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Pacific Radiology - Otago and Southland

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    Pacific Radiology, Otago and Southland (PROS) provide a full range of radiology services throughout the region across numerous sites.
     
    Our Otago and Southland regional branches are located at:
    • Dunedin
      - Marinoto Clinic, Mercy Hospital
      - 7 Bond St, Consultancy House
      - 160 Great King St, City Centre
    • Invercargill, 2 - 10 Dee St
    • Gore Hospital, Gore
    • Balclutha, Clutha Health First
    • Queenstown, Medical Centre
    • Frankton, 17 Red Oaks Drive
    • Wanaka, Wanaka Lakes Health Centre
    • Cromwell Medical Centre
    All sites are fully digital (filmless) and linked in a national PACS network across Pacific Radiology Group across NZ.

    Pacific Radiology provides publicly funded examinations under contracts with the Southern District Health Board and Hospital Trusts at Gore Hospital and Balclutha Hospital (Clutha Health First). We also provide offsite reporting services to Oamaru and Dunstan Hospitals.

    Pacific Radiology perform examinations for ACC and under the Maternity Benefit Scheme. These examinations are part funded only. Most patients will pay a small surcharge.
     
    Pacific Radiology also partnered up with Southern Cross Healthcare and provide affiliated provider services across all sites. All other medical insurance providers are also welcome.
      
     
    What is Radiology?
     
    Radiological examinations are used for looking at the internal structures of the body, whether bone or soft tissue. These examinations are carried out to:
    • diagnose disease states, such as cancer or heart disease
    • show the extent of injury to body structures
    • provide treatments (interventional radiology)
    • assist in the management of normal or complex pregnancy
    • screen for the detection of abnormalities in well patients such as for breast cancer, aortic aneurysm, osteoporosis and foetal defects.

    Originally X-rays were the only means of producing the images and are used in Plain and Special X-ray, Mammography, DEXA and Computer Tomography (CT). Other modalities are  Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

    Practitioners

    • Dr Sally Chartres

      Dr Sally Chartres

      Radiologist
    • Dr James Fulton

      Dr James Fulton

      Radiologist
    • Dr Grant Meikle

      Dr Grant Meikle

      Radiologist
    • Dr Gillian Morris

      Dr Gillian Morris

      Radiologist
    • Dr Josie Parker

      Dr Josie Parker

      Radiologist
    • Dr Gabriel Lau

      Dr Gabriel Lau

      Radiologist
    • Dr Amy Fong

      Dr Amy Fong

      Radiologist
    • Dr Gregory Harkness

      Dr Gregory Harkness

      Radiologist
    • Dr Michael Reddy

      Dr Michael Reddy

      Radiologist
    • Dr James Letts

      Dr James Letts

      Radiologist
    • Dr Jacqueline Copland

      Radiologist
    • Dr James McCormick

      Dr James McCormick

      Radiologist
    • Dr Michael McKewen

      Radiologist
    Procedures

    X-ray

    An X-ray is a high frequency, high energy wave form.  It cannot be seen with the naked eye, but can be picked up on photographic film. Although you may think of an X-ray as a picture of bones, a trained observer can also see air spaces, like the lungs (which look black) and fluid (which looks white, but not as white as bones).  

     

    Computer Tomography (CT)

    With CT we can differentiate many more things than with a normal X-ray. A CT image is created by using an X-ray beam that rotates around your body.  The information is processed in a computer to produce an image.  This allows cross-sectional images of the body without cutting it open.  The CT can be used to view the any part of the body.   What to expect? You will have all metal objects removed from your body.  You will lie down on a narrow padded moveable table that will be slid into the scanner, through a circular opening. You will feel nothing while the scan is in progress, but some people can feel slightly claustrophobic or closed in, whilst inside the scanner.  You will be asked to remain still and hold your breath on command.  There are staff present, but they will not necessarily remain in the room, but will speak with you via an intercom system and will be viewing the procedure constantly through a windowed control room, from where they will run the scanner. Some procedures will require Contrast Medium.  Contrast medium is a substance that makes the image of the CT or MRI clearer. Contrast medium can be given by mouth, rectally, or by injection into the bloodstream. The scan time will vary depending on the type of examination required, but as a rule it will take around 30 minutes.    

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    The MRI  procedure uses a combination of magnetic fields and radio waves to produce an image.  This method delivers clear images without  exposure to Xrays.  It looks at the body in a different way to a CT.   What to expect? Because you lie in a powerful magnet wewill go through a check list with you to ensure that no metal  that may be attracted to it is introduced.    You will lie down on a narrow padded moveable table that will be slid into the scanner, through a circular opening. You will feel nothing while the scan is in progress, but some people can feel slightly claustrophobic or closed in, whilst inside the scanner.  The procedure can be noisy but you have earphones to listen to music - you can bring a favorite CD with you if you wishYou will be asked to remain still and hold your breath on command.  There are staff present, but they will not necessarily remain in the room, but will speak with you via an intercom system and will be viewing the procedure constantly through a windowed control room, from where they will run the scanner. Some procedures will require an injection of Contrast Medium.  Contrast medium is a substance that makes the image of the CT or MRI clearer. The scan time will vary depending on the type of examination required, but as a rule it will take around 30-45 minutes.

    Ultrasound

    In ultrasound, a beam of sound at a very high frequency (that cannot be heard) is sent into the body from a small vibrating crystal in a hand-held scanner head.  When the beam meets a surface between tissues of different density, echoes of the sound beam are sent back into the scanner head.  The time between sending the sound and receiving the echo back is fed into a computer, which in turn creates an image that is projected on a television screen.  Ultrasound is a very safe type of imaging; this is why it is so widely used during pregnancy. Ultrasound is used for examinations of the: abdomen; aorta (main blood vessel carrying blood out of the heart); breast; female pelvis; musclesand tendons; salivary glands; testis; thyroid; urinary tract; arteries and veins and groin (for hernias). It can also be used for fine needle aspiration, investigation of a foreign body, prostate biopsy, pregnancy and hysterosonogram.     What to expect?

    After lying down, the area to be examined will be exposed.  Generally a contact gel will be used between the scanner head and skin.  The scanner head is then pressed against your skin and moved around and over the area to be examined.  At the same time the internal images will appear onto a screen.

    Barium Enema

    A barium enema is an X-ray procedure to examine the lower part of the gastro-intestinal tract (large bowel). Barium is a thick white chalky fluid that shows up on an X-ray.  Barium moves quickly through the gastrointestinal tract and is not  absorbed by the body. This procedure allows a clear picture of the outline of the bowel and shows up any abnormalities. The test takes around 1 1/2 hours.   What to expect? A barium enema requires special preparation and it is important to carry out the instructions you are given, otherwise the procedure may not be carried out or give good enough results. The bowel must be clean and clear of faeces before the examination.  Dietary instructions need to be followed, such as having clear fluids, then a prescriptive laxative must be taken and lastly enemas to clear out any remaining faeces.   This examination is not a comfortable one; most people have a feeling of fullness of the bowel during the procedure, lower abdominal cramping and the urge to pass wind or a bowel motion.   During the procedure, you will lie on your side upon an X-ray table.  A well-lubricated tube is then gently inserted into the rectum.  Barium and air then fills the colon.  Air helps to keep a good flow of barium around the colon. You will then be asked to move into a number of different positions, to ensure that the barium coats all the surfaces of the bowel, to get a good picture. X-rays will then be taken while you hold your breath and keep still.     

    Mammography

    A mammogram is just an X-ray of the breast. Mammography can be used either to look for very early breast cancer in women without breast symptoms (screening) or to examine women who do have breast symptoms (diagnostic).   What to expect? You will need to undress from the waist up.  One of your breasts will be positioned between two plastic plates which will flatten the breast slightly. Most women find that this is a bit uncomfortable, but not painful. Generally two X-rays are taken of each breast. It is also useful to compare the results with earlier examinations and you should take any previous mammography results with you.    

    DEXA Bone Densitometry

    DEXA (which stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scanning uses X-rays in very small doses to measure the density of your bones. The density of your bones will show how strong they are. Your exposure to x-rays is very low and is similar to what you would receive on a long distance plane flight.   What to expect? It is most convenient if you wear loose clothing with no metal domes or other attachments from chest to knee.  A tracksuit is ideal.  You will lie very still on a padded table for 5-10 minutes while the arm of the machine passes over the lower spine and hip.  You will feel nothing.

    Ultrasound - Shoulder

    In ultrasound, a beam of sound at a very high frequency (that cannot be heard) is sent into the body from a small vibrating crystal in a hand-held scanner head. When the beam meets a surface between tissues of different density, echoes of the sound beam are sent back into the scanner head. The time between sending the sound and receiving the echo back is fed into a computer, which in turn creates an image that is projected on a television screen. Ultrasound is a very safe type of imaging.   Ultrasound is the preferred investigation for tears and inflammation of the soft tissues around the shoulder which can lead to pain and or reduced function.  At Pacific Radiology, Otago and southland we assess the scan along with Xrays of the shoulder.  If you have not had those at Pacific Radiology, Otago and Southland recently they can be done when you come for your scan.   Preparing for your ultrasound No preparation is necessary.  Please don’t forget to bring your request form with you if you have it.  If the examination is part subsidised by the ACC, please bring your ACC form that you received at the time of your injury so we can check the claim number. You should allow to be with us for at least one hour.  

    Precautions

    Your arm is moved into different positions to demonstrate the shoulder structures.  The operator will be gentle but let them know if any manipulation is painful.   What to expect? You are scanned sitting in a chair.  The radiologist or sonographer will spread a waterbased jelly on your skin over the shoulder. The ultrasound probe is then placed on the jelly, which is a sound conductor, to obtain the pictures. You will be completely unaware of the sound waves produced by the probe. There is no discomfort during the examination.   Your results All the images are assessed by the radiologist after the examination and a report is dictated.  This is sent to your referrer with copies to any other health professional if asked for on the request form.

    Charges

    Prices are an indication only and patients may be eligible for discounts.  Some examinations may be free.  Please talk to the receptionist to confirm pricing. 

    EFTPOS   This service is available at all our branches.  
     
    SURCHARGES:   There is a small surcharge on most ACC examinations and US pregnancy scans. 
     
    SX PATIENTS: For patients with Southern Cross (SX) Insurance we can get approval for your examination online and bill direct.