Sierra Imaging imaging-exams
The following is to provide you with general information regarding a specific exam we might offer. Click on the exam in question from the menu below and the link will take you to a description of that exam.

Diagnostic X-Ray

Diagnostic x-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. x-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of your body. The images show the parts of your body in different shades of black and white. This is because different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less, and look gray. Air absorbs the least, so lungs look black.

The most familiar use of x-ray is checking for broken bones. X-rays are also used in other ways. For example, chest x-rays can spot pneumonia, and Mammograms use x-rays to look for breast cancer.

When you have an x-ray, you may wear a lead apron to protect certain parts of your body. The amount of radiation you get from an x-ray is minimal. For example, a chest x-ray gives out a radiation dose similar to the amount of radiation you're naturally exposed to from the everyday environment over 10 days.

CT

WHAT IS A CT or CAT SCAN?

CT (computed tomography) or CAT (computed axial tomography) is a highly advanced computerized x-ray machine used to obtain images of the body in the axial plane much like slices of bread. This sophisticated computer emits a thin x-ray beam that will continuously rotate 360 degrees while the exam table moves during your procedure. Our highly skilled technologists can use this technology to painlessly and safely obtain images from inside your body. These images provide crucial information to your doctor that helps him or her make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for you. Occasionally, intravenous and/or oral contrast may be given for various clinical indications to help improve visualization of certain structures.

Sierra Imaging CT Machine

WHAT IS CTA

CTA stands for Computed Tomography Angiography (angiography is the study of blood vessels), and is very similar to a CT scan. However, for a CTA, the technologist will use computer techniques along with an IV contrast injection to visualize desired vessel(s). From the patient's perspective, while on the table during the exam, there is no difference from a CT. Similar to a CT scan, the images will provide important information to your doctor to help him or her in your care.


MRI

WHAT IS MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and utilizes a strong magnet as the basis for visualizing normal and abnormal structures in the body. With sophisticated computer technology, our highly skilled technologists use the magnetic field and radio waves to painlessly and safely obtain images from inside the body.

These images provide crucial information to your doctor that helps him or her make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for you. Occasionally, intravenous contrast may be given under certain indications to help improve visualization of certain structures.

Sierra Imaging Associates MRI

WHAT IS MRA

MRA stands for Magnetic Resonance Angiography (angiography is the study of blood vessels), and is very similar to MRI. However, for an MRA, the technologist will use computer techniques designed specifically to visualize arteries and/or veins. From the patient's perspective while on the table during the exam, there is no difference from an MRI. As with MRI, occasionally contrast may be given. And similar to an MRI, the images will provide important information to your doctor to help him or her in your care.

WHAT TO EXPECT

After registration, you will be brought to a changing room and asked to change into MRI-safe clothing, which we will provide. You will also be asked to remove all loose metal, including jewelry. While a small locker will be provided for your clothing and personal items, it is recommended that you leave valuables at home.

After you have changed into MRI compatible clothing, you will be brought to a small pre-exam room near the MRI room. If intravenous contrast is to be given for your exam, an intravenous line will be placed at this time.

When the technologist is ready for you, a member of our staff will bring you into the room and position you on a special table. Ear plugs can be provided for your comfort, and headphones may be provided at times to help the exam pass more quickly. As the exam begins, the table will be moved into the magnet, and you will hear a series of noises while the magnet is acquiring images. It is not unusual for the table to move slightly for each new set of images. The key to obtaining the clearest images is for you to remain as still as possible for the duration of the exam. The length of the exam depends on the type of study being performed, but generally averages 20 to 30 minutes.  Very few exams exceed 40 minutes.  Our staff will remain in contact with you for the entire length of the exam.