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MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create high resolution, 3-Dimensional images of your anatomy. MRI does not rely on ionized radiation (like that used in CR, or X-ray), which makes for a safe testing experience. MRI relies on the water molecules in your body vibrating due to radio frequency energy, noise. MRI is a versatile tool that allows your physician to gain a much clearer perspective on your healthcare needs.

During your MRI, we will place the area of concern in the center or our magnet bore. We use an "Open-Bore MRI" The bore is fully open at both ends. While imaging your body, the MRI unit will pass radio waves, much like those used by your favorite radio station, through your body. This process is painless and does no harm to you at all. You may feel some tingling or warmth in the area we are examining but nothing more. MRI units do create a lot of noise while in use, but you will be provided with something to suppress the noise. Most procedures will take less than 30 minutes.

What To Expect Before Your Test

We may need to contact you in the days leading up to your appointment in order to gain some medical history information. This interview is very important to us. It allows us to ensure your safety and to prepare for your test. Please disclose any information regarding your health.

Day of Test

Before entering the examination room, you will be asked to remove any electronic devices, anything made of metal*,  or anything that has a magnetic strip from your person.  Such things may include:

  • Bra
  • Wallet
  • Belt
  • Jewelry
  • Cell Phone
  • Credit Cards
  • Driver's License
  • Dental Work (Partial/Bridge)
  • Hearing Aids


*Rings can stay on as long as the are Gold, Silver, or any other precious metal.

Upon entering the examination room, you will be given ear plugs or headphones and will be positioned on the table. The area we are imaging will be placed in the center of the magnet. It is very important to remain as still as possible throughout the entire length of the exam. MRI is very susceptible to motion artifact. The technologist's will be able to speak to you during the test and will check up on you regularly. Some test will require the use of a contrast agent. Most often, your contrast injection will come towards the end of the test.

What is a CT Scan?

Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT), also known as CT (computerized tomography) is an x-ray technique that uses a special scanner to create cross-sectional images of the body and head. This produces "slices" like the slices in a loaf of bread. Our CT scanner performs spiral slices — the newest and fastest scanning technology available.

CT's can image the internal portion of the organs and separate overlapping structures precisely. Unlike standard X-rays which take a picture of the whole structure being examined, CT has the ability to image that same structure one cross-section or "slice" at a time. This allows the internal body area being examined to be depicted in much greater detail than standard X-rays. CT is also able to provide clear imaging of both soft tissue, such as the brain, as well as dense tissue like bone.

Because a CT scan uses an ultra-thin, low dose X-ray beam, radiation exposure is minimized.

Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologist can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

How will I prepare for my CT Scan?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the exam.

Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the CT image quality and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam.

You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.

Depending on the area of the body being imaged, you may be asked to drink a flavored mixture called contrast that will aid in the evaluation of your stomach and intestines. You may be asked not to eat anything for several hours prior to your exam.

Certain types of studies also require an IV contrast material, which will be administered through a vein (usually in your arm), once you are in the exam room. You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have a known allergy to Iodine or "Contrast Dye", your doctor will prescribe pre-medications to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. If your CT scan is to include IV contrast, you will need to have your blood drawn prior to the CT exam at your doctor's office. This will ensure that your kidneys are functioning properly, enabling them to filter the IV contrast out of your body, this will include a GFR, BUN and Creatinine level.

If your exam requires an IV contrast material to highlight certain parts of your body, you may feel a warm sensation throughout your body and/or a metallic taste in your mouth once the IV is administered.

Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes or kidney disease. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect.

Women should always inform their physician and the CT Technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

What will happen during the exam?

When you enter the exam room, you will be asked to lie on the CT table. The technologist will explain the procedure to you and position you on the scanning table. The table will then move to center on the part of your body being examined. You will be able to see out both ends of the scanner, and you will be able to talk to your technologist via a two-way microphone. The table will move within the scanner during the exam. It is normal to hear whirling or clicking noises while the exam is being done.

While the exam is being done, all you need to do is relax and remain as still as possible. You may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.

Ultrasound produces sound waves that are beamed into the body causing return echoes that are recorded to "visualize" structures beneath the skin. The ability to measure different echoes reflected from a variety of tissues allows a shadow picture to be constructed. The technology is especially accurate at seeing the interface between solid and fluid filled spaces. These are actually the same principles that allow SONAR on boats to see the bottom of the ocean.

How do patients prepare for an ultrasound?

Preparation for ultrasound is minimal. Generally, if internal organs such as the gallbladder are to be examined, patients are requested to avoid eating and drinking with the exception of water for six to eight hours prior to the examination. This is because food causes gallbladder contraction, minimizing the size, which would be visible during the ultrasound.

In preparation for examination of the pelvic  ultrasound, it is recommended that you drink at least four to six glasses of water for approximately one to two hours prior to the examination for the purpose of filling the bladder. The extra fluid in the bladder moves air-filled bowel loops and the organs are more visible during the ultrasound test.

Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships and fishermen. When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces back, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves it is possible to determine how far away the object is and its size, shape, and consistency (whether the object is solid, filled with fluid, or both).

In medicine, ultrasound is used to detect changes in appearance of organs, tissues, and vessels or detect abnormal masses, such as tumors.

How does the procedure work?

In an ultrasound examination, a transducer both sends the sound waves and records the echoing waves. When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it directs small pulses of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off of internal organs, fluids and tissues, the sensitive microphone in the transducer records tiny changes in the sound's pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. One or more frames of the moving pictures are typically captured as still images.

Doppler ultrasound, a special application of ultrasound, measures the direction and speed of blood cells as they move through vessels. The movement of blood cells causes a change in pitch of the reflected sound waves (called the Doppler effect). A computer collects and processes the sounds and creates graphs or color pictures that represent the flow of blood through the blood vessels.

Cardiology is a medical speciality dealing with disorders of the heart.  Oakland Imaging Diagnostic Center offers several studies to evaluate cardiac function.

Stress Test is a test used to measure the heart's ability to respond to external stress in a controlled clinical environment. The stress response is induced by exercise or drug stimulation (ex. Lexiscan, Dobutamine or Persantine). Nuclear stress test compares the coronary circulation while the patient is at rest and also during maximum physical exertion, showing abnormal blood flow to the heart's muscle tissue. A stress test may also use an echocardiogram. This will be performed before and after exercise. Echocardiogram stress test is a non-invasive way to diagnostically assess left ventricular compliance and myocardial viability. Stress Echocardiogram is used to rule out CAD.

Echocardiogram is a sonogram of the heart.  An echocardiogram assess the velocity of blood and cardiac tissue.  An echocardiogram also assess cardiac valves and function, any abnormal communication between the right and left side of the heart, leaking of blood through the valves and calculation of the cardiac output along with the ejection fraction and cardiac dimensions.

Cardiac Event Monitor is a device used to monitor patients with transient cardiac symptoms. ECG event recorders self activate for tachycardia, bradycardia, atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. It can also be patient activated for symptomatic events.

Holter Monitor is a portable device which continually monitors the electrical activity of the heart for 24-48 hours.  A holter records electrical signals from the heart using five electrodes attached to the chest.  The electrodes are attached to a small monitor and is attached to the patients belt.  The data is uploaded into a computer which then automatically analyzes the input counting ECG complexes, calculating summary statistics such as average heart rate, minimum and maximum heart rate.

24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor measures blood pressure at regular intervals, in an effort to determine patients blood pressure throughout the day and night.  A blood pressure monitor can help rule out White Coat Syndrome, which is when blood pressure is elavated during Dr's visits due to nervousness and anxiety.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine uses radioactive substances to image the body and treat disease. It looks at both the physiology (functioning) and the anatomy of the body in establishing diagnosis and treatment.

A nuclear medicine exam is a safe and painless procedure which utilizes radioactive material to detect and diagnose disease. It can often identify abnormalities early in the progression of a disease, a time when a more successful treatment may be possible.

Nuclear medicine imaging techniques give doctors another way to look inside the human body. The techniques combine the use of computers, detectors, and radioactive substances. All of these techniques use different properties of radioactive elements to create an image.

  • Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
  • Cardiovascular imaging
  • Bone scanning
  • Gallbladder and gastric emptying studies

Nuclear medicine imaging is useful for detecting:

  • Irregular or inadequate blood flow to various tissues
  • Blood cell disorders and inadequate functioning of organs, such as thyroid and parathyroid function

The use of any specific test, or combination of tests, depends upon the patients symptoms and the disease being diagnosed.

Diagnostic Radiology — Xray

Diagnotic radiology is the use of various imaging modalities to aid in the diagnosis of disease. Diagnostic radiology can be further divided into multiple sub-specialty areas.

Radiographs are images created with X-rays and used for the evaluation of many bony and soft tissue structures.

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

A mammogram is a x-ray image of the breast used to screen for breast cancer.  Mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection. A mammogram can show changes in the breast before a woman or her health care provider can feel any lumps or see any changes in the breast.

During a mammogram your breast are compressed between two firm surfaces in order to spread out the breast tissue, then a x-ray captures the image on film that is examined by the radiologist.

Preparation: Do not use deodorant, powder or lotions under your arms on your breasts the day of your exam.

A bone density test — also called densitometry or DXA scan — determines whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break.

In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after you broke a bone. By that time, however, your bones could be quite weak. A bone density test makes it possible to know your risk of breaking bones before the fact.

A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. A bone density test is a fairly accurate predictor of your risk of fracture.


Procedure:  You will be asked to lie flat on your back on a slightly padded table. A mechanical arm-like device passes over your body, this device will not touch you. The bone density of your hip and spine will be measured by the device taking an x-ray. The actual scan time is 5-10 minutes. The results from a bone denisty test shows your fracture risk. The bone density test results are reported in two numbers, T-score and Z-score.

Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Oakland Imaging Diagnostic Center Offers several studies to evaluate the nervous system.

EMG (ELECTROMYOGRAM) is the technique for evaluating the electrical activity produced by the muscles and nerves, using needles and electrical stimulation. This test is performed by a doctor. During an EMG small needles are inserted into muscles to measure electrical activity. You will be asked to contract your muscles by moving a small amount during the test. For the nerve conduction study small electrodes will be taped to your skin or placed around your fingers. You will typically experience a mild and brief tingling or shock. An EMG can diagnosis several neurological problems such as a herniated disc, or carpel tunnel syndrome.

EEG (ELECTROENCEPHLOGRAM) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain.  Electrodes are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brains electrical activity on the screen as wavy lines.  Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be seen by the changes in the normal pattern of the brains electrical activity.  An EEG may be performed to diagnosis epilepsy or check for problems with dementia.

Pulmonary function tests are a group of tests that measure how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move gases such as oxygen from the atmosphere into the body's circulation.

How the Test is Performed

In a spirometry test, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and the rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time.

For some of the test measurements, you can breathe normally and quietly. Other tests require forced inhalation or exhalation after a deep breath.

  • You will sit in a sealed, clear box that looks like a telephone booth (body plethysmograph) while breathing in and out into a mouthpiece. Changes in pressure inside the box help determine the lung volume.
  • Lung volume can also be measured when you breathe air through a tube for a certain period of time. The concentration of the gas in a chamber attached to the tube is measured to estimate the lung volume.

To measure diffusion capacity, you breathe a harmless gas for a very short time, often one breath. The concentration of the gas in the air you breathe out is measured. The difference in the amount of gas inhaled and exhaled measures how effectively gas travels from the lungs into the blood.

You will be tested before and after a bronchodilator and so it is important that you do not use your own rescue inhaler 24 hours prior to your test.