UCF Pegasus Health, the physician practice of the UCF College of Medicine, now offers onsite radiology services for established patients.
“This is major step toward providing comprehensive healthcare under one roof that is convenient for our patients and mindful of their time demands,” said Maria Cannarozzi, medical director for UCF Pegasus Health who is board-certified in internal medicine. If the need for an X-ray, DEXA scan or ultrasound arises during an office visit with one of our physicians, many patients can even have their test performed on the same or next day, she said.
A state-of-the-art digital, C-arm X-ray machine was selected for optimal patient comfort. Since most X-rays can be taken while the patient is either sitting or standing, it eliminates the need for awkward and often uncomfortable transfers on and off of a traditional flat table. This is especially beneficial for patients with mobility issues, or pain from their injury or illness.
X-rays that can be conducted while the patient sits in a chair include those of the head, hands, forearms and feet. Most X-rays of areas like the spine, shoulder, scapula and sternum are done while the patient stands. However, there are some cases when patients must lie on the table. These include images of the sacroiliac joint, located the pelvic region, and the coccyx, also known as the tailbone.
X-rays conducted at UCF Pegasus Health are read by radiologists at Florida Hospital.
“When selecting equipment for our radiology department, we felt it was critical to include a DEXA scanner since about 54 million Americans have osteopenia and osteoporosis, making them more susceptible to bone fractures,” said Dr. Cannarozzi.
To determine the bone’s strength and presence of the disease, the DEXA scan (or dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) is used to calculate bone mineral density (BMD). Using two x-ray beams of different strengths, the scan measures the amount of X-ray that passes through the bones, which varies depending upon thickness. This information is used to calculate bone density by comparing the differences between the two X-ray beams.
Although osteoporosis affects the entire body, scans are typically focused on the hip and spine; the forearm can be tested in certain situations. Bone mineral density measurements taken at one area of the body are generally predictive of fractures at other areas. This process is widely regarded as the safest, most accurate way to detect the disease, which often doesn’t appear until the first break happens—typically in the hip, spine or wrist.
DEXA scans take about 10-20 minutes to complete and are painless, noninvasive and emit less radiation than traditional X-rays. Scans are read onsite by rheumatologist Shazia Beg, M.D., who treats patients at UCF Pegasus Health.
Most women age 65 and older, and men age 70 and older, should receive DEXA scans every 2 years as part of their regular health maintenance regimen. There are certain health conditions which warrant having the scan at younger ages.
The radiology department also houses a general ultrasound machine capable of evaluating multiple organ system concerns. Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive technology which uses sound waves to evaluate internal organs. Unlike DEXA or traditional X-rays, there is no radiation exposure associated with ultrasound examinations.
Ultrasound studies include examination of venous systems in the legs to detect blood clots; evaluation of arterial systems (carotid and aorta) for narrowing; and evaluation of kidneys, liver and gallbladder for multiple abnormalities.
UCF Pegasus Health patients can schedule radiology services by calling 407-882-4800.