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Radiology

What is radiology?

Our radiology team provides a comprehensive range of medical imaging services that include: diagnostic radiography, mammography, bone densitometry, nuclear medicine, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, interventional procedures, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

While diagnostic radiography can be performed as a drop-in, without the need to make an appointment, you will need to speak to your Primary Care physician or specialist doctor for a referral for most procedures.

MRI, ultrasound, CT, mammography and bone densitometry services are available at either Dhahran or Al-Hasa radiology locations.

Radiology examinations and procedures

A bone density test uses a small amount of radiation to measure bone mineral content and density – usually in the spine, lower arm or hip. This measurement tells us whether there is decreased bone mass. It is used mainly to diagnose osteopenia, osteoporosis and future fracture risks.

You will be asked to remove any metal from your clothes before the exam, and will then lie flat on your back on a table with your legs supported on a padded box which helps to flatten the pelvis and lumbar spine. Images will then be taken. The whole procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes.

A biopsy involves taking a small sample of the mass inside your breast using a special needle, in order to check that the mass found by a mammogram or ultrasound is not malignant (cancerous). A local anesthetic will be injected in the affected area, and the procedure will usually take between 30 and 60 minutes.

CT is a diagnostic tool that uses X-rays and a powerful computer to provide two- and three-dimensional images of the organs and tissues inside the body.

You may be told to fast for a few hours before your examination, and should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without zippers or snaps (metal objects can affect the images). Make sure your doctor is aware of any allergies you have to foods or medications, and especially to iodine. We will arrange a blood test to check your kidney function before your appointment. The CT exam itself is very short, but some exams will need prior preparation, which may require you to be in the CT department for a couple of hours. During the exam, you will lie comfortably on the motorized CT exam table, which will move slowly into the CT scanner.

  • Depending on the type of the exam your doctor has requested, you may be given a ‘dye’ that makes it easier to see certain tissues or blood vessels. This may be swallowed, injected into the bloodstream, or administered by enema
  • You may be asked to drink a liquid contrast material, especially if the radiologist needs to see the stomach, small bowel, and colon. Usually, the CT exam is performed one to two hours after you have finished drinking the contrast, to allow time for it to fill your intestines before the pictures are taken. The contrast material will be naturally eliminated from your body within a day or two

We use X-rays as the fastest way to assess broken bones, foreign bodies and progress any previous findings.

MRI is a diagnostic tool that uses a powerful magnetic field and radio frequency to provide two-dimensional, high-resolution images of the organs and tissues inside the body, to help the radiologist make an accurate diagnosis. Our technologists will start by helping you to complete a pre-scanning electronic form to identify potential safety risks or implants which could affect the image quality.

If you have implanted medical devices, including heart pacemakers or defibrillators, brain aneurysm clips or cochlear implants, you may not be eligible for MRI. If you know that you have an implant, please mention it before making an appointment.

Most MRI examinations do not need special preparation, but you may receive instructions when you make your appointment about fasting or taking medications. MRI examinations usually take between 20 minutes and one hour. They will be carried out by one of our Large Bore MRI Scanners, which is more comfortable if you don’t like small spaces. You will need to stay as still as possible and will hear the equipment make loud ‘knocking’ noises while taking pictures, due to the magnetic fields used to generate the images. Earplugs or headphones will be provided for your protection and comfort. For certain MRI examinations, a contrast agent ‘dye’ will be injected into a vein to highlight certain organs or tissues in your body. This is typically done in the middle of the examination.

A mammogram is a safe procedure that uses low doses of radiation to produce high-quality X-ray images of the breast. It is performed to detect abnormal growth or changes in the breast, or to provide a baseline reference for later comparison.

It is an important way to help detect breast cancer because it helps discover cancers too small to be felt by hand.

Find out more about the mammogram procedure  

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are non-invasive. They produce images by tracking the movement of very low doses of radioactive materials in the body, enabling our experts to visualize how the body is functioning, and what’s happening at the cellular and molecular level. 

Procedure times can vary from two hours to multiple visits. Usually a radioactive material will be administered and you will be scanned lying down on the machine. It is important to be very still during the scanning. You may be asked to drink a lot of fluids before and after the procedure to help the quality of the images, and to flush the radioactive material out of the body.

If you are having nuclear medicine cardiac imaging (myocardial perfusion imaging) your doctor may give you additional information about stopping some of your medications before the procedure.

This is a safe and painless way for doctors to see images of major organs and tissues inside your body and to help them evaluate any abnormalities, without being exposed to radiation. The exam usually takes 15 to 45 minutes. There are no known side effects or after effects from ultrasound imaging, and it is not necessary to take any special precautions following your examination. Types of ultrasound include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound – visualizes the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen. For this examination, you should not to eat or drink for six hours prior to your appointment
  • Obstetric ultrasound – the fetus is visualized and measurements are obtained to be sure that its size is appropriate for its ‘age’. You should drink five cups of water one hour before the examination
  • Pelvic ultrasound – looks at the uterus, ovaries and bladder in women and bladder and prostate in men. You should drink five cups of water one hour before the examination
  • Vascular ultrasound – looks at the blood vessels to evaluate if there are areas of narrowing or blockage. No specific preparation needed

During your ultrasound, you will lie on your back or side and a gel will be applied. A hand-held instrument called a transducer will be guided slowly across your skin. Images will be produced on a viewing screen and permanently recorded for later evaluation.

What to expect from our radiology services  

Preparing for imaging procedures

Depending on the examination requested, you will receive instructions during scheduling and on your appointment notification. 

Post-imaging procedure

The technologist will not give you the examination results directly, as the images will need to be reviewed by a radiologist. After reviewing the results, the radiologist will send an official report to your physician, who can then discuss these with you.

Our patients say it best

I received outstanding care in Radiology. All staff I met were very competent and caring. Wonderful staff and a very positive experience. Thank you.

I had a fantastic experience today. The technologist was really amazing. I rate JHAH as perfect for technologist courtesy and maximum care.

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