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Radiology is an integral part of healthcare. Diagnostic imaging is a series of images taken of various parts of the body based on a patient’s needs. This series of tests gives physicians a unique look inside the body.

There are many types of imaging exams that can give doctors a better look at what’s going on.

Doctors rely on exams, such as X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, CT scans, and mammograms, to detect diseases and provide proper treatment and diagnosis.

For years, patients across the Rio Grande Valley have turned to South Texas Health System to provide the latest and most comprehensive imaging services in the region at its four acute care hospitals and six freestanding emergency departments.

The Advanced Imaging Centers at STHS McAllen and STHS Edinburg each house an advanced interventional radiology lab, featuring the Canon Alphenix Sky+ radiography system, which offers patients enhanced options for minimally invasive procedures. Types of interventional radiology procedures that can be performed include angioplasty, biopsy, embolization, fluoroscopy, and thrombolysis

The advantages patients have when considering interventional radiology opposed to traditional surgery include less pain, no general anesthesia, typically, faster recovery, and no hospital stay.

STHS also has six freestanding emergency rooms throughout Hidalgo County that offer a variety of diagnostic imaging services, including CT scans, digital X-rays, ultrasound, and DEXA scans. In addition, STHS ER Weslaco offers open MRI services.

“The convenience of the locations and the services we offer the community is what sets us apart, not to mention the great staff that demonstrate compassionate care once you arrive at any of our sites,” said STHS McAllen Director of Radiology & Imaging Charlie Aguirre. “Whether coming in for minor aches and sprains or life-threatening injuries and chest pain, our STHS ERs are ready.”

The new and improved radiology departments come with several upgrades, like the 3T MRI machine that generates a magnetic field twice as strong as a traditional MRI. This gives doctors a more detailed image in less time.

STHS Edinburg and McAllen have been recognized for their advanced radiology and have earned the following accolades:

  • American College of Radiology (ACR) for meeting strict certification standards (Edinburg)
  • Accreditation in MRI and Nuclear Medicine by the American College of Radiology (McAllen)
  • 2021 Women’s Choice Awards for Best Hospitals for Mammogram Imaging Center (Edinburg & McAllen)

STHS Edinburg also has a new women’s imaging suite, part of the hospital’s enhanced radiology department, that provides women requiring imaging services a spa-like experience. The Women’s Imaging Suite offers bone density scans, stereotactic breast biopsies, ultrasound scans, and enhanced mammography services, including 3D mammograms.

STHS Edinburg and McAllen both offer 2D and 3D mammograms, while the freestanding emergency rooms in Weslaco and Mission offer 2D mammograms.

“We can provide a more relaxing environment with a dedicated waiting area in our women’s imaging suite,” said Aguirre. “There, you will be greeted by our mammography team, where the patient’s exam is explained, and time is given for any questions or concerns our patients may have.”

The anatomical detail is steadily improving with technological advancements, including STHS Edinburg’s 640-slice CT machine, which is one of the most powerful tools used to diagnose cardiovascular disease. The scanner uses 80% less radiation, and the 640-slice CT scanner can image the entire heart in under three seconds.

These expanded radiology services give patients the care they need right here without leaving the Valley to receive this level of comprehensive imaging services. Everything a patient needs can be taken care of locally.

“With the commitment STHS has made to provide state-of-the-art advanced imaging technology for the communities we serve and the dedicated employees who love doing what they do, there is no need for anyone to leave the Valley any longer,” Aguirre said.

 

Selene Guerrero