Diagnostic Imaging

CT Scans

Computed Tomography(CT), also known as CAT scan, uses a limited beam of x-ray to obtain image data. The data is then interpreted by a computer to show cross sectional images of the body tissues and organs. Dense tissues, such as bones, appear white in the pictures produced by a CT scan. Less dense tissues, such as brain tissue or muscles, appear in shades of gray. Air-filled spaces, such as in the bowel or lungs, appear black.

Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) is an examination to visualize blood flow in the major arteries throughout the body. An iodinated contrast is injected through a peripheral vein instead of an artery like in conventional catheter angiography. Scans are obtained in a quick and timely manner to help diagnose conditions such as aneurysms, pulmonary embolisms, and renal artery stenosis.

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Common MRI Exams

MRI Abdomen

MRI’s of the abdomen are commonly performed to detect issues in the liver, gallbladder, digestive tract, and other organs. It can also be used to evaluate the state of blood vessels and organs prior to a surgery or transplant.

MRI Pelvis

MRI’s of the pelvis are commonly performed to detect issues in the bladder, prostate, reproductive organs, lymph nodes, rectum, anus and pelvic bones.

MRI Breast

MRI’s of the breast are many times administered after an initial mammogram to further explore abnormalities. Breast MRI’s are ideal for patients with “dense” breast tissue, because MRI images show more detail allowing radiologists to see more than with a standard x-ray image.

MR-Guided Biopsy

Using an MRI machine to guide a biopsy is very efficient because the clear images help radiologists to accurately sample the abnormality.

MRI Extremities

MRI is frequently used to scan major joints in the body. Including shoulders, wrists, knees and hips. MRI can locate and identify the cause of pain, swelling, and bleeding in the tissues around joints and bones. The images can see tears and injuries to tendons, ligaments and muscles. MRI can also show arthritis and tumors involving bones and joints.

MRI Spine

MRI is frequently used to determine the causes of back pain, leg pain and numbness. The exam can detect a bulging, degenerated or herniated intervertebral disk. MRI can be done to help plan surgeries of the spine. MRI performed after surgery will show whether infection or post-op scarring is present. Patients that have had surgery of the spine may require an injection of contrast material.

MRI Brain

MRI of the brain is useful in detecting brain tumors, strokes and certain disorders such as multiple sclerosis. MRI can also detect abnormalities of the eyes or inner ear. Most exams of the brain will require an injection of contrast material to enhance the visibility of certain tissues or blood vessels. A small needle is placed into a vein of the hand or arm for the injection.

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

MRA provides detailed images of blood vessels with or without the use of contrast material. MRA can detect blocking or narrowing of arteries, and can also detect aneurysms, an enlarged artery. Commonly preformed MRA Exams include brain, carotids (neck) and renal arteries.

MR Enterography

Magnetic resonance (MR) enterography is used to diagnose inflammation, bleeding, obstructions and other problems in the small intestine. Patients ingest a barium contrast medium before their scan that highlights certain parts of the digestive tract in the images.

MRI Machine Types

3T High-Definition MRI

AMI is the only outpatient center in Lincoln equipped with the most advanced MRI that provides highly detailed images, faster. The large bore design is made for patient comfort and is ideal for and larger patients.


Advanced Medical Imaging is the first location in the entire midwest to install a HERO 3T with the latest technology. Scan times are reduced by 50% using Air Recon DL.

1.5T Standard MRI

The most common of MRI machines is used the most often and has many benefits. There is more signal than the 1T open MRI providing a faster and better image. Less signal than the 3T MRI means less noise and heat than the stronger machine.

1T High-field Open MRI

The only high-field Open MRI in Lincoln, allows for three times the amount of patient space than cylindrical MRIs. The open design perfect for claustrophobic and bariatric patients.

Procedure Process

Preparing for a CT scan is easy, but it can get more complicated as your CT scan gets more specific. Your prep will depend on the area you are getting scanned, whether or not you are getting a CT with contrast, and other factors.

On the day of your scan, follow the instructions AMI scheduling has recommended for fasting. Likely the recommendation will be to be on a diet of clear liquids during the day of your CT scan, which helps guarantee clear and detailed final images. The following scans, though, require fasting for a few hours before your scan:

  • Head CT – don’t eat anything for 3 hours before your scan (clear liquids encouraged)
  • Neck CT – don’t eat anything for 2 hours before your scan (clear liquids encouraged)
  • Abdominal CT – don’t eat anything for 3 hours before your scan
  • Pelvic CT – don’t eat anything for 2 hours before your scan
  • CT of the Extremities – don’t eat anything for 2 hours before your scan

(If you are getting any of these CT scans with contrast, don’t eat or drink anything for 4-6 hours before your scan)

CT scans are painless and fast. You will lie on a long narrow table that slides you into a donut-shaped machine that is open on both sides. A Velcro strap will be placed around you for safety.

After your scan is over, you will be able to drive home and return to your routine. You may feel a bit of fatigue after your scan, but this will likely be due to the stress of getting a medical scan. Your technician will probably suggest drinking around half a liter of liquid (about 2 cups) afterward, simply to replenish your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further questions about our services, please contact our friendly staff.

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What does the CT scanner look like?

The CT scanner has a large opening in which a table moves up and slowly through. As the patient moves through the large opening, an x-ray tube rotates around the patient obtaining images, which are then sent to a computer for interpretation.

How should I come prepared for my CT?

Clothing should be free of metal in the region being scanned. For example, for scanning of the chest shirts should have no metal buttons and bras should have no metal clips or clasps. For scanning of the pelvis pants should not have zippers or metal buttons. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, hairpins, hearing aids, removable dental work, body piercings, or any other metal in the region being scanned. Correct attire is available with private changing rooms and secured lockers. You may also be asked to refrain from drinking or eating anything 1 hour or longer before your exam. Women should inform their physician or the technologist if there is a chance of pregnancy.

How long will my CT examination take?

Allowing for paperwork and patient care time the entire process will take an average of 40 minutes. In most cases the actual time to obtain the CT images can be done in 10 to 30 seconds. The quick scan time allows us to gather information without the chance of voluntary or involuntary motion, which can degrade the images.

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Our Board Certified Radiologists have a wide-variety of subspecialties and are on call 24 hours a day to ensure the best care is always available, when patients need it most.

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