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Schedule your imaging exams with Pacific Coast Imaging.

Bill Armington, MD
Hugh Sabahi, MD

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we are radiologists

"Skilled physicians; specialists in diagnosis, compassionate patient care, and treatment through cutting-edge technologies in medical imaging."


- American College of Radiology

F.A.Q

What is a radiologist?
What are some common medical imaging techniques used by radiologists?
What do radiologists actually do?
What kind of training and education has a radiologist completed?
Is there any type of certification radiology sites receive?
Can I ask to speak with my radiologist?
Why should I choose to have a radiologist conduct my imaging procedures?
Is there any type of certification radiologists receive?
What is the difference between 3Tesla and 1.5Tesla MRI?
How Does MRI Work?

What is a radiologist?

A radiologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury by using medical imaging techniques.


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What are some common medical imaging techniques used by radiologists?

X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is passed through the body to create a 2-D image of a body part or region. X-ray is especially useful in detecting muscle or bone problems. A mammogram is a common example of X-ray technology.

Computed tomography (CT) uses X-rays and sophisticated computer technology to produce a series of 2-D images and/or to generate a 3-D image of a part of the body. CT scans are widely used for a variety of medical situations, such as detecting cancer, heart disease, and aneurysm.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissue, bones, and other internal body parts. MRI is especially useful in detecting nervous system, joint, heart, and cancer-related diseases.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and computer technology to generate "real-time" images of the body. Ultrasound is often used in obstetric and breast imaging care.


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What do radiologists actually do?

Your radiologist plays an important role in your health by acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician (the doctor who sent you to the radiology department or clinic for testing) by aiding him or her in choosing the proper examination, interpreting the resulting medical images, using test results to recommend further scans or treatments be done when necessary, and directing radiology technologists (personnel who operate the equipment) in properly performing quality exams.

When referring doctors - the doctors who refer patients to the radiology department or clinic for testing - say they have reviewed the radiology scans and reports, what they usually mean is that they have gone over the study with the attending radiologist.

Radiologists also treat diseases by means of radiation (radiation oncology) or minimally invasive, image-guided surgery (interventional radiology), correlate medical image findings with other examinations and tests, and direct radiology technologists (personnel who operate the equipment) in the proper performance of quality exams.


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What kind of training and education has a radiologist completed?

Radiologists graduate from accredited medical schools, pass a licensing examination, and then go on to complete a residency of at least four years of unique postgraduate medical education in such topics as radiation safety/protection, radiation effects on the human body, and interpretation of radiological and medical imaging examinations. Radiologists also often complete a fellowship - one to two additional years of specialized training in a particular subspecialty of radiology, such as breast imaging, neuroradiology, cardiovascular radiology, or nuclear medicine.


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Is there any type of certification radiology sites receive?

Radiologists are usually board-certified by the American Board of Radiology or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology.

Radiology facilities can also be accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR accreditation ensures that the physicians supervising and interpreting your medical imaging meet stringent education and training standards. ACR accreditation also signifies that the imaging equipment is surveyed regularly by medical physicists to ensure that it is functioning properly, and that the technologists administering your tests are certified.


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Can I ask to speak with my radiologist?

Absolutely! Your radiologist is available to you and your referring physician in choosing the proper examination, interpreting the resulting medical images, and in using test results to recommend further examinations or treatments.


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Why should I choose to have a radiologist conduct my imaging procedures?

Radiological procedures are medically prescribed and should only be conducted by appropriately trained and certified physicians under medically necessary circumstances. Radiologists have four to six years of unique, specific, post-medical school training in radiation safety to ensure the optimal performance of radiological procedures and interpretation of medical images. Other medical specialties mandate far less imaging education, ranging from a few days to a maximum of 10 months. Radiologists are also at the forefront of imaging technology, spearheading the development and implementation of CT, MRI, PET, and fusion imaging, as well as minimally invasive procedures.

As a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury by using medical imaging techniques, and after having completed at least 13 years of training, including medical school, licensing, a four-year residency, and often a one- to two-year fellowship of specialized training, your radiologist is THE expert in medical imaging.

To learn more about radiology or for information regarding specific imaging procedures and the safety of radiological imaging, visit www.acr.org/safety or www.radiologyinfo.org.


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Is there any type of certification radiologists receive?

Radiologists are usually board-certified by the American Board of Radiology or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology. In addition, they may receive subspecialty certification through additional training (fellowship) and testing administered by the American Board of Radiology. At Pacific Coast imaging, Dr. Armington is subspecialty trained and certified by the American Board of Radiology in Neuroradiology.


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What is the difference between 3Tesla and 1.5Tesla MRI?

The terms 1.5T and 3T refer to the strength of the magnet in the scanner.
The bottom line is that 3 Tesla magnets have utility in certain areas of imaging and are preferred in these specific areas. In other areas, 1.5 Tesla is a better choice for imaging. At Pacific Coast imaging we have both a 3T and 1.5T scanner, so we are able to choose the appropriate one to perform the right study for each patient.


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How Does MRI Work?

This is a technique where radio waves are used to develop an image of the inside of the body. A strong magnet is also needed to help the radio waves form the images.

The body becomes both a radio receiver and a radio transmitter when inside the magnet.

Normally, the atoms that make up our bodies are spinning and aligned randomly, in every direction, but when a person lays inside the magnet, all the atoms in the body align themselves in one direction along the north - south pole of the magnet.

Radio waves are then sent into the body which are which will "excite" (feed energy into) the atoms, causing them all to shift their direction to another angle. Then the radio waves turned off and when there is no more energy feeding into the atoms, they "relax" and radiate back out the extra energy they had absorbed. This energy they send back out is also a radio wave so that the atoms are now tiny radio transmitters.

These tiny radio waves are then received by an antenna in the magnet and sent to a very sophisticated computer which processes the spatial information received from the different organs where the radio waves are emitted from. The computer “maps” these radio signals in order to be able to form an image that we see on the computer monitor.

A specific radio frequency is used to excite the protons in the water in our bodies (since we are all made of mostly water). And therefore it is basically the images of the water in our tissues that we see.


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