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An ultrasound is an imaging technique which uses high energy sound waves that bounce off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echo patterns are shown on a screen of an ultrasound machine forming a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. This procedure is done without x-rays and is generally well tolerated.
An abdominal ultrasound scan is done over your abdomen and pelvis and requires a full bladder for the scan to be performed.
A transvaginal ultrasound does not require a full bladder as the scan probe is placed inside the vagina which allows sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. This type of scan is used to help examine the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. Your doctor may order this type of scan to assess the cause of problems associated with abnormal vaginal bleeding (allows a better assessment and more accurate measurement of the lining of the uterus) and patients experiencing pelvic pain (can look for masses or other conditions that may be affecting these organs).
Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to obtain cross-sectional pictures of the body. The CT computer displays these pictures as detailed images of organs, bones, and other tissues. This procedure is also called CT scanning, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography (CAT).
A spiral (or helical) CT scan is a new kind of CT. During a spiral CT, the x-ray machine rotates continuously around the body, following a spiral path to make cross-sectional pictures of the body.
Benefits of spiral CT include:
A CT scan can show cancer in the uterus, lymph nodes, lungs, or elsewhere. It can also detect abdominal fluid or ascites if present.
When there is an abnormal growth in any part of the body and a doctor needs a sample of the tissue to determine the cause of the abnormal growth, a radiologist uses a fine needle to obtain the sample. The radiologist may use the detailed images produced by an Ultrasound or Computed Tomography (CT) scan for guidance.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is one of the newest imaging technologies and allows molecular or metabolic imaging. Most often, it is used in cancer to evaluate for spread or recurrence of disease and ensure that the most appropriate form of treatment is selected. A PET scan may be combined with computed tomography (CT) and even magnetic resonance (MRI) to provide an anatomical and functional view of the disease. By exploiting unique features of cancer such as elevated sugar metabolism, doctors can better differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells, even when the cancer is too small to detect by conventional imaging.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays). Detailed MRI images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body (such as the brain and spine) and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).
The MRI examination poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed. Although the strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam. There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected. Such reactions usually are mild and easily controlled by medication.
For more information regarding the Gynecologic Oncology Program, please call 714-734-6225.
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