging as a means to a correct diagnosis. As a physician and as an executive responsible for the health insurance of thousands of our employees, I know that effectively used diagnostic tests can help more efficiently manage healthcare expenditures while providing patients with knowledge and peace of mind.”

Overall Utilization of Medical Imaging Is Increasing Amid Improved Access and an Aging Population

On Sept. 4, 2019, the American College of Radiology (ACR) shared a statement about new research that found imaging utilization increasing in the years 2000-2016. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, explored exam counts for MRI, CT scans and other imaging tests from 2000 to 2016 in the United States and Ontario, Canada. The JAMA study was authored by Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, from the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California San Francisco, and her colleagues.

The ACR statement emphasized that the tests typically occur in place of more invasive procedures:

“… despite an aging population and more people receiving care — the rate of growth of medical imaging use has decreased as technology has matured and doctors have become more educated on when to use these lifesaving exams…. Imaging exams are generally safer and cost less than invasive procedures they replace. Scans reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and length of hospital stays. Imaging is directly linked to greater life expectancy and declines in mortality. Americans with greater access to imaging live longer than those with lesser access.”

Doctors Must Overcome Increasing Hurdles When Ordering Exams


Deborah Levine, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Richard Duszak Jr, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, wrote an editorial on the findings from studying tests from 2000 to 2016. Their editorial was also published in JAMA. Dr. Levine and Dr. Duszak note that the increases have been seen during a time when there are increasing barriers to medical imaging, suggesting that doctors see great value in ordering the imaging exams despite the obstacles:

“The increasingly burdensome preapproval steps that some treating physicians need to navigate to order imaging studies are relevant. If physicians did not perceive imaging as necessary or valuable, perhaps they would just stop ordering it. A plausible explanation, then, for increasing use of advanced imaging is that the results of these tests continue to be perceived as improving patient care and outcomes…Knowing that imaging utilization is increasing is an important and necessary step toward the ultimate collective goal of knowing what medical imaging is appropriate. Counting imaging examinations is easier than measuring imaging outcomes, and that is why more work is needed. Studies such as this report by Smith-Bindman et al should serve to inspire and inform imaging researchers as they move their agendas from ‘how much’ to ‘how appropriate’ to ultimately ‘how patient outcomes are improved.”

Doctors Imaging Is Available When You Need to Know

We recognize that your medical imaging is just one part of your health care. And when you visit, we have confidence that you and your doctor are depending on high-quality images to help you take the next step towards your better health. We promise to give you and your doctor the best information possible from your imaging exam. At the same time, we are proud to offer MRIs, CT scans and other testing that is always more affordable than the hospital.

Interested in learning more about the value of medical imaging? Try these resources: