Transcript of Video
Hello, I’m Dr. Ron Henry from Northwoods Urology of Texas. Our patients with various diagnoses often require imaging to confirm a diagnosis or help us plan treatment. And so I’m going to talk about various imaging studies that we often use to assist us in the care of patients.
Imaging is a very important part of a urological evaluation, and those studies can range anywhere from a plain X-ray to a CT scan, to nuclear medicine studies, to ultrasound studies, MRI, et cetera, and the, depending on what we’re trying to confirm a diagnosis or how we’re going to manage a certain situation would dictate, a little bit, as to what tests we might order. So, for instance, somebody that has hematuria or blood in their urine, we want to evaluate the kidney. We want to evaluate the entire urinary tract. So, a good screening test might be an ultrasound. An ultrasound, of course, is where they apply gel to the skin surface and transmit sound waves into the body to try to identify problems. Sometimes, if an ultrasound is normal, that may be the only imaging that needs to be done, from, from that standpoint. However, an ultrasound, like I said, is a good screening test.
So if there are, is, is an abnormality, then we may get more detailed imaging. That’s typically would be a CAT scan. A CAT scan is done with various techniques, depending on what you might be looking for, or trying to diagnose. If you suspect that somebody might have a kidney stone or ureteral stone that’s blocking the kidney and causing symptoms or causing pain, then we would do, typically, the CAT scan without any X-ray dye, because that stone is going to show up, whereas the dye might obscure the stone. So what’s called a CT Stone Protocol might be the imaging study of choice. If, however, somebody has hematuria or blood in their urine, or you’re concerned about something that might be going on in the kidney, for instance, then we would often do what’s called a CT urogram. That’s where we take pictures with the CAT scanned plane, at first, and then give them X-ray dye to try to outline and delineate the anatomy of the kidney and urinary tract in order to help confirm a diagnosis.
Another study that we sometimes use is, is under the department of nuclear medicine and what are called regular radionuclides are injected into a vein. And depending on what you’re trying to help with diagnosis, it might be a kidney problem. Sometimes when there is an obstruction of one of the kidneys compared to the other, then a nuclear medicine test may help determine the degree of function in one kidney versus another kidney. It might look for a partial obstruction and is it a significant obstruction? So, that’s another type of study that is often done. Nuclear medicine is also help in somebody, for instance, that might have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. You’re concerned about whether the cancer could have spread. And one of the places prostate cancer might spread is to the bones.
So a nuclear medicine bone-scan would give us an idea as to whether a prostate cancer is, hopefully, still confined to the prostate or possibly has spread. And of course that makes a big difference in the treatment that you would offer a patient. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is something that’s becoming a little more useful in urology and, and the, the most common uses, nowadays, is for imaging of the prostate. So in patients that there’s a concern about prostate cancer, then an MRI, using new software and specific radiology interpretation, might identify a lesion that would encourage you to go ahead and consider a prostate biopsy in terms of screening for prostate cancer.
Imaging is an important part of urologic evaluation. Depending on what a patient’s symptoms might be, we would order the appropriate imaging study to try to zero-in on a diagnosis in order to be able to treat a particular problem adequately. So, if you have any concerns about a urologic problem, then contact our office and we would certainly evaluate the situation and order appropriate imaging. Fortunately, imaging such as plain X-ray and CT scan can actually be done in our office. And that makes it very convenient for being able to get a diagnosis more quickly instead of having to make arrangements to go elsewhere to get imaging studies.