Mount Nittany Health is proud to offer a comprehensive range of radiology and imaging services at a number of convenient locations.
We bring the best in imaging technology to Central Pennsylvania, making it easier and more comfortable for our patients to get the diagnositc imaging they need.
Our expertly trained team of radiology technologists perform bone density scans, mammograms, open MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, X-rays, ultrasound imaging and nuclear imaging, which are read by board-certified radiologists.
To find a radiologist, please click here.
An MRI takes pictures of the body from all angles so that the doctors can look at body parts, organs, and tissues from head to toe.
Instead of X-rays, MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to create detailed images. Some patients may be injected with a special dye for better image contrast for additional information.
MRIs can help physicians diagnose a number of different conditions, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain spinal conditions and diseases
- Hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
- Traumatic injuries
- Musculoskeletal problems affecting tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone marrow
To prepare for an MRI, which takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete, please follow all instructions from your physician, including:
- Remove all metal objects (such as glasses, belts and jewelry).
- Do not wear makeup, which can contain some metal.
- Make sure to advise your physician or MRI technician if you've had any previous surgery, have implants like a pacemaker, have metal splinters in your body, have tattoos, or are pregnant or might be.
- Remain as still as possible during the procedure.
Computerized tomography, also referred to as a CT or CAT scan, differs from an MRI in that this procedure use X-rays instead of magnets to create cross-section images of soft tissue, bone and blood vessels for diagnosing illnesses and injuries or monitoring some treatments. CT scans can be ordered for:
- Cardiac and coronary vessel analysis
- Coronary artery calcification scoring
- Blood clots and enlarged ventricles in the head
- Brain tumors
- Some abnormalities associated with certain mental illnesses
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Pancreatic disease
- Trauma/emergency situations
- Stroke assessment
- Oncology/cancer care
- Pulmonary emboli
- Inner ear ailments
- Spinal injuries and back problems
- Lung cancer
The scan itself is quick and painless, though it is very important to remain still for the best possible images. All jewelry should be removed to avoid interfering with the image. Depending on what is being scanned, a patient may need to wear a gown for the scan.
Some CT scans require fasting and some require a contrast to be taken for the best possible images. Your physician will advise you of any special instructions for your scan.
The Breast Care Center, located at Mount Nittany Health - Park Avenue, Imaging, offers a number of services for women, including annual and diagnostic digital mammograms. Our digital mammography system allows for better contrast and clarity than traditional mammograms.
A mammogram is a specialized X-ray used to find breast tissue abnormalities—like lumps, tissue changes or calcifications—that cannot be detected with a physical exam. In fact, a mammogram can detect a lump as much as three years before it can be felt.
A baseline mammogram should be performed at age 40, and it's important for women to be checked every year after the first exam. Patients with a history of breast cancer in their family should have the test performed earlier under the direction of their primary care physician.
When you call to make your mammogram appointment, please remember:
- If you have prior mammogram films from another facility, please bring them with you or have them mailed to us before your appointment. This is important for comparison to check for any diagnostic changes.
- If you are coming in for your annual mammogram and have had no problems, make certain one full year has passed since your last appointment for maximum insurance coverage.
- When scheduling your appointment, it is important to tell us if you have a personal history of breast cancer, breast implants or a disability of any kind that may require two technologists to assist with your mammogram.
- Please make arrangements for childcare during your appointment. Due to liability issues, we are unable to watch children requiring supervision during your procedure.
After registering, patients are brought to a dressing area to put on a gown before being taken to the exam area. A mammogram will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete several images for examination by a board-certified radiologist and a computer-aided detection system.
Your primary care physician will receive a report within two to three days of the test; if you would like a copy of the full report, please contact your physician's office. You will receive a letter summarizing the findings within two weeks of your exam.
If you have questions about preparing for or scheduling a mammogram, call the Breast Care Center at 814.234.6106.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are used to measure blood flow, oxygen use and glucose metabolism to determine organ and tissue functioning. They can be ordered to detect or monitor certain kinds of cancer, brain disorders and heart disease. Physicians often use PET scans with CT scans to create images revealing abnormal metabolic activity.
PET scans often include a radioactive substance that is injected, inhaled or swallowed. After the substance takes effect (up to an hour later), the patient lies on a table that slides into the scanner, like a closed MRI.
X-rays—traditional basic radiology—obtain images of breaks, fractures, tumors and degenerative conditions. They are also used for pre-op chest imaging or for examining dialysis patients.
Ultrasound imaging involves exposing a part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal organs and blood flow through blood vessels. These images are captured in real-time, showing 3D structure and movement. Most exams are completed within 30 minutes to an hour.
The Breast Care Center, at Park Avenue Imaging, offers ultrasounds and needle localizations as well as ultrasound-guided, stereotactic localization and cyst aspiration ultrasounds.
Nuclear imaging is used to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancers. This procedure creates image of organs using radiopharmaceuticals.
Depending on the type of exam needed, a radiotracer is either injected or swallowed. Detailed images of the function and structure of organs and tissue are produced and read by the radiologist to detect and diagnose disease. The imaging is noninvasive and usually painless.
Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by a decrease in bone density resulting in fragile bones, is a serious but common health concern, especially among post-menopausal women.
A bone density test is recommended for women who are:
- Older than 65 years old.
- Postmenopausal with a fracture or at least one other risk factor besides menopause.
- Considering osteoporosis therapy.
- Undergoing prolonged osteoporosis therapy.
Primary care physicians may also refer men for bone density scans based on factors such as family history and the use of certain drugs that can affect bone mass.
Using a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner, our physicians can precisely determine bone density and thus identify osteoporosis before a fracture occurs, while there is still time to preserve bone density. The test simply involves resting on an exam table for a few minutes while a densitometer measures bone mineral density, which is compared to data from others in a patient's age group.
This painless, extremely safe test takes only minutes and is available with a physician's order. It can be performed, by appointment, at Park Avenue Imaging.
It is important to have follow-up tests done with the same equipment for the most precise comparison, so please schedule follow-up tests accordingly.
Pronounced toh-moh-SIN-thah-sis, tomosynthesis technology is also referred to as 3D mammography because it generates a three-dimensional view of the breast. Similar to how a CT scan (a machine that resembles a giant donut) rotates around the body, digital tomosynthesis uses an X-ray tube to arc around a patient’s breast, taking multiple images from many different angles.
Because the digital tomosynthesis creates a layer-by-layer look of the breast tissue, breast cancer that is “hiding” among non-fatty tissue can be more easily detected. Additionally, it has been proven that patients are less frequently called back to the office for additional testing, meaning fewer procedures and fewer false positives.
From the viewpoint of the radiologist, tomosynthesis produces images of the breast from several different angles, which means that the doctor has the benefit of reviewing more detailed images. This can help lower the need for repeat mammograms.
For those concerned with radiation exposure, it’s important to know that mammograms require very small doses of radiation, and tomosynthesis does take a few seconds longer than traditional mammography. However, nearly all experts agree that the benefits of the screening far outweigh any potential harm due to radiation exposure. Still, women should speak with their healthcare provider for any concerns regarding radiation exposure, especially if the woman is pregnant.
Digital tomosynthesis is now an option for patients at the Mount Nittany Health Breast Care Center. Patients are encouraged to ask their healthcare insurance provider if tomosynthesis is covered by their insurance.
You’ve been told that you need imaging tests to diagnose a problem in your chest or lung. These images (scans) help the doctor locate the problem and determine if it affects other structures. You will likely need more than one imaging test. If a mass has been found, imaging tests can also help determine if it has spread. Common imaging tests are described below.