A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and dictate his or her findings. Nemaha County Hospital transcription will then send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you.

Radiology Associates, PC of Lincoln, Nebraska provides the radiologist services for Nemaha County Hospital. Please visit their website to learn more.

Services Provided through the Diagnostic Imaging Department

X-ray

An x-ray (radiograph) is a relatively painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. When x-rays penetrate the body, they are absorbed in varying amounts by different tissues.

For example, ribs are dense and will block much of the radiation and will appear white or light gray on the image. Soft tissue such as the lungs will appear darker because more radiation can pass through it to expose the film. Nemaha County Hospital uses digital radiography and images are viewed via computer monitors. Exams can also be transferred onto a CD for easy patient transport.

Computed Tomography (CT)

CT scanning - sometimes called CAT scanning - is a noninvasive, relatively painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT imaging uses special x-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed.

CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity than conventional x-ray exams. There are two commonly used contrast media in CT. One commonly used contrast to opacity the GI tract (stomach, small bowel, colon) is barium sulfate. This is usually taken orally, but can be administered, in some cases, rectally. The volume of CT barium sulfate to be administered will depend on the degree and the extent of contrast required in the area under examination.

The Imaging Department will inform you of the amount and the time to drink your contrast when the contrast is obtained from Nemaha County Hospital. Another contrast medium that contains iodine is often injected into the blood intravenously (IV) during the scan. This contrast makes blood vessels and other structures or organs more visible on the CT images. It may also be used to evaluate blood flow, detect tumors, and locate areas of inflammation. Intravenous contrast material is often used to obtain images of the brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis; an oral contrast material is commonly given for an abdominal and/or pelvis CT scan.

Click here for more information on IV contrast used at Nemaha County Hospital. Before the administration of IV contrast the technologist will ask the patient if they have any medicine or iodine allergies. A patient who has allergies is at higher risk of allergic reaction with the administration of IV contrast. If the patient is over 60 years of age and having a CT exam with IV contrast, we require lab test to evaluate kidney function within the last 30 days. Poor kidney function could cause potential problems in the elimination of the IV contrast from the patient's body. In some instances when kidney function is lower than normal, normal saline will be administered through the IV before and after the scan to increase hydration. At the time your physician's office schedules the appointment, they should inform you if you need lab work.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)**

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, usually painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays). Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body 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 magnetic field used in MRI will pull on certain metal objects implanted into the body. The technologist will ask whether you have a pacemaker, brain aneurysm clips, artificial limbs or any metal screws or plates. A patient with a pacemaker cannot have an MRI. In most cases, metal used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during an MRI. You will also be asked if you have ever had a bullet or shrapnel in your body or ever worked with metal. If there is a possibility of metal shrapnel in the eyes, you will be asked to an x-ray prior to the MRI. Clothing should be free of metal. Watches and hearing aids must be removed. You may also be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, removable dental work, glasses, body piercings or any other metal in the region of the body being scanned.

Contrast called gadolinium may be injected by a small needle into a vein in the patient's arm during certain exams. The contrast will enhance abnormal tissue in the body, such as scar tissue in the spine after surgery, or tumors. The contrast is different than that used with CT scans. The risk of an allergic reaction and kidney damage is very low. The amount of contrast injected is determined by the patient's weight. If the patient is over 60 years of age and having a MRI exam with IV Gadolinium contrast, we require lab test to evaluate kidney function within the last 30 days. If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative.

Ultrasound**

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do use ionizing radiation (x-ray). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

Other preparation depends on the type of examination you will have. For some scans your doctor may instruct you not to eat or drink for as many as 12 hours before your appointment. For others you may be asked to drink up to six glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.

Mammography

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women and men. Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.

Recommendations for your mammography appointment:

  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
  • Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
  • If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam. Results of your mammogram can be obtained by contacting your ordering physician's office. Also, a letter containing the results will be sent to the address listed upon check-in.

Nuclear Medicine**

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat disease and other abnormalities within the body.

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer.

Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, the radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed by mouth or inhaled as a gas and eventually collects in the area of your body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form or gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera. This device works together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts.

PET/CT**

PET scan uses a camera along with radioactive tracers injected intravenously (IV) to obtain images of the human body's function and reveal information of health and disease. The scanner records signals that the tracer emits as it journeys through the body and is collected by targeted organs. A computer then interprets the signals into actual images, which then show biological maps of normal organ function and failure of an organ system. For more information on PET/CT scans, please contact Nemaha County Hospital. 

Bone Densitometry (DEXA)

Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DEXA is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).

DEXA is most often performed on the lower spine and hips. DEXA bone densitometry is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

DEXA is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss.

The DEXA test can also assess an individual's risk for developing fractures.

Vascular Imaging**

Doppler ultrasound is a special technique used to examine blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck. A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of a vascular ultrasound examination. Doppler images can help to determine blockages of blood flow (such as a blood clot) and build up of plaque inside a blood vessel.

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Preparing for your Procedure

CT Scan

If IV contrast is to be administered, a BUN and Creatinine lab drawn within 30 days may be required. For further information, contact Nemaha County Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Department.

CT Head/Brain No Prep
CT Soft Tissue Neck No Prep
CT Chest No Prep
CT Abdomen
w/ contrast
NPO 8 hours prior. Drink 1 bottle of oral contrast 1 hour prior to exam.
CT Abd/Pelvis
w/ contrast
NPO 8 hours prior. Drink 1 bottle of oral contrast the night before. Drink the 2nd bottle 1 hour prior to exam.
CT Chest/Abd/Pelvis
w/ contrast
NPO 8 hours prior. Drink 1 bottle of oral contrast the night before. Drink the 2nd bottle 1 hour prior to exam.
CT Pelvis
w/ contrast
NPO 8 hours prior. Drink 1 bottle of oral contrast the night before. Drink the 2nd bottle 1 hour prior to exam.
CT Extremity No Prep

MRI

Abdomen/MRCP NPO 8 hours prior to exam.
All MRI exams Clothing should be free of metal. Watches and hearing aids must be removed. You may also be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, removable dental work, glasses, body piercings or any other metal in the region of the body being scanned.

Ultrasound

Abdomen NPO 8 hours prior to exam.
Pelvis/OB Drink 32 ounces of water finishing 1 hour prior to exam. Do NOT empty bladder. All OB patients need a full bladder.
Renal/Retroperitoneal Drink 32 ounces of water finishing 1 hour prior to exam. A full bladder is optimal.

Mammography

All mammograms Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam.

Nuclear Medicine

Bone Scan Well hydrated.
Hepatobiliary scan NPO 6 hours prior to scan.
MUGA/Gated Blood No Prep
Gastric emptying NPO 6 hours prior to scan.
Lung/Perfusion VQ No Prep

NPO = nothing to eat or drink

PET/CT

Please contact NCH Imaging Department for prep information.

Additional Information

Visit RadiologyInfo for current and accurate patient information about diagnostic radiology procedures, interventional radiology and radiation therapy.

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday (excluding holidays)
7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Additional after hour care is available via Nemaha County Hospital Emergency Department

Telephone Number

(402) 274-6127