Archive for the ‘Equipment & Techniques’ Category

October 13, 2011

New Research Shows PET Imaging Effective in Predicting Lung Cancer Outcomes

In a recent study out of the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, it was found that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans helped a great deal in predicting which inoperable lung cancer tumors needed additional treatments. Not only do PET scans help in identifying lung cancer “hot spots”, but have now been shown to help doctors choose more effective methods for treating such cancer.

You can read more about this study, you can click here.

May 31, 2011

Imaging Healthcare Specialists Introduces New Image Wisely™ Initiative


Imaging Healthcare Specialists (IHS) is proud to announce the initiation and unwavering commitment to Image Wisely™–a program encouraging practitioners to avoid unnecessary ionizing radiation procedures and to use the lowest optimal radiation dose for necessary studies. Image Wisely™, created by the ACR Joint Task Force on Adult Radiation Protection, offers resources and information to address concerns about the surge of public exposure to ionizing radiation from medical imaging.

It is the goal of Imaging Healthcare Specialists to be a leader in this initiative by implementing the concepts of Image Wisely™ within everyday practice and to communicate supporting educational information to referring professionals and their patients. This commitment ensures Imaging Healthcare Specialists holds accreditation by the American College of Radiology, employees are credentialed by the governing accreditation boards and licensed by the State of California, and radiologists are board certified by the American Board of Radiology. The program also requires all facilities have completed an external review process to meet nationally accepted standards of care and medical imaging equipment is inspected by a medical physicist.

“It is our commitment to our patients’ safety, health, and welfare that makes this program such a perfect fit for us,” said Dr. John O. Johnson, Chief of CT Imaging. “To convey the principles of the Image Wisely™ program, Imaging Healthcare Specialists has optimized imaging protocols to ensure it is using the least amount of radiation necessary to acquire a diagnostic quality image for each examination,” concluded Johnson.

In addition, Imaging Healthcare Specialists has aggressively adopted the practice of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) to limit the use of ionizing radiation. In support of this, Imaging Healthcare Specialists radiologists and staff have implemented a number of dose reduction protocols specific to CT imaging and routinely shield breast and thyroid tissue. This provides patients with a safe, high quality imaging examination tailored by clinical indication.

Imaging Healthcare Specialists is a full service outpatient medical imaging center company offering specialized imaging services throughout San Diego County and southern Riverside County. For decades, the principals of Imaging Healthcare Specialists have been committed to offering the best medical imaging technology, highly specialized expertise, and exceptional customer service to physicians and patients in southern California. For more information, please visit or call (858) 658-6500.

March 7, 2011

GE Discovery ST Installed at Imaging Healthcare Specialists

New System Optimized for Oncology Imaging and a Faster Way to “See and Treat”

Imaging Healthcare Specialists (IHS) is proud to announce the opening of a new GE Discovery ST PET/CT system at their Laurel imaging facility in Hillcrest.  With the opening of this new scanner, IHS now offers state-of-art PET/CT imaging at two locations, in Hillcrest and in Encinitas.  This system integrates a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner with a multi-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner and is capable of 2D and 3D imaging with a larger bore for all patient studies or sizes.  This Discovery ST system provides physicians with more sensitivity, speed, resolution, and diagnostic confidence when detecting cancer and other medial conditions.

The “ST” in Discovery ST stands for “See and Treat,” which is what this new system allows physicians to do. Built from the ground up with Six Sigma methodology, the Discovery ST assists physicians in seeing the disease and planning radiation therapy treatment. The new Discovery ST system will shorten scan times and less time on the table means faster results and greater patient comfort.  With the device, physicians at Imaging Healthcare Specialists are able to encounter better image quality and greater confidence in image interpretation. It allows physicians to not only ‘see’ the disease, but to begin to ‘treat’ it.”

GE’s Discovery ST combines the fastest and most sophisticated computed tomography (CT) technology with the most advanced Positron Emission Tomography (PET) technology – all in a single exam. Since most types of cancer have greater metabolic activity than normal tissue, the PET portion of the exam detects those areas of high metabolic activity in cancer tissue.  The PET images are then fused with the CT images which provides for precise anatomic localization of the increased metabolic activity.

Mark Schechter, MD, lead PET/CT physician for Imaging Healthcare Specialists states that “PET/CT imaging has fundamentally changed how medical and surgical oncologists determine the best form of treatment in children and adults.  PET/CT as the unique capability to detect abnormal tumor metabolic activity in tissue long before any anatomic change can be detected in that tissue by conventional CT or MRI Imaging.  Because of that unique ability, PET/CT is the most accurate and sensitive method of detecting distant metastatic disease and in monitoring response to therapy.”

Integrating the Discovery ST into Imaging Healthcare Specialists’ practice is another example of the company’s commitment to innovation and technology for early disease detection supporting physicians in improved diagnosis and treatment.  With its larger bore size (70cm) and shorter tunnel length (100cm), physicians have more flexibility in positioning larger patients and for better radiation therapy planning, and helps claustrophobic patients.

Imaging Healthcare Specialists is a full service outpatient medical imaging center company offering specialized imaging services throughout San Diego County and southern Riverside County. For decades, the principals of Imaging Healthcare Specialists have been committed to offering the best medical imaging technology, highly specialized radiologist expertise and exceptional customer service to physicians and patients in southern California.  For more information about Imaging Healthcare Specialists please visit or call (858)658-6500.

February 21, 2011

New PET/CT Scanner at First Avenue

Imaging Healthcare Specialists is pleased to announce the opening of a new state-of-art PET/CT scanner at our San Diego facility, located at 2466 First Avenue in Hillcrest. We will be taking patients at the new scanner beginning February 21, 2011.  With the opening of this new scanner, IHS now has two state-of-the-art PET/CT scanners, and will continue to also offer PET/CT services at our other location in Encinitas at 1200 Garden View Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024.

Our new GE Discovery ST PET/CT scanner offers patients technology that combines the strength of two well-established imaging modalities into one single imaging device.  By imaging with the two modalities in a single scan, disease can be both identified and localized, potentially resulting in an earlier diagnosis and more accurate staging.

Expert PET/CT professional interpretations are provided by Radiology Medial Group physicians Mark Schechter MD, David Buckley MD, John Johnson MD, Erick Lizerbram MD and Greg Anderson MD.

We look forward to serving you at our new location.

November 12, 2010

COMING SOON to Imaging Healthcare Specialists

Imaging Healthcare Specialists is pleased to announce the expansion of our Laurel imaging center, located at 2466 First Avenue in Hillcrest. With the addition of a new, state-of-the art PET/CT scanner IHS will be positioned to offer PET/CT services to patients throughout San Diego County at two locations.

We anticipate completion by end of 2010, and have taken steps to ensure that referring physicians, staff, and patients will experience the same quality of care and service excellence from the staff and physicians of IHS during this transition. In the interima, all patients’ PET/CT imaging needs will be accommodated at our Encinitas site, located at 1200 Garden View Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024.

Please look for further updates in December, as the project nears completion. We thank you for your patience and look forward to serving you in our new location.

October 1, 2009

Statement Regarding Radiation Dose in CT Exams

Recent articles in professional journals and the press have raised important concerns about the use of CT and associated radiation dose. Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles gave patients undergoing CT brain scans some eight to 10 times the radiation they should have received. The hospital admitted its mistake, but apparently it has been going on for 18 months and has impacted at least 200 patients. In response, a number of professional societies formed the Image Gently Alliance to reduce or “child size” the radiation dose when performing CT on children. Noting that one size does not fit all, this concept may be applied to all CT examinations on all patients.

At Imaging Healthcare Specialists, we have taken the Image Gently pledge. Early in their training, our radiologists are taught the concept of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) to limit the use of ionizing radiation exposure when imaging patients. There exists a tradeoff, however, between lowering the radiation dose and achieving appropriate image quality which must be carefully balanced.  As the radiation dose is reduced images may appear noisier but not necessarily less diagnostic. It is useful to remember that the average background radiation exposure that people receive in their everyday environment is 3 mSv (milliseiverts) per year.  A CT scan of the abdomen is approximately 6-8 mSv which translates to 2-3 years of background radiation. This is a useful number for patients to be aware of and provides them with a realistic perspective of radiation dose. While growth in the use of CT in recent years has been substantial, this growth is largely appropriate with many lives saved and invasive procedures avoided. While we should not over react to this potential risk, we should take measures to reduce radiation exposure and educate patients and physicians on the risks, benefits and alternatives for various imaging examinations.

Please rest assured that your CT examination at Imaging Healthcare Specialists will be customized to maximize quality and minimize radiation dose. With CT, several factors contribute to radiation dose including tube current (mAs) and peak kilovoltage (kVp). There is a linear relationship between tube current and dose such that a 50% reduction in current results in a 50% reduction in dose. A more dramatic dose reduction can be achieved by lowering the peak kilovoltage as this is related to radiation dose in a non-linear fashion. We use a combination of techniques based on body mass index to tailor each CT examination to reduce the radiation dose to the lowest possible level. When possible, we limit the z-axis or length of coverage and the use of multiphase exams. And finally, we place bismuth breast shields on our female patients to reduce radiation exposure to breast tissue and diminish the risk of induced breast cancer.

At Imaging Healthcare Specialists, we hope to provide you a convenient, high quality experience from start to finish. Please do not hesitate to call our radiologists with any questions or concerns.

Download Statement Regarding Radiation Dose in CT Exams – October, 2009

September 1, 2009

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy – What you should Know

This is a simple and safe procedure performed at various San Diego Imaging locations by our team of breast imaging specialists. Advanced computer imaging technology is used to map the precise location of the area of interest in the breast that was seen on your mammogram.

This technology aids the physician in removing a small section of the suspicious tissue with pinpoint accuracy. The sample is sent to pathologist, a physician specializing in the analysis of tissue samples under a microscope for diagnosis. The entire biopsy should take approximately an hour.

July 3, 2009

Imaging Healthcare Specialists Provides Sub Specialty Expertise for All Mammography Patients

Imaging Healthcare Specialists is drawing on the sub-specialized expertise of our radiologists to provide centralized professional interpretations for our mammography patients. The partnership between the radiologists from our two medical groups represents the largest professional radiology service network in our area and in a collaborative effort will provide sub-specialized readers to interpret all mammography exams done at our facilities.

July 2, 2009

Imaging Healthcare Specialists Installs Digital Mammography at Six Area Facilities

IHS has installed digital mammography at its locations in San Diego, Hillcrest, Encinitas, Poway, Temecula and San Clemente. Digital mammography offers several advantages over conventional mammography including improved sharpness and visibility of the breast, lower radiation dose and the reduction in the likelihood of patient callbacks.

July 1, 2009

64 Slice CT Available at Imaging Healthcare Specialists’ Heart Imaging Center Facility in La Jolla

Imaging Healthcare Specialists has installed San Diego’s first outpatient 64 slice CT scanner at the Heart Imaging Center in La Jolla’s UTC area. The 64 slice CT is faster and produces higher resolution images, making it ideal for routine studies but particularly well suited for coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) and coronary CT angiography (CCTA) studies to help diagnose heart disease. Through the utilization of non-invasive diagnostic imaging with the 64 slice CT, patients are able to avoid longer, more costly invasive procedures.