The Importance of Low-Dose CTs as Lung Cancer Screenings

Survival rates are 5x higher when lung cancer is detected early.

Lung cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the United States and throughout much of the world. Because of the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the subsequent secondhand smoke, more people than ever before are being diagnosed with lung tumors and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 alone, as many as 153,718 people died from lung cancer.

Every year over 218,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer and have to begin treatment. What can be done to combat these overwhelming statistics?

To begin, education about the seriousness and detrimental effect that smoking has on the body must continue. Several anti-tobacco coalitions have been successful in their efforts of creating shock and disgust at the consequences of smoking like this commercial or this video. Children need to be shown these horrifying effects early in their education and the other harmful symptoms can results due to smoking: premature aging, fertility problems, tooth decay, mouth cancer, mood imbalances, and many other side effects. If children are given the truth, a truth they can see and touch, they will probably be less inclined to try smoking as teenagers or adults.

But it isn’t just children that need to learn the dangers of lung cancer. Parents, teachers and other role models need to set an example that smoking is a serious and harmful habit that only leads to sickness, disease, and ultimately death. In addition to practicing what they preach in their own life, adults can do their part to protect their children and friends by supporting legislation that seeks to eradicate workplace smoking in places like bars, music venues, and casinos. The employees that work in these areas are only trying to make a living for their family and yet they are exposed to massive amounts of secondhand smoke every day. So many stories already exist of service industry workers contracting lung cancer even though they themselves have never smoked a cigarette in their life. It should be stopped for their protection.

This life-changing diagnosis of lung cancer can be prevented or at the very least hindered. Come to Doctors Imaging to have a low-dose lung cancer screening test performed. By having a low-dose CT scan performed, you can reduce the amount of radiation you’ll be exposed to as well as getting a clear picture of the condition of your lungs.

You may qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test if you meet the following conditions:

  • Adults without symptoms aged 55 to 80 years
  • You have a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Having this procedure performed will help to give you, your doctors and your family better understanding of your medical condition and what the next steps should be in getting you healthy. The best part about this procedure is that it is only $99 at Doctors Imaging in Metairie as opposed to the $150-$200 price tag at hospitals.

Why is this procedure so important? By having a screening test done early — before symptoms begin — doctors can determine if there are treatments available to save a life. By having this procedure performed, the risk of death due to lung cancer can drop by almost 20%. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for staying healthy and with your family for longer, so consider Doctors Imaging for your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test.

Request your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test today using our appointment form or by calling 504-883-8111.

Too many Americans are overpaying for medical imaging services

Did you know that the cost of a colonoscopy can vary by greatly across different facilities in the same city and cost hundreds if not thousands more than a CT Colonoscopy?

Are you one of the 15 million Americans who undergo this routine procedure each year?

A 2015 study by the International Federation of Health Plans revealed that many patients across the country are vastly overpaying for their medical imaging services at hospitals, even when a much less expensive option is available. At Doctors Imaging, we are dedicated to spreading awareness about low-cost imaging services. We believe the patient comes first, and as a result, our top priority will always be providing high-quality services at the lowest prices available.

Many patients receive excessively priced medical imaging services every day, often at facilities that lack caring, thoughtful staff members. Doctors Imaging is determined to put an end to this trend. Every day we work to provide our patients with the absolute best service at prices that can’t be beaten.

Do not stand idly by while your friends and family are paying too much for their procedures at a hospital. You have already chosen to save with Doctors Imaging, now let them know how they can too, including the choice to have a CT Colonoscopy rather than a more invasive and overly expensive traditional colonoscopy. Join us in our mission to stop patients from overpaying for medical imaging.

For a sample list of our services and our prices for patients choosing to pay cash, see our Cash Pay Pricing sheet or call us for a quote for your upcoming exam at 504-883-8111.

What is a CT Scan?

CT ScanHere at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we find that first time patients to our facility have a lot of general questions they might be prepared to ask. That is what our FAQ section and blog is for: to help our patients get more information so that they feel more comfortable when coming in for their procedures. One of the most common of the questions: what is a CT scan anyways? Well, let’s find out.

What Does CT Stand For?

CT stands for “computed tomography.” Let’s begin our lesson about CT scans by breaking down the name of the procedure. Tomography comes from the Greek word tomos meaning “slice.” Tomography refers to any form of imaging displaying a cross section through the body or object using either X-ray or other technologies. Computed tomography is combining the X-ray features with computer technology in order to create the highly detailed images or slices that physicians use to diagnose and treat patients.

How Do CT Scans Work?

CT scans are extremely beneficial because they allow medical professionals to see into the interior of the body without making incisions. This technology was not available 40 years ago which lead to a lot of invasive, exploratory procedures that may or may not have yielded conclusive results.

As we stated earlier, CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software in order to create medical images. If you have never a CT scanner before, it looks like a large circular chamber with a bed inside in which patients lay down and are then slowly placed inside the circular chamber or “gantry.” The interior of the chamber is equipped with video and microphone so CT technicians and doctors can still hear and see you.

CT scans do not take too much time, at most 30-45 minutes. It is very important for patients to remain as still as possible in order to produce the clearest images. Inside the CT’s opening, on one side there is a X-ray tube that emits X-rays and on the other side of the circle is a large detector. As the machine makes a entire rotation,  X-rays move through the body and are caught by the detector. The detector captures the X-rays as one “slice” or angle and transfers them to computer software that translates the image.

What are CT scans used for?

What a CT scan searching for in the body is dependent on what the patient needs. Doctors use CTs for a number of reasons: broken bones, cardiovascular problems, blood clots, bleeding, cancer detection and much more. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our Siemens CT machine can take up 64 slices of an area of the body ensuring thorough examination for patients and accurate diagnosis for doctors.

If you have more questions about what a CT scan is, what to do to prepare for your CT or what to expect, you can visit our CT Services Page. If you would like to schedule a CT appointment you can do so through our Request an Appointment page or you can call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8:00am until 5:00pm.

Do Your Research to Save on the Cost of CT Scans

You probably heard this phrase a time or two from your parents when deciding on a college, picking out a new car, or negotiating a job opportunity, “Shop around for so you can get the best deal.” While your parent’s advice probably proved right more times than you can count, it still applies in the adult world. A recently published article from NPR shows us that shopping around, even for medical imaging, can help you save money and find a better facility.

Under normal circumstances, your parents wouldn’t be too concerned with finding the lowest price when it comes to a medical procedure, they want you to have the best care that will keep you healthy, regardless of the cost. However, because medical imaging isn’t invasive there is more room to find a budget-friendly alternative than a hospital.

The cost of CT scans can be different depending on the facility that you have them performed at but for many patients, searching through different independent medical imaging centers can save as much as $100-$200. That may not seem like much but it is when you are dealing with a host of other medical bills, anywhere that you can save is appreciated.

When you come to Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we can guarantee that most of our patients have paid less at our facility than they would have at a hospital in the area. And for those concerned, just because the price is lower does not mean that any decrease in the quality of care. At Doctors Imaging, we offer a 15 minute consultation session with patients before they undergo any imaging procedures. We are committed to making all visitors to Doctors Imaging feel as comfortable as possible. We do this for two reasons: to make sure that we can capture the most useful images for physicians and so that patients can have a pleasant experience at our offices.

We accept most every insurance plan and take all major credit cards. We are even open to setting up a payment plan for patients that need to space out their payments. We are here to make our patient’s lives easier and we will continue to do so with affordable pricing and special attention to quality customer care. That means value.

So if you are worried about the cost of CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays or PET-CT scans, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie and let us see if we can match a better price. Call us today at 504-883-8111.

Which is Better: CT or PET Scans for Cancer?

One of the more interesting elements of working in the medical field is that as technology and research advances, what we once believed to be the best method may not be. Where people once thought that butter was good for burns and that smoking wasn’t harmful, we now know better. The world of medical imaging is similar. As the technology advances, more studies are done for different diseases, and we are quickly learning that some of the standard ways of thinking might be subject to change.

Just recently, a new article was published in the Oncology Journal by Cancer Network showed that in one recent study where CTs were the premier choice for finding cancer and determining the degree of disease. CTs or computed tomography, uses computer technology and x-ray in order to create cross-sectional images that physicians glean information. CTs are beneficial when searching for cancer because CTs create cross-sectional images, allowing doctors to see deep into the body through organs, bones, vessels and other blockages. By making cross-sectional images, CTs can examine one section of the organ or area from a multitude of angles. For cancer in the beginning stages, it can very difficult to determine where it is located exactly and where in the body a biopsy needs to be performed.

That is why testing our old ways of thinking is so crucial in this field of medicine. This most recent article found that PET scans for cancer are more beneficial at finding and determining the extent of follicular lymphoma, a form of cancer in which cells a circular pattern in the lymph nodes. There are so many kinds of follicular lymphoma that classifying one in a patient can be difficult even for oncologists. 1 out 5 of every kind of lymphatic cancer is follicular lymphoma making it a common form of cancer and thus all the more important to have the best kind of procedure to go about diagnosing the disease.

PET scans can be used for determining a number of conditions. Most often PET scans for cancer, some cardiovascular problems and a few brain disorders. According to this recent study, PET-CT scans are more proficient at finding follicular lymphoma than contrast-enhanced CT. Contrast material is commonly used in CT scans as a ways for doctors to determine areas of increased or decreased blood flow and to increase the visibility of body tissue or blood vessels. Sometimes contrast material is administered orally to outline the digestive tract and sometimes and intravenous injection is needed to see if body organs are behaving abnormally and/or  possible tumors are present. In PET-CT scans for cancer or heart and brain health, a small dosages of radioactive drug is used to show the differences between healthy and diseased tissue. The radioactive material requires about 30-90 minutes to travel through the body in order to show up on the scan. Do not be alarmed by the use of the word “radioactive.” We use this term to mean that it will react to the PET-CT scan and provides a higher level of contrast which is particularly beneficial when trying to spot difficult to find cancer cells. When it comes to cancer cells, you want to be more than thorough, you want to be exact.

Understanding CT Scans and Their Remarkable Images

CT scans have been a tool for diagnostic medicine for several decades. As medical technology and research become more advanced, this tool has been found in places other than hospitals, places like laboratories and history books. By using the power of CT machines, numerous educational institutions are able to use CT technology to decipher and explain the mysteries of the past.

CT scans, or computed tomography, use computer technology along with X-ray capabilities to photograph the internal organs. CT imaging produces cross-sectional images of the organs, so that doctors do not just see a flat picture, they see splices of the examined area. With CT scans, doctors can see through, into and around different body parts without the impediment of things like bones and muscles. This allows for a high level of detail and accuracy when looking at a patient’s body and finding the cause of disease.

Understanding CT scans is a key skill for historians that specialize in the discovering that which has been dead and buried for centuries. For many archeologists and scholars, CTs can provide answers that no other method of academia can. They can even act as a forensic tool in solving centuries old mysteries. The most recent example of this is British scholars finding the skeleton of King Richard III, a man who died over 500 years ago. While the stories and portrayal of King Richard III may be varied and less than perfect, what cannot be denied is how he died, thanks to understanding CT scans.

For many centuries, the skeleton of King Richard III was misplaced, a highly unusual fact for a person of royalty. In 2012, a group of scholars matched a map of the Battle of Bosworth Field and found what they believed to be the King’s skeleton underneath a mediocre parking lot in central London. However amazing their discovery might have been, without concrete, forensic evidence, there would be no way to prove that this was the skeleton of a former English ruler.

Different accounts of Richard III remark at his physical appearance, most notably, a hunchback. The unearthed skeleton contained a spine curvature combined with his location, those who found him were positive that it was the former king. Historians were able to test the DNA of surviving relatives to Richard III find out more about his appearance and answer the question as to how he died. By understanding CT scans and examining the skull, they were able to determine 2 specific blows to the head as well as an additional 11 other harmful injuries on the body that likely contributed to his death. They were able to discover these facts about a 500 year old skeleton thanks to the high imaging features of CT scans. Imagine what they can see in you!

CTs work to take “slices” of the body’s interior, meaning that if there is a spot or area to be examined, the machine takes several images of the same part but from multiple angles, ensuring that nothing is missed.  They are able to uncover what cannot be seen by the naked eye. And for patients that need CTs, they are the best way to get critical medical information without making any incisions. Because of the low dosage of radiation used in CTs, children and senior citizens can experience the benefits and advantages that CTs offer. This technology helps so many doctors and their patients, as well as scholars and their students, find answers and help maintain a high quality of life.

If you have other questions about what CTs can see and do, check out the CT Scan Service Page on Doctors Imaging website or you can call 504-883-8111 and speak to a representative.

How PET-CT Scans help Diagnosing, Staging & Treatment for Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a disease that affects 1 million people and estimated reports claim that as many as 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed per year. The disease has gained more notoriety and support since celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali have revealed their conditions to the public. Thanks in part to their courageous choice to live in the spotlight with their disease, there more hope for finding a cure and counseling those diagnosed each year.

Neurodegenerative diseases are both emotionally and physically taxing. Whether it is Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Huntington’s, these kind of diseases can be hereditary and can present in different ways. For some there is a type of foreknowledge if a parent or family member had the same disease but for many, these kind of diseases come as a shock. After the initial diagnosis, most often people want to know how advanced their disease is. There are several tests that doctors will perform to determine a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

To begin, questions are posed to the patient in regards to their daily life and movements. Has there been increased difficulty performing any of these tasks? Pain performing these tasks? Forgetfulness or lethargy where there was once more energy? After that, the doctor will perform a physical test looking to see the presence of tremors, face slanting, stiffness in the neck and limbs, and balance irregularities. Other tests to test motor functionality are done to see how a patient moves and the time it takes them to perform certain tasks to see if there is a slowing or difficulty.

One method of diagnosis that has been particularly important in studying these diseases and their symptoms is medical imaging. After these preliminary tests are conclusive for Parkinson’s, doctors may prescribe a PET-CT scan to patient. PET scans or positron emission tomography, is a way of imaging the brain that makes deciphering between diseased and healthy tissue the easiest.

Like a traditional CT scan, doctors administer a radioactive drug into the bloodstream that reacts when coming into contact with diseased tissue. The brain is an organ, made up of tissue and billions of nerve cells. Diseases like Parkinson’s cause degeneration in dopamine neurons located in the midbrain. By injecting the radioactive drug 18-fluorodopa into the bloodstream, the PET machine measures the presence of these neurons as highlighted by the drug. It may be worrying to see the word “radioactive” but the drug is an extremely low dose and the procedure only takes 30-45 minutes at most. It is a non-invasive and helps doctors to determine progression of diseases and recommend further treatment.

If you have more questions about Parkinson’s and PET-CT scans, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging office in Metairie at 504-883-8111 or by filling out this online form.

What do CT Results Look Like? What is my Doctor Looking For?

CT scans are a commonly performed medical imaging procedure because they generate incredibly useful information while providing just a low level of discomfort for the patient. CT, or computed tomography scans, are helpful due to their use of a combination of X-ray and computer technology to create the images that doctors and patients will examine together to find the best treatment options.

When doctors ask patients to undergo a CT scan, there could be a number of reasons why. CT scans are primarily used for looking at the different tissues of the body such as: lung, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels. Doctors will also order these scans when they need to examine the chest or body prior to surgery or after an injury. Other reasons to have this procedure would be for the diagnosing of cancer, skeletal malformations and vascular dysfunction.

Once you have had your CT scan performed, the results will be prepared for patient and doctor review. CT technology creates cross-sectional images of the internal structures meaning that the images will be layers or splices of the same location. To the unfamiliar patient, all of the images may look similar or unrecognizable. Doctors will walk the patient through the results and answer any questions they may have.

By having several layers of images of the same structure, doctors are able to observe the structure from different angles. This kind of imaging assists doctors by allowing them to see the size, shape, depth, location and degree of growth of the examined area. This will help doctors in their diagnosing capabilities and finding the best treatment options for the patient. The most up-to-date and thorough information is best for keeping you healthy and informed. Speak to your doctor today if you would like to schedule an appointment for a CT scan or if have further questions or concerns.

If you require a CT Scan in the Greater New Orleans or Metairie area, contact us at Doctors Imaging. We’re Radiologists concerned about patient care. You can either schedule your appointment via online form, or give us a call at 504-883-8111.

How Do CT Machines Create Images?

If you are considering having a CT procedure performed, you are likely wondering how this machine can create the images that your radiologist will review. Medical imaging is a field of medicine that is continuously changing and making better innovations and discoveries. But for the patient, trying to understand these innovations and technologies can be difficult. The key to having the best medical experience for both doctor and patient is gaining information and finding treatment. When the patient understands fully the procedures that they will be undergoing, they will have less anxiety and allow for the doctor to perform his duty to the best of their ability.

A CT scan, or computed tomography, is a medical imaging procedure that uses computer technology in combination with X-ray capabilities in order to create images. A CT machine looks like a large donut with a portal through the middle. When you have this procedure performed, you will lie on the exam table on your back and be slowly moved through the portal. From this point, you may hear a whirring sound and see the machine spinning around you. This is because CT machines are now formatted with a helical or spiral mechanism that creates the cross-sectional images your radiologist will view. CT machines use thin beams of radiation to view the internal structures which are absorbed on the other side of the portal. The information gained is then submitted into a computer that calculates the images into sections or layers. That way doctors can see throughout an organ or cavity instead of just on top of it.

For some CT scans, your doctor may recommend using contrast material. Contrast material is common in CT scans and allows for certain structures or masses to become clearer in images. Contrast material can be administered through an IV or by mouth. If you have kidney problems, let your doctor know because contrast material can occasionally affect the kidneys in some patients.  If you have radiation concerns, know that most of the newer CT scanners are of the helical fashion and use significantly less radiation than traditional scanners.

These machines are extremely important to physicians for the diagnosis of diseases and determining treatment options. If you have other concerns or questions, speak to your physician or radiologist about your options with medical imaging procedures.

Looking for a CT Scan in the New Orleans or Metairie, LA area? Schedule your appointment with Doctors Imaging by calling 504-883-8111 or using our online appointment form.

What Should I Expect as a Patient 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 that have never had this particular imaging procedure performed, a little preview might be helpful in order to calm fears or concerns.

What is a low-dose CT scan?

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 with respect to 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 need be, 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. Some patients mention an itching or cooling sensation near the injection site or a slightly metallic taste, but it is still relatively safe and painless.
  3. As you are moved through the machine, your technician will be able to see, hear and speak to you.

The images and report are made after the procedure is performed, and you and your personal doctor can review the results  together to determine your treatment options.

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 screening, 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 504-833-8111.