Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dr. Robert Ledley -- Inventor of the CT Scan

ZPR mourns the passing of Dr. Robert Ledley, the inventor of the first Computed Tomography (CT) scanner that was capable of imaging any part of the body. He passed away on Tuesday, July 24th, at the age of 86.

As a young man, Ledley wanted to study physics. His practical parents told him he could, providing he also became a licensed dentist. His parents wanted to be sure he could make a good living, so Ledley studied physics but also became a dentist. In the late 1950s, he became interested in computers and began focusing on how computers could assist in solving biomedical problems. In 1960, Ledley founded the National Biomedical Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of computing methods among biomedical scientists. By the early 1970s, he began his work on CT scanning.

His first machine was the Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial (ACTA) scanner, which was the first one capable of scanning the entire body. The original prototype of the ACTA scanner is at the Smithsonian Institution, and Ledley was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 and awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Clinton in 1997.

Prior to Dr. Ledley's invention, radiologists had limited resources -- primarily, traditional X-rays. CT scanning provides much higher resolution images than X-rays, as well as being able to produce cross-sectional, 3D images. The invention of the CT scanner has changed how physicians diagnose and treat diseases.

ZPR acknowledges Dr. Ledley's great contribution to our field and is proud to offer the latest in CT technology, including the 256-slice CT-Flash scanner which exposes patients to 75% to 90% less radiation than most other scanners.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ZPR and You: The Patient Portal

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is always looking for new ways to improve service for our patients. One recent, and exceptionally useful, improvement was the launch earlier this year of our Patient Portal. The Patient Portal gives YOU access to your reports and information via your computer. Using the Patient Portal you can:
  • View your exam results
  • See a record of all your procedures and appointments
  • Make payments and view your balance
  • View upcoming appointments
How does it work? You simply sign up on our secure website (your privacy and security are very important to ZPR and we never put your privacy or safety at risk). Three business days after your physician has received your test results, they will be available to you on the Patient Portal. Exam reports are in PDF format, so you can download a copy to your own computer! Patient response has been extremely positive.

The Patient Portal is just one of the ways that ZPR is helping you to have more control of your own health care. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that will cover other "ZPR and You" topics.

Frequently Asked Portal Questions

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Radiology Specialties

In previous blog posts, we've already established that radiologists are highly trained physicians, and we've looked at some of the things that radiologists do. In this week's post, we will look at some radiology specialties.

Radiologists are specialists at diagnosing disease and injury using medical imaging techniques. But there are also many subspecialties of radiology, including:

  • Neuroradiology which focuses on the diagnosis of brain, spinal cord, head, neck, and vascular problems. Some diagnostic tests that neuroradiologists perform include: sinus CT for evaluation of inflammatory disease (sinusitis), neck CT to assess the larynx, lymph nodes and salivary glands, CT and MR angiograms to detect aneurysms, and MRI to evaluate brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, strokes, and neck and back pain.
  • Body Imaging which involves studies of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, including: prostate MRI, cardiac MRI, abdominal CT to identify kidney and ureter stones, lung CT and many more. Ultrasound may be performed to evaluate abdominal or pelvic pain, vascular disorders and for obstetrics.
  • Breast Imaging which uses digital mammography, positron emission mammography, 3D breast tomosynthesis, breast MRI, and breast specific gamma imaging to diagnose and stage breast cancer. Office-based biopsies are also performed, when necessary.
  • Musculoskeletal Imaging, which as the name implies, identifies issues with muscles, bones and joints using MRI and CT. Radiologists who specialize in this field also use MR arthrography to help identify the cause of joint pain, most often in the shoulder.
  • Nuclear Medicine which diagnoses diseases using a radioactive agent -- called a radiopharmaceutical -- along with imaging technology. Nuclear medicine specialists are physicians who have specialized and become board certified in nuclear medicine. Some radiologists also have additional specialized training in nuclear medicine.
Have any questions about radiology specialties? Contact us to ask! We welcome your questions and comments!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What does a radiologist do?

Now that we've established that radiologists are highly trained physicians, it's time to address the question of what radiologists do.  Because they operate more "behind the scenes," patients are sometimes confused about the role of a radiologist.

Q: When I come in for my MRI, the radiologist is the one who is performing the test, right?

A: Wrong! As a general rule, the people who conduct the tests are radiologic technologists. Radiologic technologists have been specially trained to operate the equipment, and they operate under the supervision of radiologists, but radiology techs are not doctors.

Q: Then what is the role of the radiologist?

A: Radiologists diagnose disease and injury using medical imaging technologies -- such as MRIs or CT scans. Just as your regular physician might diagnose your health problem by examining your body, radiologists are specially trained to interpret results of imaging studies and then convey this information to your referring physician. Radiologists also commonly work with referring physicians to help choose the best imaging technique for each patient's specific issue.

Q:  So the radiologist works with my referring doctor?

A: Yes, your radiologist plays an important role in your health by acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician. Besides helping him or her choose the proper imaging exam, your radiologist will also interpret the resulting medical images and use those results to recommend further scans or treatments if necessary.