Bone Density Scan (Dexa)

It is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone density. DXA is relatively easy to perform and the amount of radiation exposure is low. At present, DXA scanning focuses on two main areas — the hip and lumbar spine. Although osteoporosis involves the whole body, measurements of BMD at one site can be predictive of fractures at other sites. Scanning generally takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) is the preferred technique for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).

CT scans use rotating X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. The images can be reconstructed to produce three-dimensional images of your bones and tissues. The table slides into the CT scanner through the gantry, a doughnut-like opening. As the X-ray tube rotates around your body, the table slowly moves through the gantry.

Because of the speed in which a CT scan can produce detailed pictures of most areas of the body, it is a preferred imaging method to examine people who have internal injuries from accidents and trauma.

When used with an injected contrast material, CT scans are especially helpful in looking at the internal organs such as the brain, the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, and intestines. This is a painless procedure that should take only a few minutes after preparation.

Harbin Clinic advanced CT scanners, ensure faster examination times, reduced radiation levels, and higher resolution scans which may be more sensitive to disease.

Before your CT Scan
  • Your preparations for a CT scan depend on which part of your body is being scanned.
  • Many CT scans require IV contrast. If you are having such an exam and you are over the age of 70,  and/or are a diabetic you will need to have blood work 48 hours before the day of the exam.
  • If you have an allergy to Iodine, notify Harbin Clinic Imaging. Pre-medication is required 24 hours prior to the procedure.

A DaTscan is an image of the brain created by injecting a small amount of radioactive drug into a person and then taking a scan of the brain to track dopamine activity. This test is helpful in the proper diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremors.

Harbin Clinic is the only imaging center in Northwest Georgia that can perform DaTscans.

A Diagnostic Tool

A DaTscan is not used to diagnose or confirm diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Instead, it’s used to tell the clinician if there is an abnormality in the brain’s dopamine transporter (DaT) or if the patient is suffering from Essential Tremor versus Parkinson’s Disease.

It can also help tell if the patient is suffering from a Parkinsonian Syndrome (such as Multiple System Atrophy or Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). Parkinsonian Syndromes, Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor all have similar symptoms, so a doctor may order DaTscan to help in the diagnostic process.

Before a DaTscan

When getting a DaTscan, first the patient is injected with an imaging agent called Ioflupane I 123. The medicine must make its way through the body for three hours.

Similar to the process of getting an MRI, the patient lies down on a table and a gamma camera scans images of the brain.

The injected medication makes it possible for the gamma camera to capture images of Dopamine Transporters in the brain and shows places where the brain has healthy dopamine density levels. This helps your neurologist make an accurate diagnosis if an initial exam had unclear results.

An epidural steroid injection is a cortisone injection used to treat inflammation around the spine. Cortisone is a type of steroid that is produced naturally by a gland in your body called the adrenal gland. Cortisone is released from the adrenal gland when your body is under stress. Natural cortisone is released into the blood stream and is relatively short-acting.

Epidural steroid injection places this powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly around the spinal nerves. An epidural injections can be administered with or without the aid of imaging to allow your physician to see the needle going to the proper spot.  Epidural steroid injections may be given by Harbin Clinic pain management specialists.

Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient through the use of a fluoroscope. In its simplest form, a fluoroscope consists of an X-ray source and fluorescent screen between which a patient is placed. However, modern fluoroscopes couple the screen to an X-ray image intensifier and CCD video camera allowing the images to be recorded and played on a monitor.

The technique offers continuous imaging of the motion of internal structures and immediate serial images. The most common studies that are performed in fluoroscopy, are barium swallows, upper gastrointestinal series, lower gastrointestinal series, arthrograms.

Yearly mammograms are recommended for all women over the age 40. Mammography is a quick and generally painless test that usually takes less than 20 minutes. Mammograms are performed at our Harbin Clinic Imaging Cartersville office only.

Screening Mammography

This is a test that is used for women that have no signs of breast cancer. The radiologist will compare the films to previous years to see if there are any changes on the current images. If there are changes such as masses or calcifications they will have the patient comes back for a Diagnostic Mammogram.

Diagnostic Mammography

This is used for women that have symptoms of breast disease, a palpable mass or additional imaging. An Ultrasound of the breast may also be performed to determine if a lump is a cyst or a tumor and whether a tumor is more likely to be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

The value of mammography is early detection. Early detection saves lives and, in many cases, also saves the woman’s breast by identifying the cancer at a very early stage when it is most easily treated and is not life threatening. To make an appointment for mammography, you must have an order from your healthcare provider.

MRI (magnetic resonance image) is a very powerful tool used in the field of diagnostic imaging without the use of radiation. MRI utilizes a very strong magnetic field. It is used for imaging muscles, bone joints, organs, and arteries. We currently have three Philips Achieva Shortbore 1.5 Tesla scanners, and one Orhtone 1.0 Tesla extremity scanner. All of our scanners are accredited by the American College of Radiology(ACR).

Before your MRI
  • With most of the exams there is no preparation, however some may require you to withhold meals for at least 4 hours.
  • You may also have an injection of a contrast agent called gadolinium. If the patient is over the age 60, has diabetes, or has had prior kidney disease, lab test will be done 24 hours prior to the exam
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to fill out paperwork.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing with no metal.

Nuclear Medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material that is injected into patient to diagnose and treat certain conditions. It is a way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests.

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of a disease—long before many medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests.   With this radioactive material the radiologist is able to view the organ while it is functioning. This is used to identify issues with heart, gallbladder, thyroid, bones and lymph nodes.


Thallium stress test is a nuclear imaging method that shows how well blood flows into the heart muscle, both at rest and during activity. The test is done to see whether your heart muscle is getting enough blood flow, and therefore enough oxygen, when it is working hard (under stress).

Diagnostic x-rays are useful in detecting abnormalities within the body. A painless, non-invasive way to help diagnose problems such as broken bones, tumors and the presence of foreign bodies.

Ultrasound also called sonography, is a technique used to see tissues and organs inside the body. It uses high-frequency sound waves, which cannot be heard by humans, to produce images of structures inside the body. When sound waves are aimed into the body, some are absorbed by body tissues and others bounce back. The sound waves that bounce back are measured by the ultrasound machine, and are transformed into an image of a particular body area.

Ultrasound produces excellent images of organs that are soft or filled with fluid, but it is less effective for examining air-filled organs or bones. Ultrasound is a safe and painless test that usually takes 15 to 30 minutes.

In the field of obstetrics, an ultrasound (sonogram or sonar) is the use of high-frequency sound waves to visualize the fetus, placenta, and other pelvic structures on a monitor screen. The patient can also view these images during the examination.

The results are very helpful in determining the health of the pregnancy, mother, and baby. Some of the information that can be gathered during an ultrasound are the age of the fetus, rate of growth, fetal position, number of fetuses, and detection of some birth defects. Depending on the progress of the pregnancy, it may be possible to determine the sex of the baby.

This procedure is safe, non-invasive, accurate, and cost-effective. It only takes about 30 minutes to complete. Unfortunately, personal cameras and video cameras are not allowed during the ultrasound. It may be possible to obtain a picture from the office, just ask your sonographer.

We can perform this service in our office. Please discuss scheduling this procedure with your physician.

Visit Harbin Clinic Imaging for more information.

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