Diagnostic Imaging Services
South Texas Health System McAllen has an Advanced Imaging Center that gives physicians a clear picture of their patients' problems. Our diagnostic services include state-of-the-art diagnostic tools including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound and nuclear medicine that enable physicians to diagnose and understand the nature of illness.
Radiologic and imaging services at South Texas Health System McAllen include:
- 32 Slice Spiral CT
- Nuclear medicine
- Vascular lab
- Toshiba Vantage Titan 1.5T MRI
- Interventional radiology
- Diagnostic radiology
- Swallowing function
- Surgical radiology
To find a doctor for radiology and imaging services, call the South Texas Health System Reserve and Learn line at 800-879-1033.
Computer Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography, also known as a CT or CAT scan, generates detailed images of an organ by using an X-ray beam to take images of many thin slices of that organ and joining them together to produce a single image. The source of the X-ray beam circles around the patient and the X-rays that pass through the body are detected by an array of sensors. Information from the sensors is computer processed and displayed as an image on a video screen.
South Texas Health System McAllen is accredited in computed tomography by the ACR. The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety.
Digital mammography is a highly advanced procedure for breast cancer screening that can drastically improve results.
The machine takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it on a computer, allowing it to be enhanced, modified or manipulated for further evaluation. Unlike film mammography, digital mammograms can be viewed on a computer or printed and can even produce traditional films, allowing for improved means of transmission, storage and retrieval of images. Digital imaging allows the images to be manipulated in numerous ways to aid in the identification of tumors.
Digital mammography can provide significant improvement in breast cancer detection for some women. Specifically, studies have found enhanced detection through digital mammography in the following groups:
- Women under the age of 50
- Women with dense breasts
- Premenopausal and perimenopausal women
Digital mammography also possesses considerable advantages in terms of radiation use. The new system is able to use a lower dosage of radiation without compromising its diagnostic accuracy.
The ability of digital mammography to improve the detection of breast cancer in many women makes it an important addition to the services that we offer our patients.
When to Get Mammograms
- Women at average risk for breast cancer: Women with a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer, a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as BRCA), and women who had radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 are at higher risk for breast cancer, not average-risk.
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.
Special Savings on Mammogram and Bone Density Screenings
Get coupons for special savings on digital screening mammogram and bone density screenings at South Texas Health System McAllen.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
South Texas Health System McAllen received accreditation in MRI in 2017 as the result of a review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety.
MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create clear, detailed images of internal organs and tissues. Since X-rays are not used, no radiation exposure is involved. Instead, radio waves are directed at the body. Many studies will require a small intravenous injection of a contrast agent. MRI is often used to evaluate tumors and diseases of the liver and bowel. Breast MRI is also available.
Non-contrast Magnetic Resonance Angiogram of the vessels is also available.
Additional Patient Resources
Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material, administered to the patient, to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease and certain other abnormalities within the body. Nuclear medicine offers unique diagnostic information about the function of many organs in the body that other imaging methods may not provide. This form of imaging can often identify abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, enabling treatment to begin at the earliest stage of a disease.
South Texas Health System McAllen is accredited in nuclear medicine by the ACR. The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety.
High frequency sound waves are used to see inside the body. A transducer — a device that acts like a microphone and speaker — is placed in contact with the body using a special gel that helps transmit the sound. As the sound waves pass through the body, echoes are produced and bounce back to the transducer. By reading the echoes, the ultrasound can produce images that illustrate the location of a structure or abnormality, as well as provide information about its composition. Ultrasound is a painless way to examine the heart, liver, pancreas, spleen, blood vessels, breast, kidney or gallbladder, and is a crucial tool for obstetrics.
An X-ray image is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through the body to create an image on sensitive digital plates on the other side of the body. The ability of X-rays to penetrate tissues and bones depends on the tissue's composition and mass, and the difference between these two elements creates the image. Contrast agents, such as barium, may be swallowed to outline the esophagus, stomach and intestines to help provide better images of an organ.
NOTE: If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not have any form of X-ray. Please tell your technician of any medication you’re currently taking.