Diagnostic Services

The Outpatient Imaging Center at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital offers: 

Diagnostic Radiography

A general X-ray exam of the body is used to help diagnose a wide variety of conditions. Digital X-ray systems, such as the one we use both at our Medical Center and our Outpatient Imaging Center, require no X-ray film, and images are ready virtually immediately, which helps speed diagnosis so treatment can begin faster.

(CT) Computed Tomography

A CT uses a moving X-ray tube and computers to acquire images, analyze the data and display all parts of the body in sections including 3D images. Some exams require the use of a contrast medium to help visualize certain parts inside the body.

Having a CT Scan? You may be instructed by your physician to be well-hydrated but avoid solid food four to six hours prior to the exam. Also remember:

  • Inform your doctor if you have iodine or shellfish allergies and if you have a history of asthma.
  • Let your physician know if you are pregnant since pregnant women should avoid exposure from X-rays used in CT scans and other medical exams.
  • You may be asked to hold your breath for several seconds and to remain motionless during the short time the image is taken by the scanner.
  • After your trouble-free exam, all normal activities may be resumed unless otherwise noted by your physician.

(MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Instead of X-rays, MRI uses magnetic fields, radio waves and computers to acquire images, analyze the data, and display all parts of the body. We use a state-of-the-art open-bore magnet design, which means more patient headroom, legroom and elbowroom. Most exams are done with the patient’s head outside the open-bore magnet.

Having an MRI? Some things to note:

  • Please bring copies of any previous related X-rays/results with you to the exam. The radiologist may want to review them. (Ex: If you are having a MRI of the knee, please bring any prior X-rays of your knee.)
  • In most cases, you CAN eat and drink prior to the exam. Please call us for detailed instructions.
  • You CAN take any medications you may currently be taking.
  • You CANNOT have the exam if you have any of the following:
    • Cerebral aneurysm clips (magnetic).
    • Certain heart valves.
    • Cochlear implants.
    • Metal filings in the eye.
    • Pacemaker.
  • You will be asked a series of questions concerning your surgical and occupational background. If this history includes metal work (ex: welders, grinders, etc.) or metal implants, please be sure to tell the technologist prior to your exam. Additional preliminary X-rays may need to be taken.
  • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor to prescribe medication prior to the exam since we will not be able to dispense any medication to you. If you do receive medication, please bring someone with you that will be able to drive you home because you will not be able to drive yourself.

What is radiology?

Radiology is the study of images of the human body.

Should I notify the technologist if I am pregnant or think I may be pregnant?

Yes, you should always notify the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

Why do I need to arrive 15 minutes before my actual appointment time?

We want to ensure you have enough time to be registered and complete the required forms.

Who will perform my exam?

All exams are performed by highly trained certified technologists. Some procedures are performed by a board-certified radiologist.

What should I do after the exam?

With oral contrast or IV contrast, you should drink plenty of fluids after the procedure.

Will I need to return for additional images?

It is not uncommon for the radiologist to request additional imaging to obtain more detailed information of a specific area.

Why do I need IV contrast?

IV contrast helps radiologists see certain body parts such as veins and arteries that help them identify and characterize certain diseases.

Will I be allergic to the contrast?

A small percentage of patients will have an allergic reaction to iodinated contrast. You should alert your doctor if you have had any reaction in the past, and you may be given medication to prevent a repeat reaction.

What is the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?

A CT scan uses X-rays to generate images while an MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

How long does a CT scan take?

The length of time varies with the type of study. Some can be performed in less than five minutes; others may take up to 30 minutes or longer.

Does MRI use X-rays?

No. MRI images are created through a combination of radio waves, a powerful electromagnet and an advanced computer system to coordinate and compile data.

Is MRI safe?

MRI is a completely noninvasive, painless procedure and has been demonstrated to be safe, but you must remain still for the 45- to 60-minute exam.

What if I am claustrophobic?

Mild sedatives, earplugs, eye covers and earphones with music are offered to help relieve your anxiety.

How long does an MRI take?

MRI exams take between 45 to 60 minutes to complete.

Can a friend come into the MRI room with me?

Yes. One person may accompany you in the magnet room after they have been properly screened for metal.

When should I schedule my mammogram?

Schedule your mammogram after you obtain a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor should perform a clinical breast examination, and you should discuss any problems you may have with your breasts. Usually the best time for your mammogram is one week after your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less tender.

Why do I need to bring my prior films?

If you have had prior studies, it is in your best interest to bring any films as well as any reports with you. In some cases, it may prevent the need for you to return for additional imaging if the radiologist has prior studies to compare your results with.

What do I need to do to prepare for my mammography?

On the day of your examination:

  • Remember to bring your prescription, health insurance card and photo ID with you.
  • Do not wear any deodorant, creams, lotions or powders.
  • Inform the technologist if there may be a chance you could be pregnant.

What should I expect during my mammography?

The technologist will ask you to remove any jewelry and clothing from the waist up and will give you a gown with the opening to the front. The technologist will help guide and position your breasts on the platform of the machine. A compression paddle will compress your breasts to evenly spread out breast thickness so that small abnormalities will not be obscured. You will be asked to change positions in between images. This is repeated for each breast.

What will I experience during the mammography exam?

The examination takes approximately a half an hour. Some women with sensitive breasts may feel minor discomfort. During the examination, you will feel pressure on the breasts as they are compressed. The technologist should be informed if any pain is significant as compression is increased during the examination. The technologist will use less compression if necessary.

When will my doctor get the report?

The studies are processed, interpreted by a radiologist and communicated to your physician within 24 hours of the exam.

How will I receive the results of my exam?

Our radiologists are board certified by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and will interpret your study. You will receive the results of your exam by mail within a few days. Your referring physician will receive the actual report. Any suspicious findings are faxed to your referring physician immediately, and you will be notified by mail.