Imaging & Scans
Radiology at UVA Cancer Center
The UVA Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging offers a wide range of world-class imaging services to improve patient health.
Clinical services include all aspects of diagnostic imaging and image-guided, minimally invasive interventional and diagnostic services.
Many of our physicians are nationally and internationally acknowledged as experts in their subspecialty areas of radiology, having made widely-recognized contributions to clinical care, the education of trainees and innovative imaging research. State-of-the-art imaging equipment is available at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and many other convenient locations.
Our dedicated team of physicians, nurses and technologists provide patients with a comprehensive, high quality and individually-tailored evaluation for early detection and diagnosis of breast disease. Our Breast Care Center is the only facility in Virginia that combines surgery and breast imaging. And unlike many other facilities, radiologists who are part of thework exclusively with breast imaging—rendering a quality of care unmatched in the area.
Breast cancer imaging technology at UVA includes:
- Breast MRI
- Image-guided interventional procedures
Core biopsies are performed under ultrasound, stereotactic and MRI guidance. Digital mammography services are also available.
The UVA Cancer Center also has a mobile mammography coach that can perform screening mammograms at work sites and outlying community locations.
A CT scanner is a special x-ray machine combined with a computer that produces cross-sectional images or "slices" of any part of your head or body. Unlike a standard "flat" x-ray image where some structures block others, a CT scan shows structures within each slice on a three-dimensional plane. As a result, the doctor who views a CT scan can see your entire anatomy.
An MRI is an imaging machine that uses a large magnet, a computer and radio waves to look inside the body and to evaluate various body parts, such as the brain, neck, spine, abdomen, etc.
Nuclear (or molecular) imaging uses radioactive materials called tracers that provide radiologists with detailed information on the functioning of various organs, tissue and bone. It can help doctors detect changes in a patient's condition in a way that other imaging techniques cannot and it can determine whether a tumor is malignant vs. benign.
Unlike other imaging techniques that identify disease and disorders based on structural appearance (X-ray, MRI, etc.), nuclear medicine imaging techniques employ a very small amount of radioactive material to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions based on the function of the organ, tissue, or bone.
PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, and PET-CT is the combination of two imaging techniques in one exam – a PET scan and a CT scan. The PET scan provides unique information about your body on a cellular level while a CT scan offers anatomic information.
Benefits of PET-CT:
- Improved tumor detection and localization
- Precise staging of disease
- Better monitoring of cancer recurrences
- Excellent image quality and spatial resolution
- Provides information on BOTH physiology and anatomy
- Shorter scan time then PET only machine, resulting in improved patient comfort and convenience
- Convenient electronic fusion with CT and MRI for diagnosis and treatment planning
- PET/CT studies are covered by Medicare and most other insurance
Virtual Colonoscopy is a sophisticated technique using a combination of a CT scanner, powerful digital processing, virtual reality computer software and a computer workstation to look inside the body without having to insert a long tube into the colon (conventional colonoscopy) or having to fill the colon with liquid barium (barium enema).