At The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre we have a range of modern specialist machines and techniques that create pictures or ‘images‘ of the structures and activities inside the body, including: X-rays, Fluoroscopy, OPGs (dental X-rays), Computer Tomography (CT) scans, Nuclear Medicine scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans and Ultrasound scans.
The type of scan or X-ray procedure used on patients usually depends on the symptoms and the part of body that needs to be examined. Our facilities are used mainly for diagnosing our cancer patients, but we also provide services for non-cancer patients.
Computerised Tomography (CT)
A CT scanner looks like a square polo mint and uses x-rays to produce images of any part of the body.
Patients lie on the scan table, which moves slowly through the hole. It is comfortable and is not enclosed. The x-ray tube rotates within the housing around the hole and scans the area of the body lying within the hole. The scan data is turned into cross sectional images, like the slices of a loaf of bread. When the image slices are reassembled by the computer, the result is a very detailed view of the body's interior.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces internal cross-sectional pictures of the body.
The large machine consists of a ‘tunnel’ which is open at both ends and is about four feet long. Patients lie on a couch which moves into the scanner. It uses a powerful magnetic field and radio-waves together with an advanced computer system to build up a series of detailed images, each a thin slice of the area being examined.
Our x-ray department provides x-rays, dental films (OPGs), fluoroscopy procedures such as barium meals, and ultrasound examinations.
Ultrasound is a scan used to study internal body structures. It works by sending out high frequency sound waves, directed at the internal body part being examined.
Patients lie or sit on an examination table or bed and a gel put on their skin to provide better contact between their body and the hand-held probe. The reflected sound (or ‘echoes’) that travels through the probe is recorded to create a two-dimensional image that can be viewed on a monitor.
A nuclear medicine scan or gamma camera is used to create an image of a specific organ or bone, including; heart, thyroid, lung, kidney, bladder and gall bladder scans.
We have the only gamma camera on the Wirral, providing a service for several health organisations.
PET/CT Diagnostic Imaging Service
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) produces images showing how the cells of your body are functioning.
By combining PET and CT in a single scanner, images are produced which can reveal information regarding the exact location, size, nature and extent of disease anywhere in the body with much greater detail.
Your consultant will provide you with additional information about the specific diagnostic treatment that you are planned to receive, and answer any further questions that you might have to ensure that you are fully prepared.
Radiologists are specialist doctors who carefully review all the scans and x-rays taken and make clinical reports of the findings. Our radiologists have expertise in looking at oncology images and often have to compare current and previous scans to make decisions about disease status.
Diagnostic radiographers perform the scans and x-rays and usually specialise in at least two scanning modalities.
Imaging assistants work across all areas of the department and their role is to support the qualified radiographers and provide care for our patients.
There are lots of people working ‘behind the scenes’ in the department, greeting patients and ensuring that images and reports are ready and available when needed.
Medical secretaries type the examination reports recorded digitally by the radiologists and are responsible for distributing the medical reports.
Receptionists meet, greet patients and visitors and respond to phone enquiries.
PACS / RIS Team personnel use our Radiology Information System to track all the images that are produced by the Centre (including radiotherapy images), so that we know just where they are when they are needed.
They also make sure we have images from other trusts when patients are referred here for treatment planning and comparison with previous scans as many of our patients have had images carried out at other hospitals.