Advanced Imaging Center: CT and MRI Scans in Antelope Valley

Antelope Valley Scanner

AIC is a pioneer in state-of-the-art imaging and the first to bring claustrophobic-friendly OPEN MRI, the first high-field short-bore OPEN MRI and the first PET scanner to the Antelope Valley. AIC also has the valley’s only 16-slice CT scanner.

Our new Toshiba helical CT can obtain a routine 16-slice scan every 0.4 second, meaning that 40 slices are acquired in one rotation. This dramatically increases the scan speed and allows for a much higher resolution.

What is a CT Scan?

There are some medical problems that doctors can’t diagnose with X-rays or ultrasound scans alone. This is where CT scans (computed tomography) come in. CT scans show more detailed images of bones, blood vessels and soft tissue (for example muscle).

For some types of scan you may need an injection of contrast material dye. This is done through a tube (cannula) in your arm. Some people have an allergy to this dye, which can cause a rash or itching.

For CT scans, you need to lie very still, otherwise your movements might blur the images. This can make the test take longer and sometimes you might need to have a sedative to keep you still. The amount of radiation used for CT scans is very low and doesn’t pose any long-term risks. You can have a CT scan in the X-ray department as an outpatient. It will usually be carried out by a radiographer. If you are pregnant, it is important to tell your doctor and the radiographer as this will change how you are prepared for your scan.

How is a CT Scan Done?

The radiographer will ask you to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewellery or clothes with metal zips, bra straps or hair clips as these interfere with the scan images. You will be told to lie very still and breathe normally during the scan. You will hear buzzing and whirring noises from the CT scanner but this is normal.

A computer creates separate images of each body area, which are then stacked together to make three-dimensional pictures. You may be asked to hold your breath for a short time during some parts of the exam. A special dye may be given to you as a drink or injected into a vein in your arm (contrast medium). This helps the radiographer see certain areas more clearly. You will probably feel a warm sensation during the contrast injection and may have a metallic taste in your mouth.

You will lie on a narrow table that moves quickly into the centre of the scanner, which is shaped like a large doughnut. The radiographer will be in another room controlling the machine but can see and hear you at all times.

What is a MRI Scan?

An MRI scan uses radio waves and a large magnet to produce very clear pictures of the inside of your body. It can detect different types of tissue, for example, fat, water and muscle, better than CT can. It can also show details of some internal structures that aren’t visible with other imaging tests, for example, the blood vessels in your eyes and brain.

The radiographer who operates the scanner will watch you through a window from a separate room. You will hear tapping noises (like a bell being struck) throughout the scan and may be given earplugs or headphones to help block out the sound.

It is important to lie very still during the MRI scan. Moving will blur or distort the images. If you are claustrophobic (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxious, your doctor can prescribe a mild sedative to help you relax during the scan. This medication makes you very sleepy and it’s best not to drive after taking it.

How is a MRI Scan Done?

MRI scans are very useful for imaging soft tissues, such as muscle and fat. They are also useful for diagnosing a variety of conditions and diseases, such as arthritis, tumours, infections and injuries to ligaments and tendons.

Before you have an MRI scan, you will need to remove any metal objects such as jewellery and wristwatches. You will then be asked to change into a cotton gown and lie on the scanner table. The radiographer will talk to you through an intercom and you can ask any questions you may have. It is important that you stay still during the procedure as any movement will blur the resulting images.

You will hear tapping and thumping noises while the scan is being performed. Earplugs or headphones are usually provided to reduce the noise from the MRI machine.

The radiographer will take pictures of the area being studied and then send them to a specialist doctor who will interpret them. The radiologist will then send a report to your healthcare provider who will share the results with you.

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