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Medical Imaging

When it comes to offering the gold standard in Medical Imaging services, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, IL is one of the best-kept secrets in modern health care. Our MRI and CT Scanners are impressive pieces of equipment that rival those found in the biggest urban medical center.

What do I need to know about MRI scans?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a non-invasive way to image the structure and function of the body. It has much greater soft tissue contrast than a CT (Computerized Tomography) scanner, making it the best choice for neurological, musculoskeletal and oncology imaging.

MRI scanners work by utilizing a powerful magnetic field, which is about 10 thousand times greater than the magnetic field surrounding the Earth! The scanner contains the magnetic field, which forces hydrogen atoms in the body to line up in a certain way, similar to how the needle on a compass moves when held near a magnet. As the magnetic field forces hydrogen atoms to line up, radio waves are introduced toward the lined-up hydrogen atoms, which cause them to bounce back and a powerful computer records the signal. Different types of tissues send back different signals, which allows the computer to produce an anatomical picture. Healthy tissue sends back a slightly different signal than cancerous tissue.

Each MRI image is a cross-sectional anatomical representation of the body called a slice. The slices are put together in sequences for reading by a radiologist, or for review by a medical specialist (orthopedic surgeon, medical oncologist, neurosurgeon, etc.).

Our 1.5 Tesla MRI Scanner is an amazing machine. HSHS St. Joseph’s was chosen to be the first hospital in the country to receive the Siemens Essenza, a 16-channel MRI which produces higher resolution, quicker scan times, and expanded imaging capabilities.

What do I need to know about CT scans?

To make medical imaging as safe and accurate as possible, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital recently upgraded its CT scanner. The AquilionTM PRIME CT system from Toshiba America Medical Systems provides faster exams, puts out lower doses of radiation, and creates higher-quality images required for accurate diagnoses.

“The speed of the Aquilion PRIME enables our colleagues to obtain critical patient information for enhanced diagnoses faster than ever before,” explained Jene Bieri, the hospital’s Director of Business Development. “We can successfully image a range of patients, from pediatric to bariatric, to further improve patient safety and comfort in our community.”

The new scanner’s large bore opening offers a more spacious feeling for patients, while a higher table weight limit (660 Pounds) expands the range of patients who can be imaged. In addition, the Aquilion PRIME comes standard with industry-leading dose-reduction software.

A patient’s entire chest and abdomen can be scanned in about 7 seconds, with resolution that will detect small tumors that older machines are not capable of finding. Evaluation of blood flow to the brain can also be done for patients suspected of suffering a stroke. Additionally, the machine can do Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring, which is used to determine the presence of disease and associated risk. This screening exam is not covered by insurance, but is available at a reasonable cost.
The equipment upgrade cost slightly more than $500,000 and was paid for by the HSHS St. Joseph’s Foundation. “The Foundation exists to provide the resources needed for exceptional healthcare in Clinton County,” said Brian Moeller, the hospital’s Director of Philanthropy. “It’s the generous donors who respond to our fundraising appeals and events that make expenditures like this possible.”

When can I schedule an appointment?

The Medical Imaging department is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Scheduled appointments as follows:
  • General X-Ray  |  24 hours/day
  • CT Scan  |  7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • MRI  |  7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Ultrasound  |  7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Mammograms  |  7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • DEXA (bone density)  |  7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Nuclear Medicine  |  8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Appointments are not necessary for general X-Ray, but are requested for the other modalities. Exceptions are made on emergency cases. Limited Saturday appointments are available in all modalities except Nuclear Medicine.

Certain modalities such as CT, MRI, Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine may require a pre-authorization from an insurance provider before the exam may be performed. All imaging tests need to have an order from a provider.

For more information about the services available at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, call (618) 526-4511.