Modern & Mighty
It is a phrase you may use when describing the diagnostic imaging capabilities available at Astera Health. With a complete spectrum of cutting edge imaging equipment and staff committed to providing the very best in patient care, we are committed to providing our patients an unmatched level of convenience and expertise.
Click to find out more about our dedicated providers below:
- Hoang Nguyen, MD, MMM, CPE
- Darrin J. Spoden, DO
- Nathan Danielson, DO
- Kevin Smith, MD
- Leslie Hartman, MD
- Francis Kigozi, MD
- Bonnie Fines, MD
- Bryan Brindley, MD
- Nicole Mercer Bolton, MD
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exams are a non-invasive diagnostic imaging exam of soft tissue, bone, and muscle that have become one of the fastest growing types of medical diagnostic tests in the United States. Astera’s installation of its own leading-edge MRI System, now allows patients to experience faster, more comfortable exams right here in Wadena. Providing one of the most modern diagnostic technology systems available today, Astera is the only healthcare system to provide this particular MRI system within a 45 mile radius. An integral part of Astera’s Advanced Imaging Suite, this technology provides tremendous patient benefits including:
- More personalized exams—Patients can receive exams tailored to their specific body type and needs while maximizing comfort.
- Greater diagnostic confidence—This leading edge technology provides greater diagnostic confidence with high-quality images like never before and a range of clinical applications that can help you to respond to treatment earlier than ever before.
- Faster speed & enhanced comfort—With a wider 70cm open bore design, our MRI reduces the closed-in feeling of traditional MRIs. The short magnet also allows for many exams to be performed with your patient’s head outside of the system, helping to alleviate concerns of claustrophobia
- Aesthetic comfort—Our beautiful ceiling scape and personal music capabilities allow patients to rest in comfort during their exam, helping to reduce anxiety.
Astera’s MRI system uses NO RADIATION to capture images, but rather magnets to acquire superb image quality that may be used for a wide range of medical needs — from orthopedic and sports-related injuries to breast cancer testing — and can help physicians make quicker, more accurate diagnoses. The system can provide access for patients up to 550 pounds.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scans
Furthering a commitment to provide you with the very best health care right here at home, Astera owns its own in-house 128-Slice CT Scan. This scanner utilizes leading edge technology for radiological diagnosis, scanning the whole body in seconds to provide incredibly sharp 3-D images of any organ or part of the body.
From a patient perspective, this technology helps to diagnose conditions faster and more accurately, sometimes before patients even notice any symptoms. It is adaptable to virtually any patient, young or old, and of any size, while minimizing radiation exposure.
As an ACR-accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center, AHoffers its patients a computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer. The test uses low doses of radiation and a CT scan to capture a detailed picture of the lungs.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for those at high risk for lung cancer. The Task Force identifies high-risk patients as those who:
- Are 55 to 80 years old
- Have a history of 30 pack years or more (a pack year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year)
- Are either a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with approximately 160,000 people dying from it each year. The most common type of lung cancer – non-small cell – can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough. Evidence suggests that screening detects approximately one half of lung cancer cases at an early stage at which treatment is an option.
For more information, or if you think you meet the criteria for lung cancer screening, make an appointment with your provider to discuss your options.
Medicare covers this annual screening for those who fit the criteria.
X-rays are produced in-house in one of two radiographic rooms, one of which has digital fluoroscopy technology. Digital fluoroscopy is a form of X-ray that provides very detailed, live images of function and structure of areas like the intestines, the bladder, the cardiac muscle, and the stomach. Unlike a regular X-ray, which records the single image to film, digital fluoroscopy records a series of images to a computer.
Digital breast tomosynthesis (tomo), also known as 3D mammography, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer. During the 3D part of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be viewed by our radiologists as individual images or in a dynamic interactive animation. 3D mammography is often used in combination with 2D digital mammography.
Benefits of 3D Mammography
Two of the top benefits of 3D mammography are improving the early detection of breast cancer and providing peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy. This increased accuracy reduces the number of call-backs, sparing women the anxiety, inconvenience, and expense of coming back for further imaging.
How is 3D mammography different from 2D?
Traditional digital mammography takes two-dimensional pictures of the breast and is still an effective tool for detecting breast abnormalities. Rather than viewing the breast tissue in 2D images, with 3D images our radiologists can now examine the tissue one thin layer at a time, making fine details more visible and less likely to be hidden by overlapping tissue.
Do I need a referral for a 3D mammogram?
Patients 40 or older do not need a written referral from their healthcare provider for a routine annual mammogram. Patients younger than 40 will need a written referral. This technology has become our new standard of care and is available to all patients for screening and diagnostic mammograms.
Is there increased radiation with 3D mammography?
3D mammography is quite safe. Radiation exposure to the breast is very low. In fact, the radiation dose for a combined 2D/3D mammography exam is well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA, and is only a fraction of the level of radiation you receive from natural sources.
What can patients expect during a 3D mammogram?
3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography. No additional breast compression is required and it only takes a few more seconds. The experience will be very similar to mammograms patients have had in the past. As is typical with any mammogram exam, some women experience minor discomfort and others experience no discomfort at all.
With 3D mammography, do I still need an annual screening?
Yes. All women are at risk for breast cancer, regardless of symptoms or family history. Mammograms often can detect potential problems before they can be felt. Early detection greatly increases treatment options and the likelihood of successful recovery. Although 2D/3D combination exams have been proven to detect more cancers, it is still recommended that all women 40 or older receive a routine screening mammogram every year.
Is 3D mammography safe for women with breast implants?
Yes. Mammography, both 2D and 3D, is safe for women with breast implants. Most breast implants are designed to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure. A mammogram generates an average of 20 lbs. of pressure.
Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsies
A minimally invasive breast biopsy (or Stereotactic Breast Biopsy) is a procedure that uses mammography to precisely identify and biopsy an abnormality within the breast. It is normally done when the radiologist sees a suspicious abnormality on your mammogram that can’t be felt in a physical exam. This procedure will help determine whether or not you have breast cancer or any other concerning abnormalities in your breast.
Utilizing 3D Mammography as a guide, stereotactic breast biopsies use mammographic images to locate and target the area of concern and to help guide the biopsy needle to a precise location. This technique helps ensure that the area that is biopsied is the exact area where the abnormality was seen on the mammogram. After the sample is collected it is sent to a lab for testing.
Why is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Performed?
A breast biopsy is typically done to investigate irregularities (such as a lump) in the breast. A breast lump may be frightening. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, breast lumps are often benign (non-cancerous). A breast biopsy is typically done if your doctor becomes concerned following a mammogram or breast ultrasound. Your doctor may also order these tests if a lump was discovered during a physical exam.
Benefits of a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Quite simply, a stereotactic breast biopsy is less invasive than a surgical biopsy, requires less recovery time, and causes minimal scarring.
Are There Risks with a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
If you are pregnant or concerned you may be pregnant, radiation from the X-rays may be harmful to your unborn child. Be sure to tell your doctor so alternative biopsy methods can be considered. Complications from a biopsy are rare. The risks associated with the procedure are outweighed by the benefits of having potentially cancerous calcifications inspected. Remember, the quicker breast cancer is detected, the faster your treatment can begin.
How to Prepare for a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Before your breast biopsy, tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially any history of allergic reactions to anesthesia. Also be sure to mention any medications you may be taking, including over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or supplements.You’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You should avoid using moisturizer on your breast and remove all jewelry and any body piercings before the biopsy.
After a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
You will be able to go home after your stereotactic breast biopsy. The samples of your tissue will be sent to the lab. You will be given instructions on how to care for the biopsy site at home. This includes keeping it clean and changing the bandages to prevent infection. You should contact your doctor if you develop a fever greater than 100°F or experience redness, warmth, or discharge from the site. These are all signs of infection.
After a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
You will be able to go home after your stereotactic breast biopsy. The samples of your tissue will be sent to the lab. You will be given instructions on how to care for the biopsy site at home. This includes keeping it clean and changing the bandages to prevent infection. You should contact your doctor if you develop a fever over 100°F or experience redness, warmth, or discharge from the site. These are all signs of infection.
Using minimally invasive techniques that involve tiny incisions, small catheters and/or needles, Astera Health can target and treat problem areas in nearly every organ system. Procedures involve less pain, less risk and shorter recovery times.
Our experienced special procedures team offers advanced technology and precise techniques to help you get the best possible diagnosis and treatment, often without surgery. Procedures offered at Astera Health include:
- Stereotactic breast biopsies. This is a procedure that uses mammography to precisely identify and biopsy an abnormality within the breast. It is normally done when the radiologist sees a suspicious abnormality on a mammogram that can’t be felt in a physical exam.
- Ultrasound & CT Guided Biopsies. An image guided biopsy is generally performed when an abnormal mass or lump has been found in an organ (thyroid, liver, kidney, lung, etc.) or body part (bone, abdomen, pelvis, lymph nodes, etc.). A biopsy is the most definitive way to determine if the abnormal tissue is cancerous.
- Arthrography. Medical imaging used in the evaluation of joints.
- Echocardiography. Also called an echo test or heart ultrasound, this is a test that takes “moving pictures” of the heart with sound waves.
- Back and joint injections. Imaging-guided techniques or computed tomography (CT) increase the precision of back and joint injections. These techniques can provide better results and reduced complication rates.
- Nuclear cardiology studies. Nuclear cardiology uses non-invasive techniques to evaluate how well a heart is pumping, analyze the presence and severity of coronary plaque and fat, visualize the size and location of a heart attack, and measure myocardial blood flow.
- Bone densitometry, or DEXA. This non-invasive procedure allows for accurate assessment of bone density and detection of clinically significant changes in bone mass or conditions such as osteoporosis.
- Venous Incompetency. Astera Health can assess your clinical situation through a thorough history, a clinical examination and, in many cases, a duplex ultrasound examination of your venous system. Vein Ablation is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for venous insufficiency that is performed using ultrasound guidance.