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Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic radiology imaging services are examinations and procedures performed to assist your physician in your diagnosis and treatment. The following diagnostic radiology services are offered:

Diagnostic Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in X-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through arteries and veins.

Ultrasound is frequently used to evaluate the abdominal organs, the uterus and ovaries in the pelvis, and the unborn child (fetus) in pregnant patients. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate blockages in blood vessels, such as the carotid arteries which supply blood to the brain, and to evaluate the veins in the legs to determine if blood clots are present.

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT/3D) & Breast Ultrasound

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT/3D) mammography and diagnostic ultrasound are offered through the Women's Breast & Imaging Center and Rancho San Antonio Medical Center. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT/3D) mammography provides a high quality series of images for the radiologist to review. The images can be manipulated and/or compressed into High Definition (HD) images, allowing for greater detail. This process allows the radiologist to see subtle changes which may be associated with an early sign of breast cancer.

Breast ultrasound used in conjunction with mammography, or as standalone imaging of the breast, is a valuable tool that is non-invasive.  Breast ultrasound is often used to look closer at an area of concern seen in mammography and is particularly helpful for women with dense breast tissue.

Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA)

A DXA scan is a noninvasive test to determine your bone health and your risk for fracture associated with osteopenia (early stage) and or osteoporosis (later stage). This information will help your physician determine the best treatment regimen.  Once you establish your baseline DXA scan, successive studies are useful for guiding your continual care and treatment. 

Specialty Procedures:

Stereotactic Core Breast Biopsy, Ultrasound Core Breast Biopsy and Preoperative Localizations

Stereotactic and ultrasound core breast biopsies are minimally invasive procedures to obtain tissue from an area seen either by mammography or by ultrasound of the breast.

Stereotactic core breast biopsy - this procedure is performed in either Full Field Digital (FFDM) or in Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. The patient is lying on their abdomen and the breast is gently compressed similar to a mammogram. The imaging is obtained in different angles, to determine the coordinates of where the lesion is located within the breast.  The radiologist will then remove a small portion of the lesion to be sent to pathology for diagnosis.

Ultrasound core breast biopsy - performed under ultrasound guidance and similar to the original ultrasound, the radiologist uses a specialized handheld device to take a small sample of the lesion to send to pathology for diagnosis.

These procedures are performed as outpatient services at the Women's Breast & Imaging Center by a radiologist with a specialty in breast health care and diagnosis.  Patients generally return to normal routines within a day or two.  

Preoperative breast localizations - these are procedures arranged for you by your surgeon. A localization of the breast is generally required for one of two reasons. A sample of tissue needs to be obtained for diagnosis or for a diagnosis requiring additional surgery.  Localizations are performed under ultrasound or mammography guidance. The localization may be performed the morning of surgery (known as a wire localization), or up to several days prior (known as a magnetic seed localization). Localizations assists the surgeon in precise removal of the lesion. Discuss these options with your surgeon.