You Have the Power to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs

      Regardless of whether you have the best possible health insurance, a middle-of-the-road plan, or no plan at all, healthcare costs are a continuing concern for the American family. Healthcare expenses continue to rise while wages have remained stagnant. As a result, healthcare costs (insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays), are eating up a larger portion of the family budget now than ever before.

      In fact, the average family spends about 10 percent of its annual income on healthcare-related expenses; up from 6.5 percent just a decade ago.

      While it may seem there?s nothing an individual or family can do about it, there is. And if enough people take these steps, we just might be able to get healthcare costs under control.

      1. Talk to your doctor about the necessity of the proposed test or procedure.

      Whether you are concerned about costs or not, this is always a good discussion to have with your provider. You should never have a test or procedure without being completely clear about why it?s necessary and how it will benefit you. There?s nothing wrong with asking about alternatives that may be just as effective and less expensive.

      2. Review your insurance coverage.
      If you have commercial or government-sponsored insurance, it?s a good idea to review your insurance coverage to determine whether the test/procedure will be covered and under what circumstances. If it?s unclear, call your insurance company or talk to your human resources department to verify coverage. Ensure that any pre-certification requirements are met. Most physician offices will take care of this for you, but it?s always a good idea to ask. More importantly, make sure all of the providers who will be involved in your care are ?in-network.? It?s a pretty unpleasant surprise to receive a balance bill for an out-of-network provider when you thought everything was taken care of.

      3. Ask how much it will cost.?
      It can be extremely difficult to get a definitive answer from hospital billing departments, benefits managers and even insurance companies. Don?t trust that online cost calculator, either! Talk to a person and take notes. Keep asking until you are quoted a price. Be sure to record who told you what it would cost and when the quote was given. You may need this when bills start arriving later. The ideal situation? Work with a provider that can tell you exactly what the cost will be ? and guarantee it ? without hassle or uncertainty. Lexington Diagnostic Center is one such facility. LDC patients know up front what their total cost will be, with no surprises later on.

      4. Don?t assume prices are the same from one provider to the next.?
      They aren?t. When it comes to medical imaging, for example, hospital costs are two to three times higher than those charged by a free-standing imaging center, such as Lexington Diagnostic Center. That?s because hospitals have to carry a lot of overhead for things like the cafeteria, laundry and even the Emergency Department. Because imaging is all they do, Lexington Diagnostic Center doesn?t have those expenses to pass along. At LDC, patients pay for imaging services. That?s it. Why does this matter? Even if you have a Cadillac health plan, there?s a good chance you?ll have to pay a co-insurance. Would you rather pay 20 percent of $2,000, or 20 percent of $800?

      5. Ask about fees over and above the actual hospital charges.
      If you?re having a lab test, an imaging study or even surgery, you?ll receive bills from more organizations than the hospital. Understanding this concept is important. When it comes to diagnostic imaging, for example, a hospital imaging department will send you its bill (the technical component) and the radiologist, who reads and interprets the exam, will send you another bill (the professional fee). When a hospital quotes their price, it is only for the technical component. The radiologist?s fee is separate. At Lexington Diagnostic Center, our price includes both the technical component and the professional fee. You never receive a bill later for the doctor who read the exam.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center has been helping patients and families in Lexington and surrounding areas save on healthcare costs for more than 30 years. Medical imaging is all we do ? and we do it extremely well.

      Next time your doctor orders a medical imaging exam for you ? MRI, CT, Ultrasound,?? tell him or her you prefer Lexington Diagnostic Center. We are conveniently located at 1725 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 100. For more information, please give us a call at (859) 278-7226.

      Take a look inside: Nuclear Medicine Studies

      Nuclear medicine studies and therapy for thyroid gland are both common procedures performed at LDC.

      When we think radioactivity, our minds naturally go to nuclear weapons or power plants. We all know radiation is DANGEROUS. But we rarely think about its beneficial uses, especially when it comes to medicine.

      But radioactivity is the energy behind one of the most useful diagnostic imaging modalities in use today: nuclear medicine. The modality is unlike any other medical imaging technique because it allows the physician to see how organs, tissues and bones function at the cellular level. Even the most powerful MRI cannot do that.

      How does it work?
      Radioactive isotopes ? called tracers ? are introduced into the body either through an injection or orally. These tracers make their way to the part of the body being studied. Interestingly, there are about 20 different radioactive isotopes that can be used and each of these tends to be attracted to certain body systems. For example, iodine-125 tends to go to the thyroid gland, making it very helpful in diagnosing hyper- and hypothyroidism.

      As the tracer makes its way to the system being studied, a special camera that measures gamma radiation, records how the system processes (uptakes) the tracer. Based on these studies, the physician can determine whether the organ or system is functioning normally on a cellular level.

      Nuclear medicine is useful in diagnosing a wide array of conditions affecting the bones, heart, lungs, liver and many other internal organs.

      Is it safe?
      Despite a 70-year track record as a safe diagnostic tool, patients sometimes express concern about a nuclear medicine study. It?s not uncommon for patients to ask ? jokingly ? if they will ?glow? after the exam. The short answer: No.

      The amount of radiation the patient receives during a nuclear medicine study is typically quite low: usually less than that received during a routine x-ray and significantly less than that received during a CT scan.

      There are three primary reasons for this. First, only a minute amount of tracer is required to capture nuclear medicine images. Tracers degrade quickly. And the body excretes them naturally, usually within 24 hours. Patients are able to resume their normal daily activities immediately following a nuclear medicine study with few restrictions. Drinking plenty of fluids will help to flush the tracer from the body.

      What is nuclear medicine used to diagnose?
      We?ve already discussed its use in diagnosing thyroid conditions. Here are some other ways nuclear medicine studies can help your physician:

      Heart
      ? visualize heart blood flow and function
      ? detect coronary artery disease
      ? assess damage to the heart following a heart attack
      ? evaluate the results of revascularization procedures
      ? detect heart transplant rejection
      ? evaluate heart function before and after chemotherapy

      Bones
      ? evaluate bones for fractures, infection and arthritis
      ? evaluate for metastatic bone disease
      ? evaluate painful prosthetic joints
      ? evaluate bone tumors
      ? identify sites for biopsy

      Brain
      ? investigate abnormalities in the brain in patients with seizures, memory loss and suspected abnormalities in blood flow
      ? detect the early onset of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer?s disease
      ? assist in surgical planning and localize seizure foci
      ? evaluate for abnormalities in a chemical in the brain involved in controlling movement in patients with suspected Parkinson?s disease or related movement disorders
      ? evaluation for suspected brain tumor recurrence, surgical or radiation planning or localization for biopsy

      Because nuclear medicine scans show function, they are very good at finding problems early in the course of a disease. Other modalities can determine the extent of the problem after physical change has occurred, but they cannot capture the damage in process.

      If your physician or provider orders a nuclear medicine study for you ? don?t worry. You won?t glow and it won?t hurt. But it will provide incredibly valuable information to your doctor that he or she can use to properly diagnose and treat your condition.

      The experts at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI performs a wide variety of nuclear medicine studies, including bone scans, liver/spleen studies, renal scans, bone marrow imaging, white blood cell imaging, gastric emptying, thyroid/parathyroid, and tumor scans.

      For more information about nuclear medicine studies at
      Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, call the office at
      (859) 278-SCAN (7226).

      You have the power to reduce your healthcare costs

      Regardless of whether you have the best possible health insurance, a middle-of-the-road plan, or no plan at all, healthcare costs are a continuing concern for the American family. Healthcare expenses continue to rise while wages have remained stagnant. As a result, healthcare costs (insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays), are eating up a larger portion of the family budget now than ever before.

      In fact, the average family spends about 10 percent of its annual income on healthcare-related expenses; up from 6.5 percent just a decade ago.

      While it may seem there?s nothing an individual or family can do about it, there is. And if enough people take these steps, we just might be able to get healthcare costs under control.

      1. Talk to your doctor about the necessity of the proposed test or procedure.

      Whether you are concerned about costs or not, this is always a good discussion to have with your provider. You should never have a test or procedure without being completely clear about why it?s necessary and how it will benefit you. There?s nothing wrong with asking about alternatives that may be just as effective and less expensive.

      1. Review your insurance coverage.

      If you have commercial or government-sponsored insurance, it?s a good idea to review your insurance coverage to determine whether the test/procedure will be covered and under what circumstances. If it?s unclear, call your insurance company or talk to your human resources department to verify coverage. Ensure that any pre-certification requirements are met. Most physician offices will take care of this for you, but it?s always a good idea to ask. More importantly, make sure all of the providers who will be involved in your care are ?in-network.? It?s a pretty unpleasant surprise to receive a balance bill for an out-of-network provider when you thought everything was taken care of.

      1. Ask how much it will cost.

      It can be extremely difficult to get a definitive answer from hospital billing departments, benefits managers and even insurance companies. Don?t trust that online cost calculator, either! Talk to a person and take notes. Keep asking until you are quoted a price. Be sure to record who told you what it would cost and when the quote was given. You may need this when bills start arriving later. The ideal situation? Work with a provider that can tell you exactly what the cost will be ? and guarantee it ? without hassle or uncertainty. Lexington Diagnostic Center is one such facility. LDC patients know up front what their total cost will be, with no surprises later on.

      1. Don?t assume prices are the same from one provider to the next.

      They aren?t. When it comes to medical imaging, for example, hospital costs are two to three times higher than those charged by a free-standing imaging center, such as Lexington Diagnostic Center. That?s because hospitals have to carry a lot of overhead for things like the cafeteria, laundry and even the Emergency Department. Because imaging is all they do, Lexington Diagnostic Center doesn?t have those expenses to pass along. At LDC, patients pay for imaging services. That?s it. Why does this matter? Even if you have a Cadillac health plan, there?s a good chance you?ll have to pay a co-pay. Would you rather pay 20 percent of $2,000, or 20 percent of $800?

      1. Ask about fees over and above the actual hospital charges.

      If you?re having a lab test, an imaging study or even surgery, you?ll receive bills from more organizations than the hospital. Understanding this concept is important. When it comes to diagnostic imaging, for example, a hospital imaging department will send you its bill (the technical component) and the radiologist, who reads and interprets the exam, will send you another bill (the professional fee). When a hospital quotes their price, it is only for the technical component. The radiologist?s fee is separate. At Lexington Diagnostic Center, our price includes both the technical component and the professional fee. You never receive a bill later for the doctor who read the exam.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center has been helping patients and families in Lexington and surrounding areas save on healthcare costs for more than 30 years. Medical imaging is all we do ? and we do it extremely well.

      Next time your doctor orders a medical imaging exam for you ? MRI, CT, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine Study ? tell him or her you prefer Lexington Diagnostic Center. We are conveniently located at 1725 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 100. For more information, please give us a call at (859) 278-7226.

      Affordable, Effective, Lung Cancer Screening & What to Know

      It should come as no surprise that Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths, especially when you consider another dubious distinction the Commonwealth holds: the highest smoking rates in the nation. Having a low-dose CT lung cancer screening is the best way to detect lung cancer early.

      The criteria for the screening are strict, but are based in medical research:

      ? be between the ages of 55 and 80 (Medicare coverage to age 77 only) and in good enough health to withstand potential treatment for cancer, should something be found.
      ? have a 30-year pack history of smoking. A 30-year pack history means the patient smoked about a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, and so on.
      ? may currently smoke, or may have quit smoking less than 15 years ago. Congrats ? after 15 years as a non-smoker, former smokers are no longer considered to be high risk!

      Lexington Diagnostic Center has been performing low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer for over a decade and the screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is very affordable. Because imaging is the focus of their business, they keep costs low and pass the savings on to our patients. LDCT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center can be hundreds of dollars less expensive than a screening performed at a local hospital.

      Talk with your primary care provider about low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and let them know you want to go to Lexington Diagnostic Center for testing. You may give LDC a?call at 859-278-7226, or contact their website at?LexingtonDiagnostic.com.

      Call & Compare Prices!

      Recently we had a patient quoted $785 for her ultrasound at her local hospital. With us, the cost was $154.07. We also had a patient who planned to pay over $500 for a nasal bone x-ray at the hospital. She called to compare prices here and ended up seeing us because we only charged her $27.30.

      We save patients hundreds of dollars every day, and the radiology reading fee is included in the price. If your healthcare provider tells you that you need an MRI, CT, x-ray, or nuclear medicine, please know you have a choice! Call and compare prices at Lexington Diagnostic Center. We would love to care for your radiology needs and your financial health.

      Take a look inside: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

      Magnetic Resonance Imaging - MRIMagnetic Resonance Imaging ? MRI ? is one of the most important developments in the field of medicine in the past 30 years. MRIs have become a virtual workhorse, allowing physicians to locate tumors and cysts, evaluate joint damage, pinpoint the cause of back pain, and diagnose a wide variety of conditions.

      MRI technology has saved patients millions of dollars in healthcare expense; shortened time to diagnosis (and thus, treatment); allowed patients to avoid exposure to radiation; and improved the quality and length of lives of people across the U.S.

      How does MRI differ from other types of medical imaging?
      First, MRI studies are performed using magnetic fields. This is unique in the diagnostic imaging world, where most studies (with the exception of ultrasound) use ionizing radiation to create images of the body. There is no radiation exposure during an MRI. Instead, the equipment uses a very strong magnetic field to align the spin of hydrogen protons in the cells of the body and radio waves to cause the protons to wobble. As they wobble, the emit radio waves, which are detected by sensors in the machine.

      Tissues that contain more water, such as muscles or the brain, emit stronger radio signals. Tissues that contain less water, such as bones, emit weaker signals. As it turns out, this is a perfect alignment of capabilities: X-rays are great at imaging dense tissues, such as bone, and poor at imaging soft tissues, such as muscles and brain.

      You?ll sometimes hear MRI machines referred to as ?3T? or ?1.5T.? These terms refer to the strength of the magnet in relationship to the magnetic field of the earth. The larger the number, the stronger the magnetic field. (The T, by the way, honors Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer and rival of Thomas Edison. He?s best known for his advocacy of and contributions to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electrical system).

      At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we have three MRI units:
      ? Our 0.6T open MRI is great for people with varying body types and those who have claustrophobia. The unit provides quality images and is open on three sides, making it possible for people who might not otherwise be able to undergo MRI to have this important test.

      ? Our 1.5T high field MRI is open on both ends, provides faster scans, and high-quality images.

      ? The 3T unit also is open on both ends and provides excellent quality, high-
      resolution images. It is excellent for orthopedic, neuro and prostate imaging.

      One of the great benefits for patients with MRI technology is that family members are usually able to accompany them in the scan room without risk of radiation exposure. Patients are able to listen to their own music (or ours) and are often in and out in less than an hour, with no restrictions on the rest of their day.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been serving the needs of patients in this area for more than 30 years, providing high-quality imaging studies; compassionate, patient-centered care; great value; and easy access to needed services.

      ?One of the most important things people need to realize about diagnostic imaging is that they can choose where they will have their testing done? said Davonna Saier, marketing director for Lexington Diagnostic Center. ?Often people think they have to go to the hospital where their doctor is for testing, but that?s not the case.?

      Because medical imaging is all lexington Diagnostic Center does, the Center is able to save its patients hundreds of dollars off the price of the same exam performed at a hospital ? These days, when patients are responsible for more and more of their healthcare costs, it really pays to shop around,? Saier said.

      In addition, the cost of reading and interpreting the MRI exam (the radiologist fee) is included. Lexington Diagnostic Center patients save significantly, while receiving top-notch care and quality.

      Understanding Diagnostic Imaging: The CT Scan

      Lightspeed 16 Understanding Diagnostic Imaging The CT Scan
      Today, the ease with which modern medicine diagnoses illnesses and injuries is almost taken for granted. It seems as though there?s almost nothing that cannot be discovered, diagnosed and treated.

      It wasn?t always that way.

      One of the most important developments in modern medicine was harnessing the power of X-rays to peer inside the human body. Before 1895, when X-rays were first used in medicine, physicians relied almost entirely upon the physical exam, their own knowledge and a little bit of luck to diagnose broken bones, tumors and even gunshot wounds.

      Today, physicians still use their knowledge and expertise ? but those aren?t the only tools available to them. Modern imaging techniques allow physicians to see inside the brain, lungs, heart, abdomen, joints, spine ? just about every body structure. We have technology not just to see organs, but to see them at work.

      One of the most powerful tools in the medical imaging arsenal is computed axial tomography, also known as CAT scan or CT scan. The CT scan is a relatively new technology, that uses X-rays along with computer technology to produce high-definition, detailed images of the soft tissues of the body. Its primary uses are in imaging the brain, lungs, pulmonary arteries, spine, and joints.

      British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield and South African physicist Allan Cormack invented CT scan technology, in 1972, with a research budget of just $40,000. The very first scan took nine days to complete and used gamma radiation. The scan involved 160 passes around the object, one degree at a time. The computed part of the scan took several additional days to complete.

      By using x-rays rather than gamma rays, the pair were able to reduce scan times significantly (to nine hours). By 1974, the technology was ready for medical application. These first scanners could only be used on the head and brain. In 1976, CT scanners were able to scan larger body parts, including the chest.

      Fortunately, scanning and computer technology have improved vastly since CT technology was first introduced. Today, a chest CT takes just a matter of seconds, and results are available almost immediately.

      Hounsfield and Cormack won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology with their medical innovation. Just as importantly, physicians gained access to a powerful new tool that has dramatically improved the ability to diagnose, treat and monitor disease. There are about 6,000 CT scanners in the U.S. today, with more than 72 million CTs performed annually.

      CT scanning technology has helped patients by reducing uncertainty, trial-by-error and the need for exploratory surgery. One of the most exciting developments in CT scan technology is its use as a screening tool for lung cancer. It is the first, and only, screening that has been recognized by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force as highly effective. Lexington Diagnostic Center has led the region in offering the service for more than 10 years.

      ?CT scanning technology really revolutionized medicine,? said radiologist Jason Harris, M.D., medical director/owner of Lexington Diagnostic Center. ?But as with everything we do in medicine, there are potential risks,? he noted. Among these is that CT scans expose patients to ionizing radiation, roughly equivalent to that of 200 chest x-rays. ?As powerful as this technology is, a patient should have a CT scan only when it is really necessary,? he noted.

      To further ensure safety, patients should verify that any facility where they might receive testing follows the strictest protocols for safety and is accredited by an independent accreditation organization. Accreditation is the public?s assurance that the center meets or exceeds accepted safety standards including ALARA standards (As Low As Reasonably Achievable). Lexington Diagnostic Center is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for CT services.

      Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center

      Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic CenterIt should come as no surprise that Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths, especially when you consider another dubious distinction the Commonwealth holds: the highest smoking rates in the nation.

      Because smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer is to stop smoking. The minute you stop smoking, your body begins to heal and your risk starts to fall. Within two months of stopping, your lung function begins to improve; after 10 years, your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is 30 to 50 percent of that of a smoker.

      Regardless of whether you?ve recently quit smoking, you quit five years ago, or you continue to smoke, as they age, most people begin to think about their lungs and the damage they?ve inflicted by smoking. Unfortunately, there hasn?t always been a good way to detect lung cancer early, when the chances for a cure are greatest.

      A few years ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) came out in support of a screening exam that a large-scale study demonstrated was effective at finding lung cancer early. The test is called low-dose computed tomography, or LDCT. At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we?ve been offering this testing for over a decade, even before the USPSTF published its findings.

      Along with the USPSTF support came a recommendation that people at high risk for developing lung cancer receive the screening every year. As a result, private insurers (such as Anthem, Cigna and United Healthcare) may cover the cost of the exam for eligible patients, as do Medicare and Medicaid.

      Who?s eligible for the screening
      The criteria for the screening are strict, but are based in medical research. To be eligible for the screening:

      • The individual must be between the ages of 55 and 80 (Medicare coverage to age 77 only) and in good enough health to withstand potential treatment for cancer, should something be found.
      • The person must have a 30-year pack history of smoking. A 30-year pack history means the patient smoked about a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, and so on.
      • The individual may currently smoke, or may have quit smoking less than 15 years ago. Congrats ? after 15 years as a non-smoker, former smokers are no longer considered to be high risk!
      • Annual screening is to be discontinued when the patient has been smoke-free for 15 years or if their health declines to a level at which they would no longer be able (or interested) in curative treatment for lung cancer.

       

      It may seem odd that people who have symptoms of lung cancer are not eligible for the screening. But remember, the screening is designed to detect cancer early. If you have symptoms, by definition, early detection is off the table and a different set of protocols applies.

      What does the screening involve?
      The screening is quick, simple and painless. Patients are taken to a private room, where they may be asked to change into an exam gown. They are then positioned on a table and the technologist leaves the room. The technologist will be in constant contact with the patient throughout the exam. The table will move into the CT tube and a series of X-rays will be taken. Patients may be asked to hold their breath for short periods of time. When the exam is finished, the table will move out of the tube and the technologist will assist the patient from the table. The actual exam takes no more than 10 minutes.

      The images will be read by LDC?s radiologist and the findings sent to the referring physician within two business days.

      The Lexington Diagnostic Center advantage
      Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been performing low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer longer than any facility in the area. Our technologists and physicians are very experienced in LDCT and very sensitive to the concerns of our patients.

      Just as importantly, low-dose CT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is affordable. Because imaging is the focus of our business, we keep our costs low and pass the savings on to our patients. LDCT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is hundreds of dollars less expensive than a screening performed at a local hospital. We accept all major insurance plans and will work closely with you, your physician and your insurance company to ensure coverage for the test. You will know up front what your cost is ? no surprise bills 30, 60 or 90 days later!

      Want to know more?
      Talk with your primary care provider about low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and let them know you want to go to Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI for testing. Or, give us a call at 859-278-7226, or contact us via our website at?LexingtonDiagnostic.com.

      Don?t let bone loss cut you short!

      DEXA Scan

      Although osteoporosis has affected humans since the beginning of time, it wasn?t until 1994 that the World Health Organization officially acknowledged and defined it as a disease. Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone mass; when the body makes too little bone; or a combination of the two.

      It most commonly affects women and people over the age of 40. One in three women and one in four men over age 50 will get osteoporosis. Right now, there are 54 million Americans diagnosed with the condition.

      A fracture is the most common sign of osteoporosis. As bones lose density, they become brittle and are easily broken. The first bones to be affected are those in the spine. Each year, 750,000 Americans are diagnosed with spinal compression fractures related to osteoporosis. Another 750,000 experience fractures of the shoulder, wrist or hip related to osteoporosis.

      Individuals with spinal compression fractures often lose height (think of your grandmother or great grandmother and how she seemed to grow shorter with each passing year). A condition commonly called ?dowager?s hump? is sign of advanced osteoporosis.

      Who?s at risk
      Your risk for developing osteoporosis is greater if you:
      ? Are a postmenopausal woman
      ? Smoke/use tobacco products
      ? Have small/thin frame
      ? Suffer from an autoimmune disease
      ? Have digestive conditions such as celiac disease or IBS
      ? Have had bariatric (weight loss) surgery
      ? Have been treated for breast or prostate cancer
      ? Have blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma or sickle cell
      ? Suffer from Parkinson?s disease, have had a stroke or spinal cord injuries
      ?Suffer from, or have had, an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia
      ? Have endocrine or hormonal disorders, including diabetes and hyperparathyroidism
      ? Have other conditions such as COPD, AIDS/HIV, kidney or liver disease, malnutrition, or alcohol/drug abuse

      Certain medications, including steroids, can interfere with the body?s ability to make bone. Be sure to talk with your physician or pharmacist about all medications you may be taking.

      Detecting osteoporosis
      You can?t feel your bones getting weaker ? and waiting for a fracture to happen is a bad idea. But there is a simple test that can reveal bone loss quickly and accurately: dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA scan, for short. Most insurances, as well as Medicare, cover the cost of the test.

      DEXA scan takes about 15 minutes to complete, is completely painless and is the most accurate method for measuring bone density. Specialized x-ray equipment captures images of the hip and spine area, which is analyzed by a computer. Results are reported in the form of a T-score and Z-score.

      The T-score compares the patient?s bone density to that of a healthy 30-year-old of the same sex; the Z-score compares the results with that of an average person of the same age and sex. Lower scores mean lower bone density. A T-score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis; a T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 indicates below-normal bone density (osteopenia).

      Armed with this knowledge, the patient and primary care provider can work together to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis or to better manage it.

      At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we specialize in providing the highest-quality, customer-focused diagnostic imaging services, including DEXA scan. What?s more, our costs are always significantly lower than those at the hospital.

      Elevated PSA? Know Your Options

      Prostate Cancer ExamProstate cancer is a very common condition affecting men, primarily those over the age of 65. The American Cancer Society estimates 161,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in 2017. Fortunately, prostate cancer is usually slow growing and does not present a major health hazard to most men.

      Prostate cancer is often found through routine screening or when a man presents in his physician?s office with complaints of weak urine stream, difficulty initiating urination, pelvic pain, erectile dysfunction, the inability to empty the bladder completely, or an urge to urinate frequently.

      A digital rectal exam (DRE), is the most commonly performed screening exam. During the DRE, the physician uses a gloved, lubricated finger to feel the prostate, searching for lumps and other abnormalities. A simple blood test, called a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, can detect elevated levels that may suggest cancer. Men with a PSA between four and 10 have a 25 percent chance of having cancer; a PSA level above 10 increases the risk to 50 percent.

      The next step in diagnosing prostate cancer is typically a biopsy. During this procedure, a hollow core needle is inserted into the prostate through the rectum to retrieve tissue samples. Typically, 12 to 15 random samples are taken. Patients often receive numbing medication, but it?s important to ask.

      Although the biopsy is straightforward and often performed in the office setting, it carries with it the risk of serious infection, bleeding and even very rarely death. Men experience soreness for several days following the biopsy and may also have bleeding from the rectum, and blood in the urine and semen. Antibiotics may be prescribed for one to two days following the test.

      Biopsy results typically take several days to be available and there is always a risk of false-negative results, as detecting cancer is dependent upon a needle passing through the suspicious cells. As a result, the patient may receive an ?all-clear? when in fact cancer is present. If your physician feels strongly there may be cancer, a second biopsy may be ordered.

      An alternative to biopsy
      If biopsy sounds painful, risky, inconvenient and uncertain, there is an alternative: prostate MRI. Prostate MRI produces detailed images of the prostate, using strong magnets, radio waves and a contrast material called gadolinium. ?Looking at these images, the radiologist can help diagnose prostate cancer and see whether the cancer has spread outside of the prostate,? said Jason Harris, M.D., medical director at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI.

      ?Not only is prostate MRI much more comfortable for the man, it provides better anatomic and physiologic information, more quickly,? he noted. A prostate MRI can determine a tumor?s size, location and likelihood of malignancy. If an area is identified that looks suspicious, a more targeted biopsy can be performed and a rational treatment plan designed.

      There are no risks with prostate MRI, although patients will undergo a safety screening to ensure there are no metal implants or devices in the body that are incompatible with the procedure. Testing takes about an hour, and men can resume their normal daily activities quickly. Patients who experience claustrophobia may receive an IV sedative to ensure their comfort.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center provides prostate MRI services using its 3 Tesla Multi-parametric MRI. Men leave the center with a disc of their images and peace of mind.