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The skilled radiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center use many types of radiologic tests, such as computed tomography (CT), ultrasound (US), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to diagnose, treat, and follow response to therapy.
Our dynamic and innovative radiology service is committed to achieving the highest level of care for patients and their doctors. Our radiology doctors send reports to physicians and MyChart within hours. In emergencies, tests are expedited and results are sent within a half-hour.
When the Doctor Requests Abdominal Imaging
Abdominal imaging allows our specialized physicians (radiologists) to look inside the body. In combination with a doctor’s findings, an accurate diagnosis can be made.
UT Southwestern’s Abdominal Imaging team provides comprehensive imaging and diagnostic services for disorders in the abdomen and pelvis area. These include diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small and large bowel, liver, kidneys, pancreas, prostate, uterus, ovaries, and other organs.
We see patients with both acute pain, such as that due to appendicitis, and chronic pain, such as that associated with cancers.
How Abdominal Imaging Works
Some imaging techniques, such as CT and fluoroscopy, expose patients to a small amount of radiation. This amount is always kept “as low as reasonably achievable,” a safety principle known as ALARA. Compared with other radiology facilities, our radiation doses are in the bottom 25 percent of the national average. Other technologies, such as MRI and ultrasound, do not use any radiation.
Abdominal imaging is also used to guide percutaneous biopsies (tissue samples removed using a needle inserted through the skin) and other interventions, such as draining fluids from abscesses within the abdomen and pelvis.
Specialized Abdominal Imaging Services
Our expert team offers specialized tests that often cannot be performed in community hospitals or imaging centers. In fact, we are one of a few sites in the country that offers spectral CT. Our abdominal imaging services include:
- CT angiography (CTA): Integrates X-rays with computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues
- CT enterography: Uses X-rays in a specialized study for abdominal pain, especially in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- CT virtual colonoscopy: Uses CT imaging to examine the large intestine and can replace standard colonoscopy in some cases
- Fluoroscopy: Can be combined with a CT scan to plan surgery for complications of bariatric surgery and gastric bands
- Sonohysterography: Uses ultrasound with saline to visualize the uterus
- 3-D and 4-D obstetric sonograms: Uses additional processing with ultrasound technology to produce images with depth (3-D) and moving images with depth (4-D)
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS): Uses microbubble injections to identify liver lesions and guide biopsy
- Spectral CT: Provides greater accuracy than standard CT scans to identify tumors
At UT Southwestern, every patient’s care is thoroughly discussed with members of the medical team to ensure the best possible medical plan.
Determinations are also made for eligibility to participate in clinical trials. Virtually every clinical trial requires CT or MR imaging. Having imaging performed at a UT Southwestern facility allows the patient’s doctor to quickly view images in the patient’s electronic medical record.
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