Our accomplished technologists and expert radiologists are dedicated to delivering the highest level of care. Our specialized expertise, advanced equipment and team-based approach to care allow us to perform radiology services faster and with greater accuracy. This means your results are more likely to be right the first time and that you and your physicians can chart an appropriate treatment plan sooner with greater confidence positive outcome.
All staff radiographers hold State licenses by the Iowa Department of Public Health and National licenses from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. In addition, many staff members have pursued advanced national licensure in specific modalities including:
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in Mammography
- American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography
- (AB) General Ultrasound
- (RB) Registered Vascular Technologist
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in Computed Tomography
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Imaging Services and Tips for Tests:
For your information and comfort, we have compiled a list of our most common tests performed by Radiology Services so you may better prepare for your appointment:
Your examination will be taken in either an upright manner or with you lying down. Some examinations require the technologist to take several images and you may be re-positioned for additional views.
Tips and Instructions
For fluoroscopy exams, you will be instructed to not eat or drink the night before. We generally schedule exams such as UGI, barium enemas and esophagus studies in the morning for this reason. During the exam, the Radiologist will use “live” X-ray to view your anatomy, and then save the images. You may be asked to drink an oral contrast beverage, depending upon the exam. You will be given complete instructions for your exam at the time of scheduling.
An ultrasound produces images of internal structures, such as organs and blood vessels, that can be viewed on a computer screen in real time. It is used to detect tumors in the body, possible blockages in blood flow, certain heart conditions, to guide needles during biopsy, as well as to detect other conditions, such as swelling and infection.
Tips and Instructions
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
- Remove any jewelry including piercings
- There may be special instructions such as not eating or drinking prior to your exam. Your healthcare provider will give you those instructions when your exam is scheduled
What to expect
The technologist will help position you on the examination table. A gel will be applied to the area being scanned to help a wand to glide easily over the skin. The technologist will then move the wand over the area of interest, while images of the internal structures are viewed on a computer screen.
Ultrasound exams typically last between 20-30 minutes. If a biopsy is performed, it may take a little longer. Ultrasounds are usually painless; however, sometimes discomfort can occur from the pressure being applied to the area. Once the ultrasound is completed, the gel is wiped off and you can return to normal activity.
Photo printout and CD of photos are available for some scans.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses a large, powerful magnet, radio waves and a computer to provide detailed images of various internal structures, such as bones, organs, blood vessels and other soft tissues.
Every effort is made by staff to make our patients as comfortable as possible during their exam. Music of the patient’s choice is provided through headphones using an iPad and music app. If you require special assistance for your exam, please feel free to call us at 641.672.3322 so special arrangements can be made.
Preparing for an MRI
Your healthcare provider will give you a list of instructions to follow for your particular exam type. Contact your healthcare provider or the Mahaska Health Radiology Department if you have any questions.
Clothing and Other Accessories
Depending on the type of scan you are having, you may be asked to change into a gown. In some cases, you may be able to wear your regular clothing, so you’re encouraged to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that do not have any metal fastenings, such as snaps, zippers or hooks.
You cannot enter the MRI unit with any metal or electronic items. Some of these items include:
- Jewelry (including body piercings) and watches
- Hair accessories with metal pieces, such as hairpins and barrettes
- Clothing and undergarments with metal fastenings, belt buckles
- Removable dental work
- Hearing aids
- Credit cards, pens, loose change
You will be asked to complete a safety screening form and answer questions pertaining to your medical history to make sure it is safe for you to enter the MRI suite.
Computed-tomography (CT) scan is a special type of X-ray that provides a more detailed view of organs, blood vessels, bones and soft tissue than regular X-rays. Mahaska Health’s CT scanner uses the lowest possible radiation dose to provide the most detailed scans. In addition, the system is much faster, allowing us to capture images from a larger area in a shorter amount of time; usually only requiring a seven second breath hold.
Preparing for a CT
Your healthcare provider will give you a list of instructions to follow for your particular exam type. If you are having a scan of the abdominal or pelvic area, you might be asked to drink a contrast beverage the night before and 1 to 2 hours prior to the exam. The oral contrast has a vanilla flavor, and most patients do not find it unpleasant.
You may have to arrive before your scan to have blood drawn to check the functioning of your kidneys. Well functioning kidneys are necessary to help filter and excrete the IV contrast that may be used in your exam.
Depending on the type of scan you are having, you may be asked to change into a gown. In some cases, you may be able to wear your regular clothing, so we encourage you to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that have no metal.
A technologist will position you on the examination table. Once in position, you will be moved through a doughnut shaped ring, which is the scanner. Patients can expect the entire CT process to take from 30 to 90 minutes.
Occasionally, patients may experience an allergic reaction to the contrast. Let the technologist know in advance if you have any known allergies to iodine, or if you experience any itching, rash, hives or difficulties with breathing or swallowing during the scan. Also inform the technologist if you have kidney problems, any diabetes medications you are taking, and if you are pregnant or think you may be before any contrast is administered.
After the scan, you can return to your normal activities and routine diet right away.
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast used to detect and evaluate breast changes. At Mahaska Health, we offer advanced digital mammography. Images are immediately displayed so the technologist can determine a good image. These images are then added to a patient’s electronic health record. In addition to viewing the current image, the Radiologist can compare prior images to detect very subtle changes in the breast.
The goal of screening mammography is to detect cancer when it is still too small to be felt externally. Early detection of small breast cancers by mammography greatly improves a woman’s chances for successful treatment.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women start getting an annual mammogram at age 40. The American Cancer Society, US Preventative Services Task Force, American College of Radiology, and Society of Breast Imaging agree that this approach saves the most lives.
Not getting an annual mammogram beginning at age 40, you increase your chance of dying from breast cancer and the likelihood that you will experience more extensive treatment for any cancers found.
What are the risks to a Mammogram?
There are very minimal risks to receiving a mammogram. Radiation exposure is a common concern for most patients. At Mahaska Health, we take this concern very seriously. We recently upgraded our system to reduce radiation exposure by imaging patients with a third lower radiation dose than standard digital mammograms; the lowest dose offered in the state of Iowa.
Our new Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Digital Mammography System provides enhanced image quality, increased comfort for patients and computer assisted diagnosis (CAD). The new system features automated compression that adjusts for each patient and can capture images faster so compression time is reduced.
The benefits of digital mammography far outweigh the risks. Our new system allows patients to get this potentially life-saving exam at a fraction of the radiation exposure as standard digital mammograms.
Need help paying for a Mammogram?
Mahaska Health has funds available to help pay for the cost of a digital mammogram. Applying for the funds is simple because the ultimate goal is to ensure every woman who needs a mammogram gets one as early as possible.
For information about obtaining a free or reduced cost mammogram, contact MHP Radiology at 641.672.3322.
Preparing for a Mammogram
You will be asked to undress above the waist and will be given a cape to cover you. We recommend wearing clothing that is easy to change out of. Do not wear deodorant or talcum powder on the day of the exam. The ingredients in these products can cause artifacts in the images. If you’ve had mammograms taken at other facilities, bring those films and records with you, or request to have them sent from the other facilities. These provide the Radiologist with something to compare the current images.
What to Expect During a Mammogram
The technologist will help position your breast on the platform of the mammography machine. A plastic plate will be lowered to compress and flatten the breast tissue. This helps to separate the breast tissue and hold it immobile while the image is captured.
Mahaska Health upgraded our digital mammography equipment to a new Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Digital Mammography System in 2014. This new system features automated compression that adjusts for each patient and can capture images faster; reducing overall compression time.
The entire procedure only takes about 10 minutes.
A letter indicating the results of your mammogram will be mailed to you within a week of your exam, and the results will be sent to your primary care provider. You and your provider will be notified by phone if any additional tests are required.
Nuclear medicine uses isotopes and relies on the process of radioactive decay in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceuticals are injected through IV or ingested orally. Then, cameras capture and form images from the radiation emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals.
This kind of imaging is useful to look at certain diseases and anatomy such as gallbladders, stress fractures and different cancers. Your doctor may order this in conjunction with CT, MRI or ultrasound exams.
Preparing for your exam
These scans are offered at Mahaska Health every Thursday. We will notify patients on Wednesday of their appointment time and will share any special instructions. If you need to cancel, please call Radiology at 641.672.3322 before 9 pm on Wednesday. This will allow us to cancel the order for the isotope that is prepared the day ahead and prevent a patient billing for this pharmaceutical.
Financial Assistance for Mammogram
Radiology is best accessed by entering through the Main Registration Lobby, entrance #1, located off of C Avenue East under the large teal canopy. As you approach campus, you will see a large purple sign marked Entrance #1.