Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging at Black River Medical Center

Black River Medical Center’s leading-edge diagnostic imaging department offers the most advanced technology available in the region, along with exceptional care, personal attention, seamless scheduling, including fast and reliable results. We utilize state of the art diagnostic equipment operated by licensed technologists resulting in high quality images.  BRMC is staffed with on site radiologists, ensuring the most accurate diagnoses and prompt attention for patients and referring physicians.  Black River has earned the designation as a Breast Center of Excellence and accredited in all advanced modalities through the American College of Radiology . Our reputation is built on quality and excellence in providing superb diagnostic imaging and thoughtful patient care.


When it comes to your diagnostic needs a team of professional and caring clinicians and physicians will care for you, including:


Our highly trained and experienced physicians are responsible for interpreting your exam results, performing procedures and working with other doctors and specialists to determine appropriate treatment plans. At Black River, our team of radiologists are all board certified in the modality that they read.


All of our technologist are highly skilled and trained, holding national registrations from the ARRT, ARDMS, ABRMS, and/or the NMTCB.  They will be performing many of the various types of exams, including X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, nuclear medicine procedures, mammograms, and ultrasounds. Our technologists are dedicated to providing you with the best health care experience each and every time you are with us.

Learn More About Diagnostic Imaging



What is a CT scan?

CT stands for computed tomography, a technique using x-rays to make images of your body in a cross sectional way. A CT image is a highly sensitive imaging method which allows the radiologist to look inside the body to view healthy and diseased tissues throughout the entire body.

What is a 64-Slice CT Scan?

Black River’s 64-Slice or Multi-slice CT provides extremely clear images by allowing technologists and radiologists to acquire more detailed and 3D images, at the lowest dose of radiation. This detailed view leads to faster diagnosis for physicians and their patients. Additionally, greater anatomical coverage in a short time means shorter breath holds, which is a key factor for older or medically compromised individuals who have difficulty or discomfort with this part of the test. The 64-Slice is also useful for determining one’s risk of coronary disease with 64-Slice CT Angiography.

How does a CT Scan work?

You will be lying down while the images are taken. Our team will make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. The table you are lying on will slide inside the scanner, which looks like a giant ring, so that the x-ray emitter and detectors may spin around you in order to gather the necessary information and images.

How long does a CT Scan take?

The exam takes approximately 30 minutes. This allows for preparation as well as time for the computer to generate the image. Exam time may vary significantly depending on the nature of the study and other factors.

What can I expect at my exam?

You will be met by a registered CT technologist whose primary concern is your care and well-being. Our technologists have completed a rigorous course of education and training, and work under close supervision of our radiologists. Prior to the start of the CT exam the technologist will explain the procedure to you and take a brief history. After your history is reviewed, you will be positioned on the examination table. It is important for you to be comfortable, because even the slightest movement can blur the picture and result in the need for repeated scans. You will be moved into the circular gantry. The technologist will have you in full view at all times and be in constant communication via two-way microphones. During the time in the scanner, you will hear the humming of the equipment as it produces images. The patient may also feel slight movement of the table as it prepares for the next scan.

What will the CT Scan tell me?

CT scans allow radiologists to look inside your body to ensure all internal bones and soft tissues, including organs and muscles are working properly, so that if disease or abnormalities exist your doctor will be able to make appropriate and timely treatment recommendations. CT scans are also often used during cancer treatments to monitor the effectiveness of different treatments in a patient’s care.

When will I receive my results?

For most scans, your doctor will receive the final report within 24 hours. For reports needing immediate attention the radiologist will inform your doctor immediately following the exam. Your referring physician will discuss the results with you.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Certain exams require a special dye, called contrast, to be delivered into your body before the test starts. Contrast helps highlight certain areas on x-rays. Let your doctor know if you have ever had a reaction to contrast. You may need to take medicines before the test in order to avoid another reaction.
If contrast is used, you may also be asked not to eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test.
Before receiving the contrast, tell your health care provider if you take diabetic medication. You may need to discontinue medicine temporarily.
If you are 70 years of age or older and scheduled to receive contrast, you will be required to have a blood test to check your kidney function prior to the procedure.


What is a Digital Mammogram?

A digital mammogram is a low-dose X-ray exam of the breast that aids in the early detection of breast cancer. It provides incredibly sharp, clear images that are instantly seen by the technologist to ensure a high quality picture. Careful study is made of each image including the use of Computer Aided Detection.

Why should I get a mammogram?

1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. A mammogram is the primary screening exam to catch breast cancer early. Early detection is key to improve survival rates. The American Cancer Society recommends women to get a baseline mammogram between 35-40 years of age and annually after 40.

Why do you need my previous mammogram?

Comparing your exam with previous studies helps the radiologist spot early changes within your breast. By comparing to the prior year ensures the radiologist has the best information available when interpreting your exam.

What can I expect during a mammogram?

A screening mammogram normally takes less than 20 minutes. You will be shown to a private room where the technologist will explain the exam and take a brief history. You will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a patient gown. The technologist will then work with you to obtain a series of quality images.

How do I prepare for my exam?

• Wear a two piece outfit to easily remove clothing from the waist up.
• Do not wear lotion, powder or deodorant. These may cause artifacts on the images.
• Try to schedule an appointment at the end of your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less sensitive.
• If you have sensitive breasts consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before your exam, but avoid aspirin products.
• If you have had a previous mammogram at another facility please ask them to send us your most recent images and report.

Will my mammogram be painful?

Many women get mammograms yearly without experiencing pain and discomfort. If you normally experience increased tenderness during or around your menstrual cycle, we recommend you schedule your exam when your tenderness is gone. Hormones and caffeine can increase discomfort during your exam.

How do I obtain my results?

Screening mammography results will be mailed to you and your ordering physician. While Black River Medical Center is required to give screening mammography results within 30 days, every effort is made to mail results within 10 days.
If the mammography department has to obtain prior images from another facility for comparison value, the results may be delayed.


What is an MRI?

An MR or MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to generate cross sectional pictures of your body to show the existence of injury, disease, or atypical conditions of the body. It is a painless and extremely safe procedure because no radiation is used. Aided by a computer, MRI is able to produce an image of bone and soft tissue from many different body angles or planes. This enables our physicians to quickly and precisely diagnose a wide variety of conditions.

How does an MRI work?

Using magnetic fields instead of radiation, images are obtained by surrounding the area of the body the doctor wishes to study with a magnet, which causes water molecules inside your body to move. In some cases, contrast may be used to provide a more detailed study. The computer will pick up on the movement and convert it into images for your radiologist to examine and interpret.

How is an MRI different than other imaging?

CT scans use x-rays to make pictures and therefore small amounts of ionizing radiation, MRIs are completed using no radiation and therefore a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate or do not wish to be exposed to radiation. Because radiation is not used, there is no risk of exposure to ionizing radiation during an MRI procedure.

What are MRIs typically used for?

MRIs may be used to examine many different parts of the body including, the brain, spine, joints, abdomen, pelvis, breast and vascular system. MRIs are sometimes used in the diagnosis of carotid artery disease, screening for intracranial aneurysms, and screening for renal artery stenosis.

Is MRI a safe option for me?

Due to the strong magnetic force, patients with implanted pacemakers may not have an MRI. Additional devices which should not be used in combination with an MRI include: some older intracranial aneurysm clips, cochlear implants, certain prosthetic devices, implanted drug infusion pumps, neurostimulators, bone-growth stimulators, certain intrauterine contraceptive devices, or any other type of iron-based metal implants. Some of the contrast dye used in some MRI may cause an allergic reaction, please notify your physician if you are sensitive to medications. You should also notify him/her if you have a history of kidney disease, kidney failure, kidney transplant, liver disease, or you are on dialysis.

How do I prepare for the test?

You should limit the amount of metal on your clothing, hair, and be prepared to remove all hearing aids, jewelry, and removable dental work. Tell your doctor if you are afraid of close spaces (have claustrophobia). Your physician may prescribe medication to help you feel sleepy and less anxious, or your doctor may suggest an “open” MRI, in which the sides of the machine are open and not as close to your body.

What can I expect?

Exam times vary depending upon the area being scanned, however, most exams will be between 30-60 minutes. In order to obtain quality images you will be required to remain completely still during your exam. You will be met by our MR technologist who will be performing the examination. The technologist has completed a rigorous course of education and training, and they work under close supervision of the radiologist to assure the most accurate results from your examination. The technologist will position and secure you on the imaging table. The slightest movement during the exam can blur the image and result in the need for repeated images. During the scan you will hear loud noises. The technologist will provide ear plugs or headphones to protect your hearing. The technologist will not be in the room during the procedure, but will communicate through an intercom and will observe you at all times through a window. Occasionally, you may feel a warming sensation. If it becomes uncomfortable, please inform the technologist.



When will I know my results?

The radiologist will study your films and report the findings to the referring physician within 24 hours. Your referring physician will discuss the MRI results with you.


What is Nuclear Cardiac Scanning (Stress Testing)?

Nuclear Cardiac Imaging, also called a Nuclear stress test, is a type of imaging that shows the flow of blood through a patient’s heart, following an injection of a radiopharmaceutical substance or tracer. During imaging, specialized images of the heart and the distribution of this tracer are obtained. When you visit you may have an Exercise Stress Test (exercise on a treadmill) or a Pharmaceutical Stress Test (medicine used to replicate the effects of being on a treadmill) combined with the imaging.

What will a Nuclear Scan tell me?

Nuclear scans can diagnose a number of medical conditions such as cancers, heart disease, and other conditions. The most common scans include:
• Thyroid scans – to evaluate thyroid function and better evaluate nodes or masses.
• Bone scans – to evaluate degenerative or arthritic changes in the joints, detect bone diseases and tumors, and/or determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.
• Heart scans – used to identify abnormal blood flow to the heart or to determine the extent of the damage of a heart muscle following heart attack.
• Hepatobiliary – used to evaluate the function of the gallbladder

When will I know the results?

The radiologist will study your films and report the findings to the referring physician within 24 hours. Your referring physician will discuss the Nuclear Medicine results with you.


What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound utilizes sound waves to obtain a medical image or picture of various organs and tissues in the body. It is a painless and safe procedure.
Ultrasound produces very precise images of your soft tissue (heart, blood vessels, uterus, bladder, etc.) and reveals internal motion such as your heart beat and blood flow. It can detect diseased or damaged tissues, locate abnormal growths and identify a wide variety of changing conditions including fetal development, which enables our physicians to make a quick and accurate diagnosis.

What is a doppler ultrasound?

A doppler ultrasound is a special type of ultrasound that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through a blood vessel. This type of ultrasound is used to view the veins and arteries of the abdominal organs as well as other vessels throughout the body.

Why has my doctor recommended an ultrasound?

There are a number of reasons why your doctor may have recommended an ultrasound. Ultrasound is a safe, affordable, and non-invasive procedure that provides valuable information to your physician. Most people associate ultrasound as being used during pregnancy for the first glimpse of a developing baby in the womb, but doctors use ultrasound widely to gain advanced insight for a variety of reasons including things such as abdominal, breast, thyroid, soft-tissue, heart, and vascular problems.

What will the exam be like?

The technologist performing the ultrasound study is known as a sonographer. All Black River technologists are highly skilled and educated. The technologists work under close supervision with our radiologists who will monitor the exam to assure that the most accurate results are obtained from your examination.
The technologist will explain the procedure, take a brief history, and assist you onto the examination table. A transmission gel will be applied to the area of the body that will be examined. A transducer will be moved slowly over the body part being imaged. The transducer sends a signal to an on-board computer which processes the data and produces the ultrasound image. It is from this image that the diagnosis is made.

How long will the exam take?

The exam usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes, depending upon the anatomy under study.

When will I know my results?

The radiologist will study your films and report the findings to the referring physician within 24 hours. Your referring physician will discuss your ultrasound results with you.


What is an X-Ray?

X-ray imaging is perhaps the most commonly known form of diagnostic testing. Similar to visible light, x-rays use electromagnetic radiation, which contain wave-like forms of energy.

What radiologic procedures are available?

Computerized and digital x-ray equipment is utilized to produces a more detailed study of the body. X-rays are most commonly used for taking images of bones to examine injury or diagnose tumors, and are often used for visualization of the urinary and gastrointestinal systems.

How the test is performed?

A licensed technologist will perform the exam. A brief history will be obtained and you may be asked to put on a hospital gown and remove metal objects. How you are positioned depends on the type of x-ray being done. Several different x-ray views may be needed. You need to stay still when you are having an x-ray. Motion can cause blurry images. You may be asked to hold your breath or not move for a second or two when they image is being taken.

How to prepare for the test?

Before the x-ray, tell your health care team if you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Metal can cause unclear images. You will need to remove all jewelry and may need to wear a hospital gown.

How will the test feel?

X-rays are painless. However, some body positions needed during an x-ray may cause temporary discomfort.

Are there any risks associated with X-rays?

X-rays are monitored and regulated so you get the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. For most conventional x-rays, the risk of cancer or defects is very low. Most experts feel that benefits of appropriate x-ray imaging greatly outweigh any risks. Young children and babies in the womb are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays. Tell your health care provider if you think you might be pregnant.

When will I know my results?

The radiologist will study your films and report the findings to the referring physician within 24 hours. The referring physician will discuss the x-ray results with you.


Exposure to radiation is part of everyday life. The average person in the U.S. receives a dose of about 3 mSv per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation. Take a coast-to-coast roundtrip flight and you’ve added 0.03 mSv to your dose that year. Because children are more sensitive to radiation, they should have a CT study only if it is essential for making a diagnosis and should not have repeat CT studies unless absolutely necessary. Which is why some Black River’s Imaging department has joined the Image Gently campaign.


The Image Gently pledge was created to change practice: to raise awareness of the opportunities to lower radiation dose in the imaging of children.  There’s no question: CT helps us save kids’ lives! But, when we image, radiation matters! Children are more sensitive to radiation. What we do now lasts their lifetimes. So, when we image, let’s image gently.

At Black River Medical Center, all of the CT technologists signed an Image Gently pledge in which they promised to make the image gently message a priority. Black River’s equipment has set parameters to assist with decreasing your exposure.  Additionally, they have reviewed the protocol recommendations and implemented adjustments to the processes where necessary.