Services

Using state-of-the-art technology, Radiology Associates utilizes the most effective imaging practices, including MRI, Ultrasound, Mammography, and more.

3D Mammography – Breast Tomosynthesis

Radiology Associates provides comprehensive breast imaging services for the women of the central coast. We are pleased to offer patients breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography), a breakthrough technology poised to revolutionize how breast cancer is detected today.

Breast tomosynthesis is an imaging technology that acquires a series of low-dose projection images of the compressed breast at different angles.  The system produces thin slices of the breast, allowing radiologists to step through slices one-millimeter at a time.  Unlike a traditional mammogram, the slices separate objects at different heights in the breast.

Reviewing breast tissue slice by slice allows the radiologist to view breast tissue in a way never before possible.

Currently, digital mammography along with a manual breast exam by both the patient and a trained health care provider offer the best available screening method for breast cancer. This strategy has been shown to reduce breast cancer mortality.

Technology continues to evolve and advanced imaging modalities like MRI are now being used to help evaluate certain breast conditions.

Exam Prep

2D and 3D Mammograms – On the day of your exam please DO NOT use deodorant, talcum powder, or perfume above the waist.

Mammogram with Added Views – Exam can take up to an hour

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy  – Patient must have a driver

Click on the links below for more information:

Schedule Your Mammogram

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

FAQ Mammo

2D vs 3D

Locations of Service

Radiology Diagnostic Center – Templeton (805) 434-0829

Digital Medical Imaging – Santa Maria  (805) 928-3673

Hysterosalpingography

Hysterosalpingography is a procedure where contrast is injected into the uterine cavity through the cervix and images are obtained of the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes. The procedure is usually ordered for patients with infertility or who have recurrent abortions. For those patients with blocked tubes, the Radiology Associates Interventional Radiology Team offers a minimally-invasive procedure (Fallopian Tube Recanalization) where the tubes are opened by passing a small wire through the fallopian tubes.

Exam Prep

Please refrain from all sexual activity beginning the first day of your menstrual cycle until after your appointment.  If there is any chance that you may be pregnant this test CANNOT be performed.

Locations of Service

Five Cities Medical Imaging (805) 779-7900
Radiology Diagnostic Center (805) 434-0829
Digital Medical Imaging (805) 928-3673
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center (805) 546-7676
French Hospital Medical Center (805) 542-6392

Bone Density Screening

The American College of Radiology recommends screening for the identification of low bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk. Screening is recommended for postmenopausal females, greater than 50 years old; Males greater than 50 years old with risk factors; All races.

Noninvasive measurement of bone mineral density is a technology that benefits both the patient and society through its potential to decrease the morbidity, mortality, and cost of fractures associated with osteoporosis through early detection and treatment.

Bone densitometry is the only technology available for accurately measuring bone mass or predicting fracture risk.

At Radiology Diagnostic Center – RDC in Templeton: Bone density can be measured using a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) Scan. A DEXA Scan uses two different X-ray beams to estimate bone density in your spine and hip. The amounts of each X-ray beam that are blocked by bone and soft tissue are compared to each other. Bones with higher mineral density allow less of the X-ray beam to pass through them. The test uses very low doses of radiation and can measure as little as 2% of bone loss per year.

At Five Cities Medical Imaging (Pismo Beach) and Digital Medical Imaging (Santa Maria): Bone density can be measured by a QCT Bone Density Scan. Because the QCT of the spine is the most precise bone mass measurement available, it is the best way to monitor any change in a patient’s bone mass. QCT can measure bone mass within 0.7% – 1.1% of your true bone mass. With QCT of the spine, we provide the best, most accurate method for monitoring therapy, should you be placed on bone-building drugs.

Low bone density means you are at risk or may have Osteoporosis. Our QCT and DEXA bone density examinations are painless and take about 5 minutes.

Locations of Services

Radiology Diagnostic Center – Templeton 805-434-0829
Five Cities Medical Imaging – Pismo Beach 805-779-7900
Digital Medical Imaging – Santa Maria 805-928-3673

Prep:

DEXA & QCT

*Arrive at least 15 min prior to your scheduled exam to complete paperwork.

*Please wear clothing without buttons or zippers, if possible.

INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY

Minimally-Invasive Image-Guided Surgery

Interventional radiologists are physicians who are specially trained to perform minimally-invasive image-guided surgery. Interventional radiologists diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions using very small tools that are guided by X-rays, ultrasound, and CT. In general, these procedures are easier for people to tolerate than conventional surgery because of smaller incisions, less pain and shorter hospital stays.

The Radiology Associates Interventional Radiology Team

Radiology Associates has been providing excellent interventional radiologic services for years. Drs. Stephen Holtzman, Jaywant Parmar, Timothy Auran and Laura Traube currently make up the Interventional Radiology Team.

These physicians are committed to creating a comprehensive interventional radiology department. Their mission is to improve the health of the people of the Central Coast via close collaboration with local and regional medical experts and providing cutting-edge minimally-invasive image-guided procedures.

To schedule a consultation or procedure please have your referring physician send the following:  Order, Patient Demographics/ Insurance information/ Authorization for visit (if required)/ H&P with medication list/ and Prior Imaging Reports related to the diagnoses.  Please fax to 805-461-5570.  For questions, contact the IR Coordinator at 805-792-0115.

Cardiac Imaging

Radiology Associates of San Luis Obispo offers a multitude of diagnostic cardiac imaging services.

Nuclear Medicine (French Hospital, Sierra Vista Hospital)

Myocardial perfusion imaging (Sestamibi, Thallium, Persantine)
Ventriculography
Myocardial viability

Computed Tomography (Five Cities Medical Imaging, Digital Medical Imaging, Radiology Diagnostic Center)

Coronary Artery Screening (Cardiac Scoring)
Coronary Computerized Angiography (Five Cities Medical Imaging)

Cardiac MRI (Five Cities Medical Imaging, Digital Medical Imaging)

Myocardial perfusion
Myocardial viability
Ejection fraction
Wall motion analysis
Valvular stenosis/regurgitation

MRI & Open MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is one form of imaging used by physicians to obtain clinically useful diagnostic information. Incorporating advanced technology, MRI produces images of anatomy without the use of radiation required with other imaging modalities, such as x-ray or computed tomography.

MRI combines the physical properties of strong magnetic fields with radio waves to produce computer-generated soft tissue images within any plane of the body.

This popular imaging technique can be used as a primary diagnostic tool to provide a quick and accurate diagnosis for your physician.

In some situations, this procedure can reduce the need for further diagnostic procedures or invasive procedures, such as exploratory surgery, that may have associated complications.

Radiology Associates offers the only true Open MRI system on the Central Coast, in our Santa Maria office, giving you almost 360° visibility and unlimited access to loved ones during your exam for extra comfort. Add that to the high-field technology your doctor needs and you have the ultimate MRI experience.

Central Venous Access Catheters & Gastrostomy (Feeding) Tubes

Central Venous Access Catheters (CVAC) and Gastrostomy (Feeding) Tubes – People with certain diseases or medical conditions sometimes require that tubes be placed into the body

Catheter and Tube Information from the Society of Interventional Radiology

Positron Emission Tomography

What is a PET Scan?
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show this activity. 

The scans range in time from 20-40 minutes, but you will be asked to arrive early to allow the tracer time to adhere to areas of high metabolic activity.

A PET scan may help identify a variety of conditions, including many cancers and brain disorders. The pictures from a PET scan provide information different from that shown by other types of scans, such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Types of PET Scans

  • Whole Body PET
    • FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose)
      • Used for Multiple Myeloma, Melanoma, Bone Mets, Mass or Tumor on Extremities, Sarcoma, Merkel Cell
    • F-18 Sodium Fluoride
      • Used for concern for Bone Mets related to Prostate and Breast Cancer
  • Skull to Mid-Thigh PET
    • FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose)
      • Used for all cancers except those listed above in Whole-Body PET FDG
    • Ga-68 Dotatate
      • Used for Neuroendocrine Tumors
    • Axumin (Fluciclovine F-18)
      • Used for recurring Prostate Cancer with increasing PSA levels
  • Head Only PET
    • FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose)
      • Used for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
    • Beta Amyloid
      • Used for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

How to Prep for Your PET Scan

CT Scan

Computed tomography, or CT scans, use a thin x-ray beam to take image slices of the body. There are many reasons one may need a CT scan. Common reasons include severe headache, neck or back pain, neck masses, cancer diagnosis, staging, and follow-up, evaluation of an abnormal CXR, abdominal pain, head, spine, chest or body trauma, bone disease, endocrine problems, liver and kidney pathology just to name a few. CT scans are also used for lung cancer, cardiac and whole body screening. Radiology Associates provides advanced CT scanning using state-of-the art equipment.

Locations of Service

  • Five Cities Medical Imaging
  • Digital Medical Imaging
  • Radiology Diagnostic Center

Procedure Requirements

  • CT Chest with IV Contrast
    • No food or drink 2 hours before the exam.
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing preferably without buttons or zippers.
  • CT Abdomen and/or Pelvis with IV and Oral Contrast: CT Abdomen and Pelvis Prep
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing preferably without buttons or zippers.
  • CT Spine or CT without Contrast
    • No prep
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing preferably without buttons or zippers.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create real-time images with the body. The main uses are vascular, prenatal, genitourinary and abdominal imaging. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate palpable breast masses or abnormalities found on mammography.

Biopsies are often performed using ultrasound guidance. Ultrasound is safe has no known side effects.

Locations of Ultrasound

  • Radiology Diagnostic Center (RDC)
  • Digital Medical Imaging (DMI)

Patient Preparation

US Abdomen

  • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight, with the exception of medications to be taken with water only.
  • Fasting for at least 8 hours.

US Aorta

  • Nothing to eat or drink except medications after midnight
  • Fasting for at least 8 hours.

US Kidneys

  • Fasting eight (8) hours prior to your scheduled exam
  • Drink 2 bottles of water (32 oz) – Full bladder required for exam

US Pelvis (uterus, ovaries, adnexa)

  • Drink 32 ounces of water 1 hour prior to the exam time.
  • Patient must have a full bladder.

US Obstetric

  • Drink 32 ounces of water 1 hour prior to the exam time.
  • Patient must have a full bladder.

US Breast, carotid, thyroid, and venous doppler

  • No prep.

Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy uses real-time X-ray imaging of internal organs. There are many reasons why your health care provider may order a fluoroscopic study. Common reasons include swallowing difficulties (barium swallow), abdominal pain (upper GI with small bowel follow through), and screening for colon cancer (barium enema) to name a few. Radiologists use the fluoroscope to help them place small needles into joints for arthrograms and to guide interventional procedures.

Exam Preps

Fluoroscopic Services

Five Cities Medical Imaging
Radiology Diagnostic Center
Digital Medical Imaging
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center

Vascular Access

A vascular access procedure involves the insertion of a flexible thin plastic tube, or catheter, into a blood vessel to provide an effective method of drawing blood or delivering medications and nutrients into a patient’s bloodstream over a period of weeks, months or even years.

A simple intravenous (IV) line is effective for short-term use, but is not suitable for long-term use. When an IV line is necessary for a longer period of time and/or a more secure venous access is necessary, a special catheter that is generally longer, called a central access catheter, or a similar device can be used. The catheter can remain in place either temporarily (days) or long-term (weeks to years) so that it can be easily and repeatedly accessed over the necessary period of time.

In a vascular access procedure, a special catheter is inserted inside a majorvein (generally in one of the large veins in the neck, arms or legs) with the tip of catheter positioned into a large central vein that terminates near the heart.
To schedule a procedure or consultation, call the Interventional Radiology Coordinator at 805-792-0115

General Diagnostic Imaging

General diagnostic imaging refers to classic X-rays, sometimes referred to as “plain films.” Your health care provider may order X-rays for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common reasons include extremity films in cases of suspected broken bones, chest X-ray for persistent cough and fever or shortness of breath, and abdominal series for abdominal pain. RASLO provides a full range of general diagnostic services at the locations listed below.

Locations of Service

Five Cities Medical Imaging
Radiology Diagnostic Center
Digital Medical Imaging
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
French Hospital Medical Center