Unfortunately, what we can see only tells part of the story. Conditions that range from the annoying to the life-threatening can develop slowly and undetected by our natural warning system. That’s where medical imaging comes in.
Medical imaging uses electromagnetic radiation to produce images of internal body structures for diagnosis, and it’s revolutionized medicine. In fact, it’s been recognized as one of the top medical developments in the past 1,000 years. The ability to use machines to see and measure internal structures and activities in fine detail is a powerful weapon against disease and disability.
If there’s tissue deteriorating around your joints, we can see not only how much damage has been done but where and what type. In many cases we can also see how it’s impacted other areas of the body, giving the practitioner more information to develop the right treatment plan. That knee that’s giving you trouble? An X-ray will quickly expose what’s happening in and around that specific area. Chest pain? A CT Scan can expose a range of potential causes to get the right diagnosis quickly.
One of the most important uses of imaging is in detecting serious conditions before you show any symptoms. Diseases such as breast cancer is a prime example. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S., and this year, an estimated 252,710 cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed. Out of that estimate, 40,610 patients are expected to die from the disease. Digital mammograms should be scheduled annually, and if possible, 3D mammograms, as they are used to detect breast cancer much earlier than digital mammograms and can increase your chances of survival. Medical Imaging and screenings are critical pieces of a good preventative care plan that is designed specifically for you– based on your age, medical history, family history, and other factors. Your primary care physician is your guide, designing a comprehensive healthcare plan that gets you healthy, keeps you healthy, and uses the best medicine has to offer to detect small problems before they get too big.
But just like any advancing technology, medical imaging comes at a cost. It’s expensive to develop the equipment, train technicians to use it, and keep it running well. But, fortunately, there are ways to reduce your out-of-pocket costs without sacrificing quality. Most providers will recommend or send you to a separate facility (often the hospital) to get your imaging, and this carries additional facility fees. In 2014, the average cost for a CT Scan and an Ultrasound was $1,200 and $1,100, respectively. And although most insurance plans cover part or all of the fees, you’re likely to be stuck with a chunk of the bill– so it pays to understand your medical charges.
At Eagles Landing Family Practice, we’ve developed a model that helps address the problem of rising healthcare costs without sacrificing quality. One way we do that is by offering in-house imaging services that eliminate many of the unnecessary fees you’ll find on your hospital bill. Plus, since it’s part of our family of offices, getting your tests is way more convenient. Our new and improved imaging center offers a range of services, including Body Composition Scans, DEXA Bone Density Test, CT SCANS (or CAT scans), Digital X-rays, Mammography, Ultrasounds, Echocardiography, and IRIS (retinal screening). You’ll be under the care of highly skilled technicians in our state-of-the-art facility, which means less running around to specialists and lower prices for most services.
Medical imaging is amazing, but only if it’s used correctly. If you’re due for a regular preventative exam or need to get something checked (diagnostic imaging), call or request an appointment online. Or just stop by our new imaging center to check things out. We’re now located at 1100 Hospital Drive in Stockbridge.