The St. Luke’s Outpatient Center is the only location in the Texas Medical Center to offer to the general public both a closed 1.5T magnet and a 1.0 High Field Open MRI. This High Field advanced technology opens a new world for image quality from an open MRI. The wide open design and expanded patient bed improves comfort for any patient – large, claustrophobic, and full body athletes. The first location in Houston to offer Kinematic joint imaging (images of the joint in motion) offers new diagnostic analysis for physicians.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Computed Tomography (CT)
Peripheral Vascular Laboratory
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a way of obtaining very detailed images of organs and tissues throughout the body without the need for x-rays. Unlike an x-ray, an MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, a rapidly changing magnetic field, and a computer to demonstrate whether or not there is an injury or some disease process present. For this procedure, the patient is placed within an MRI scanner - typically a large, doughnut-shaped magnet that is open at both ends with a steady flow of controlled fresh-air to facilitate the patient’s comfort.
How Long Does an MRI Take?
The length of an MRI exam depends on the area of interest being scanned. The study can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour per exam. During an MRI exam, it is important for the patient to limit all motion so that the images won't be blurry and and will allow an adequate interpretation by the radiologist.
What Can I Expect if I Have an MRI?
An MRI exam causes no pain, and the magnetic fields produce no known tissue damage of any kind. The MRI scanner may make loud tapping or knocking noises at times during the exam. For your comfort, earplugs or headphones with music (with a radio station or patient’s favorite CD playing) will be used. For safety purposes, the technologist will be able to communicate with the patient during the procedure via an intercom, and will be watching through an observation window.
It is vital that patients remove any metallic belongings in advance of an MRI exam, including watches, jewelry, and items of clothing that have metallic threads or fasteners. The Kirby Glen MRI Suite has protocols that, when carefully followed, will ensure that the MRI technologist and radiologist know about the presence of any contraindicated metallic implants and materials so that special precautions can be taken.
For some MRI studies a contrast material called gadolinium may be injected into a vein to help interpret the exam. Unlike contrast agents used with CT and X-ray studies, a gadolinium contrast agent does not contain iodine and therefore rarely causes any allergic reaction or other problems.
Before Your MRI
Patients having an MRI at the Kirby Glen facility will be contacted prior to their examination to confirm their appointment time and to give directions to the facility. If a patient doesn’t desire to change their clothing at the facility, he or she will be given instructions on how to dress for their exam. If the MRI study merits it, the patient will be instructed on how to eat also. If the patient so desires, he or she may bring their favorite CD to listen to during their MRI exam.
Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed Tomography is more commonly known by its abbreviated name, CAT scan or CT scan. A large donut-shaped x-ray machine takes x-ray images at many different angles around the body. CT is used to define normal and abnormal structures in the body. If needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body may be created. An entire CT slice of the body is made visible with about 100 times more clarity than that of a general x-ray.
What to Expect During a CT Scan
During a CT scan, you lie very still on a table, which slowly passes through the center of the large x-ray machine. You will hear whirling sounds during the procedure. It is important for you to minimize any body movement by remaining as still and quiet as possible; this significantly increases the clarity of the images. You might also be asked to hold your breath for certain exams. For your safety the technologist will be watching you through an observation window during the procedure; there is also an intercom system in the room where you can hear and be heard.
In some cases, one or more contrast agents -- or “dye” -- may be administered by mouth and/or injected into the vein before and during the CT scan. Depending on the type of exam, other forms of contrast may also be used. The contrast is used to highlight different areas of the body resulting in very clear images for the best possible exam.
Computed Topography scans do not cause any pain, and are a very low-risk procedure. The most common problem is an allergy to the iodine-based contrast given in the vein. If you have an allergy to iodine you should tell your doctor prior to having your CT scan.
How Long Does a CT Scan Take?
The length of the procedure depends on the area of interest being scanned. The scan, including preparation time, can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Feel free to contact our staff prior to your exam for an estimated time frame for your specific test.
Peripheral Vascular Laboratory
St. Luke's Peripheral Vascular Laboratory (PV Lab) performs specialized ultrasound testing to view and evaluate blood flow through the arteries and veins in the neck, arms and legs. Painless sound waves that move through the body generate the images.
During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on a table and the technologist will place warm gel on the area of interest. The technologist will place the probe over the gel and move it over the skin, sending sound waves through the body. Those sound waves will produce a picture of the blood vessels and allow the sound of the blood flow to be heard and recorded to a computer.
These exams are extremely sensitive to motion, so it is very important for you to remain very still in order to assure the best possible image for the physician to evaluate.
Depending on the particular area of interest that your doctor has ordered, some light exercise and/or blood pressure testing may be included before and/or during the exam. The vascular technologist will explain your specific exam, which may take one or two hours to complete. After the test will be able to resume normal activities. Results will be available to your physician within 24 to 48 hours.