Computer Connectivity with Area Physicians

Imaging studies performed at Cayuga Medical Center facilities are digital and appear on a computer monitor (instead of film). Immediately after imaging studies are completed, they are sent directly to our PACS (picture archival and communication system) and a radiologist receives electronic notification that the study is ready for review. The result is fast, comprehensive care. For patients awaiting potentially worrisome news, faster care is more compassionate care.

Here’s how it works.

  • Our radiologists use a state-of-the-art voice recognition system, which is extremely efficient and eliminates the need for transcription. This enables them to view patients’ images right away and dictate their reports, which appear on the screen next to the images
  • Depending on the particular imaging study, referring doctors may receive test results the same day, usually within two to four hours of when the study is done.
  • Via a secure Internet connection, our referring doctors can view their patients’ imaging studies and the radiologist reports in their offices.

Electronic Consultation

You can request that copies of your imaging study be sent elsewhere, in the event you are relocating or you are seeking a second opinion from one of our affiliates or other major medical center. Your studies can be sent electronically or can be provided to you on a CD to carry with you.

Diagnostic Imaging Services: Offering the Full Spectrum

Cayuga Medical Center offers the most comprehensive array of imaging technology in the region. The following is a summary of our imaging capabilities, including a brief explanation of what each imaging method is and when it is recommended.

You can also obtain detailed information on specific imaging exams, what to expect, and how to prepare for your own imaging exam by clicking on Patient Information on Imaging Exams.

CT Scan (computed tomography scan)

CT Scan is a powerful diagnostic tool that utilizes x-ray and a state-of-the-art computer to create both cross-sectional and 3-D images of the body’s muscles, bones, and organs.

Imaging Services at Cayuga Medical Center has expanded CT scanning capabilities with five accredited scanners across our three facilities. These include a 64-slice CT scanner at the main campus, a 32-slice CT scanner in the Emergency Department (ED), and 16-slice scanners at the main campus and at both Convenient Care Centers in Ithaca and Cortland. The additional scanner in the ED enables physicians to quickly rule out life-threatening problems, such as pulmonary embolism in patients with chest pain, which is one of the most frequent causes of death in the US and requires emergency treatment.

  • All of our CT scanners feature Real Exposure Control, which reduces the patient dose of radiation up to 40 percent based on patient anatomy.
    Our CT tables can support up to 450 pounds. Unlike most systems, our tables can be lowered to 12 inches from the ground, making it easier for patients in wheelchairs to transfer to the exam table.
  • All of our CT scanners have large openings, extra wide tables, and are equipped for scanning tall patients.
  • The large-bore scanner at Cayuga Medical Center is one of three CT scanners at the main campus. This particular scanner is used for special procedures and has respiratory gaiting for oncology treatment planning.
  • As a Designated Stroke Treatment Center, Cayuga Medical Center’s CT depart- ment complies with all of the time and image requirements for mergent diagnosis of stroke.
  • All of our full-time CT technologists are nationally registered in CT or are newly eligible for the exam.

CTA (Computed Tomography Angiography)

CTA provides radiologists with a way to view the anatomy of the blood vessels in the body to help diagnose problems such as a narrowing or blockage in the vessel. This imaging technology is often used to look for narrowing of the carotid arteries, which indicates increased risk for stroke.

CTA has surpassed diagnostic catheter angiography in terms of speed and accuracy. Unlike catheter angiography, CTA is not invasive; it requires only an IV injection. 3-D workstations for CTA enable our neuroradiologist to view all of the arteries and veins in the body. He can locate the specific area of interest in a matter of only a few minutes. In the brain, our imaging system is capable of producing images so clear that the diagnostic interpretations are 98 to 100 percent sensitive and specific. This enables us to identify aneurysms as small as 3 mm, as well as differentiate true aneurysms from small focal dilations occasionally seen at the origins of arteries, even in patients experiencing a significant intracranial sub-arachnoid hemorrhage.

DEXA Scan (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry)

DEXA Scan is the most advanced technique available for measuring bone-mineral density (bone mass) precisely and safely, using a very low exposure to radiation. DEXA scanners at Cayuga Medical Center measure the bone density in the lumbar spine and both hips, whereas most centers typically measure only one hip.

DEXA is considered to be the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density. It is most often performed on the lower spine, hips, and wrists. In children and some adults, the entire body may be scanned. DEXA uses only a small dose of ionizing radiation.

Bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:

  • are a post-menopausal woman who is not taking hormone replacement therapy
  • have a personal or family history of hip fracture or osteoporosis
  • are a current smoker or have a history of smoking
  • are a woman who is tall (68 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds)
  • use medications such as corticosteroids, antiseizure medications, or thyroid replacement drugs that are associated with bone loss
  • have type 1 (juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes), liver disease, or kidney disease
  • have hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism
  • have experienced a fracture as a result of mild trauma

DEXA test results show two scores:
T Score is the number that shows the amount of bone you have compared with a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. A score above -1 is considered to be normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 is classified as osteopenia (low bone mass). A score below -2.5 is indicates osteoporosis. The T score is used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture.

Z Score reflects the amount of bone you have compared with other people in your age group who are the same size and gender. If this score is unusually high or low, your doctor may recommend further medical tests.

Diagnostic x-ray

Diagnostic x-ray is the most common exam ordered. As with all of our imaging modalities, x-rays performed at Cayuga Medical Center are digital.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is one of the most advanced, non-invasive techniques available for examining the human body. A valuable diagnostic tool, MRI creates detailed images of anatomic structures by using a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and computers. At Cayuga Medical Center’s three Imaging Services sites we offer the most advanced technology on the market today. Our short bore MRI scanners comfortably accommodate people of all sizes and feature music systems, enhanced lighting and airflow for patient comfort.

CMC is proud to offer premier MRI capabilities at all three campuses.

All three MRIs are accredited by the American College of Radiology and all of our MRI technologists are nationally registered in MRI and certified for injections.

The main campus and our Cortland campus have identical new 1.5 Tesla MRIs. These systems offer excellent general imaging as well as the ability to image and biopsy those breast patients that cannot be completed in the 3T due to contraindications.

The 3T MRI is located at our East campus and provides exquisite detail for small parts including neuro cases for cranial nerves and musculoskeletal cases including the ligaments of the hands, wrists, feet and ankles. Breast imaging is also available on the 3T with the Sentinel breast imaging coil and biopsy system.

  • All three sites feature state-of-the-art GE MRI systems which include the new GEM coil package which enhances image quality and reduces examination time.
  • All feature short, wide-bore architecture to mitigate claustrophobia:
    • Designed to reduce patient anxiety by providing more space inside the bore.
    • Able to perform more exams with the patient’s head outside of the magnet.
  • Music systems, enhanced lighting, and increased airflow all increase patient comfort.
  • Accommodate all body shapes up to 500 pounds.
  • The MRI at Convenient Care Cortland is now permanent and is housed in a new addition to the Cortland Convenient Care Center.

When a patient or physician’s office calls to schedule an MRI, the patient will first be scheduled for a screening phone interview with a member of the MRI staff. This is very much like a pre-admission-testing phone call for surgery patients. This screening phone call will include:

  • A review of the patient’s medical history
  • Patient education about the requested exam
  • A determination of whether lab work is required
  • A determination of which scanner is appropriate, based on the exam ordered and the patient’s history
  • An overview of our locations

After the scheduled phone screening is completed, the MRI staff member will transfer the call to scheduling and will notify both the scheduler and the patient about which scanner/site the patient is cleared for. The scheduler and the patient will then pick a date and time for that site.


Mammography is an x-ray examination of the breasts. For patient convenience, digital mammography is available at our three Imaging Services sites in Ithaca and Cortland. Mammography exam results are available to every patient before she leaves her appointment. If additional mammography views or an ultrasound are needed, those studies are performed during the same visit.

Same-day Mammogram Results
Cayuga Medical Center was the first hospital in the area to provide same day mammogram results. Each patient has the option to see one of our board certified radiologists following her mammogram and receive her test results.

Digital Mammography
Ours was also one of the first imaging centers in the area to offer full-field digital mammography, which provides many significant advantages over analog (film) mammography.

  • One of the major benefits of digital mammography is speed. Because the images are digital there is no waiting time while films are processed and reviewed. Images are available to the technologist and radiologist within seconds, allowing quick review of the images by the radiologist and rapid determination regarding additional images or studies needed.
  • Digital mammography exposes patients to a reduced dose of radiation.
  • Digital mammography features digital storage and transmission of images, eliminating lost studies and eventually eliminating the need for a film library. Images can be sent electronically to several treating physicians or given to the patient without a loss of quality. This is an important improvement in patient care, particularly for newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer.
  • There is virtually complete elimination of film artifacts.
  • Each mammogram is read by an experienced radiologist and is also sent through our computer-aided detection (CAD) system, which enables our radiologists to be more effective in their interpretation
  • Referring physicians have the ability to view your mammogram on their office computer via a secure Internet connection.
  • Our mammography technologists are all NYS licensed and registered and are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technology. They participate in continuing education every year and are held to the highest standards with additional FDA certification in compliance with the Federal Mammography Quality Standards Act.

Nuclear Imaging

Nuclear Imaging is used to evaluate the function of a body organ, as well as its anatomy. It has both diagnostic capabilities and valuable therapeutic applications.

Cayuga Medical Center has two hybrid nuclear medicine/CT cameras in our Imaging Services Department, which combine single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with CT imaging. The systems integrate nuclear medicine studies (which measure function and metabolic abnormalities) with CT images that show detailed anatomy. By registering both images in a complete picture during a single exam, we can identify precisely where a detected hot spot is located.

The new SPECT/CT technology produces more accurate studies with crisper images. And because these cameras work faster, the procedures are completed more quickly and our patients spend less time on the table.

Nuclear Cardiac Stress Test

In this particular type of cardiac stress test radioactive materials called tracers are used to capture images of the heart functioning.

To get your heart muscle working hard, you may be asked to exercise on a treadmill for several minutes. When you cannot exercise any more, a tiny amount of tracer will be introduced into your body through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. You will then wait 30 minutes before scanning. As the tracer travels through your heart, a special imaging camera (called a Gamma camera) detects the material and captures images of the blood flow in your heart muscle. If you are unable to exercise, you may be administered a drug to get your heart muscle working hard.

PET/CT Scan (Positive Emission Tomography)

PET/CT Scan uses small amounts of radioactive tracers that are attracted to specific organs, bones, or tissues in the body and is used to diagnose and treat disease. This technology combines CT and nuclear scanning to create 3-D images of the body’s organs while they function.

Ultrasound (also called Sonography)

Ultrasound like MRI, this test examines the human body without radiation and uses high frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of internal organs, tissues, and blood vessels. It is also used as a noninvasive method to further evaluate and visualize suspicious mammogram findings.

Cayuga Medical Center has eight ultrasound systems among our three imaging locations at the main campus and the east and Cortland campuses. These state-of-the art systems are fully digital, which results in extremely clear images. One of our ultrasound systems is portable. This enables us to provide bedside imaging for inpatients too sick to be transported, which increases patient safety and helps to improve outcomes.

Additional benefits include:

  • Our three locations are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR accreditation ensures that our patients receive high quality ultrasound and vascular imaging.
  • All of our sonographers are registered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This assures the public that they are having their exams performed by competent sonographers who have passed rigorous examinations that document their excellence in ultrasound and vascular imaging.

Women’s Imaging

Premier Service

We understand women at Cayuga Medical Center. We know that mammograms make women anxious and that waiting for exam results is stressful. We know that safety, comfort, and leading-edge technology are patient-care essentials. And we know that women want individualized, personal care.

All women having mammograms at Cayuga Medical Center, east campus and Cortland campus learn the results of their mammograms before the end of their imaging appointment. We have been providing this high level of service for many years.

State-of-the-Art Women's Imaging Center

Cayuga Medical Center provides women’s imaging services at all three campuses, including the main campus, east campus and Cortland campus. Our centers were designed with the special needs and desires of women in mind. Access is easy, the setting is private, and all of the imaging modalities necessary for women’s health care are located there.

In 2012 services at the Women’s Imaging Center were enhanced with the addition of a new powerful 3.0 Tesla MRI, which has special capabilities for both breast imaging and performing MRI-guided breast biopsies.

Spectrum of Care

Cayuga Medical Center’s Women’s Imaging Services provide the full spectrum of care. Our services are cutting-edge, compassionate, and comprehensive.

  • State-of-the-art digital mammography, ultrasound, and DEXA scan
  • 3.0 Tesla MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which enhances breast-imaging capabilities by providing more detailed images to help differentiate breast tumors from surrounding normal tissues. This MRI is so spacious the radiologists are able to do MR-guided breast biopsies right inside the bore of the magnet.
  • A staff of expert, empathetic professionals who specialize in breast care and who are genuinely concerned about the experience of each and every one of their patients. Only radiologic technologists who are women and who are certified in mammography perform mammograms.
  • Immediate access to the board certified radiologist who reviewed the exam when patients have questions or concerns.
  • Separate and discreet mammography suites at all three Imaging Services sites, for privacy and comfort.
  • The full scope of services, including screening for prevention and early detection of problems, prompt and accurate diagnosis of health issues such as breast disease, osteoporosis, and other women’s health issues; access to the very latest treatment protocols, educational programs, and emotional support.
  • Accreditation by the American College of Radiology of all breast care facilities.
  • Board certified radiologists and mammography, ultrasound, and MRI technologists
  • A Cancer Care Program that is certified by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
  • An active network of community services

Interventional Care

Interventional care comprises exams that require either the introduction of a contrast medium into the bloodstream or an invasive procedure that requires a brief recuperation period. These studies highlight blood vessels, various body organs, and the spinal cord and canal. Image-guided biopsies guide the radiologist or surgeon quickly and accurately to the tissue in question. Our Philips Digital Interventional Angiography Suite features real-time 3-D modeling capabilities, giving us several significant advantages in manipulating catheters to sites of pathology.

Interventional Modalities


Arthrography is an imaging modality that visualizes joints in motion, using a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy. Arthrography may be performed using x-ray, MRI, or CT.

Arthrography is used to evaluate abnormalities in the joints and to diagnose unexplained pain or malfunction. These images help doctors determine the cause of the pain and how best to treat it.

Image-guided Breast Biopsy

Image-guided Breast Biopsy is a nonsurgical method of collecting breast tissue for microscopic analysis. Image guidance is also used to drain certain types of abscesses.

This type of biopsy is usually recommended to evaluate a finding on a mammogram.

Radiologists at Cayuga Medical Center use a variety of imaging modalities to pinpoint the exact location of the biopsy site, including stereotactic (low-dose x-ray) guidance, MR imaging, and ultrasound. Each of these approaches has difference advantages, depending on the individual patient’s circumstances and preferences.


Myelography examines the spinal cord and canal for injury or disease. This imaging method uses a special camera called a fluoroscope.

A myleogram may be performed to identify a herniated disk, tumor, infection, or narrowing of the spinal canal caused by arthritis.

Virtual Colonoscopy

Virtual Colonoscopy uses CT scanning to visualize the large intestine (colon). This diagnostic procedure enables a medical specialist to examine the lining of the large intestine for any abnormalities.

Virtual colonoscopy is an important screening exam for colon cancer. In examining the lining of the colon, doctors can detect precancerous nodules that, left untreated, can develop into colon cancer. It is important to note that a virtual colonoscopy is performed only when a standard diagnostic colonoscopy has failed.

Vascular (Blood Flow)

Vascular (Blood Flow) studies are noninvasive tests performed with duplex ultrasound. Harmless high-frequency sound waves bounce off the body’s internal structures and are processed electronically to yield information about blood flow and the condition of the arteries and veins.

This test is used to diagnose suspected artery disease and other blood vessel problems. Our vascular technologists perform both arterial and venous testing.

Multidisciplinary Thyroid Nodule Clinic

Approximately eight percent of all thyroid nodules are cancerous, and yet, in typical medical communities, completing the diagnostic work-up can take weeks. Under the leadership of endocrinologist Dr. Adam Law, Cayuga Medical Center has established the Multidisciplinary Thyroid Nodule Clinic, which meets twice a month.

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