Medical Imaging (Radiology)

Under the direction of a board certified radiologist, J.C. Blair's Radiology Department offers a full complement of diagnostic services in one convenient location. Physician referral is required for diagnostic services at J.C. Blair. Special preparation may be necessary for some diagnostic tests. Ask your physician how to prepare for your test or call the Radiology Department at (814) 643-8624.

With several convenient locations, patients have easy access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services. Locations include: 

CT Scanning

The CT Services of the Department of Radiology at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) to perform and interpret CT scans. CT is a simple, safe, and virtually painless test that can scan the head, chest, liver, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys or spine. CT scan produces images that can be recreated in different angles to help detect conditions which do not show up on a conventional x-ray.

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan, also known as Computed Tomography, is an x-ray technique that allows your healthcare provider or radiologist to see the details and different angles of your bones, organs, blood vessels, and heart. 

Prior to the scan, your healthcare provider may require you to have a pregnancy test because the x-rays used in CT could be harmful to your baby. You should bring any previous x-rays of the area that is being examined to assure the most accurate study. You should inform your healthcare provider and technologist about your medical history including any allergies, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, or thyroid problems. Although it is rare, individuals with these diseases have been affected by the contrast agent given during the CT scan and have suffered from allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or organ damage. 

Please do not wear hair pins, dentures, wigs, jewelry, hearing aids, or glasses to your exam. Your healthcare provider may give you instructions regarding food and drink prior to your exam.

What should I expect during my exam?

Depending on the test, you may be given a contrast agent which will make certain tissues show up against their surroundings, which allows details to show up on your x-ray. The contrast agent is usually given orally and intravenously. You should inform the technologist if you are allergic to iodine prior to receiving the contrast agent. 

During your CT scan, you may be required to wear a gown depending on the area that is being scanned. You will lie on a table and must remain still because movement may obscure the images. The table will slide through the CT scanner. The CT scanner will enclose only a small part of your body; however, if you are severely claustrophobic, your healthcare provider may prescribe you a sedative prior to your exam. You will not be able to drive yourself home after the exam if you are administered the sedative. You should not operate heavy machinery, drive, make important decisions, or breastfeed until the effects of the sedative wear off. You will be able to communicate with the technologist via intercom during your scan who will be able to provide assistance if needed. 

You should come to your exam 30 minutes early to review the procedure with your technologist and complete any necessary paperwork, but your CT study will only take about 10-15 minutes. CT scans are painless, but you should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction to the contrast agent after your exam.

When will I be informed of my results?

After your CT scan, the radiologist will mail or fax the results to your healthcare provider. The average turnaround time for radiology reports at J.C. Blair is about 8 hours unless the radiologist needs to research more information about your medical history or previous studies for comparison. Your healthcare provider will schedule an appointment with you to discuss the study results. 

To schedule a CT scan, or if you have questions, call J.C. Blair's Radiology Department at (814) 643-8624.

How to prepare for your CT scan

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

LDCT Scanning

What is LDCT?
The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT). In this test, an X-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs.

How do I qualify?
You meet the criteria for screening if you:

  • are between the age of 55-80
  • smoked the equivalent of 1 pack of cigarettes daily for 30 years
  • no longer smoke and stopped smoking within the past 15 years
  • do not have a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery
  • one additional risk factor

What should I expect?
The exam will be performed in the CT suite. There is no prep. There are no injections of contrast. You will be asked to change into a gown from the waist up. The exam will be completed in five minutes.

When will I be informed of my results? 
The exam will be read by a qualified radiologist and the report will be sent to your provider within a few days.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The MRI Services of  the Department of Radiology at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) to perform and interpret MRI scans. Using a very powerful magnet, quality images are produced to make detailed and accurate diagnoses of the abdomen, chest, head, joints, neck, pelvis, spine, and other areas of the body. The short bore, high field, wide tunnel offers patients more space and comfort during their scan. J.C. Blair's MRI is also much faster than an open MRI and produces a higher quality image.

Benefits of MRI:

  • Painless and safe exam
  • No ionizing radiation
  • Better visualization of soft tissue structures

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Instructions for your MRI at J.C. Blair
MRI screening form

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)

J.C. Blair Women's Imaging Center was the first imaging center in the region to offer 3D Digital Mammography, or Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. This new technology provides the added ability to find very small cancers or rule out "false positives," and reduces the number of women who are called back for a diagnostic mammogram. Be sure to ask for a 3D mammogram - many hospitals do not have this technology, and some only offer 3D to women who are called back to have a mammogram repeated. 

Digital mammography is only a two-dimensional picture of the breast. Digital Breast Tomosythesis, or 3D Mammography, converts digital breast images into a 3-dimensional mammogram that allows the radiologist to examine breast tissue one layer at a time.

A tomosynthesis exam is done at the same time as a digital mammogram. During the tomosynthesis part of the exam, the camera sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in just seconds. Like a CT scan, a computer creates a 3D image of the breast tissue in one millimeter layers. With this new technology, the radiologist can see breast tissue details that were once hidden in a flat image.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. with extended weekday and Saturday morning hours.
Instructions for your 3D Digital Mammogram at J.C. Blair

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is a target biopsy that removes tissue from a specific area of abnormality in the breast. This procedure is a less invasive option than a standard needle localization and excisional biopsy which requires a trip to the operating room. It usually takes an hour for the entire exam and the procedure is done on an outpatient basis. This exam is performed by the specially trained Radiologists and Mammography Technologists in the Mammography suite at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital.

Hours: Stereotactic Breast Biopsies at J.C. Blair are scheduled on an as-needed basis - usually within a few days of an abnormal mammogram reading. The appointment takes approximately one hour with the actual biopsy procedure taking less than ten minutes.

Instructions for your Stereotactic Breast Biopsy at J.C. Blair

Bone Densitometry

A DEXA Scan is a comfortable, simple, painless test to measure the health of your bones.

J.C. Blair uses a highly sensitive DEXA bone densitometer to measure the bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine and hip which are the most frequent sites of fracture. This information will be used by your physician in making a diagnosis about your bone status and fracture risk and is also used to evaluate response to treatment for osteoperosis.

Osteoperosis is the most common type of bone disease where a person's bones become brittle and at risk for fracture. It occurs when the body fails to form new bone, or when too much bone is reabsorbed by the body. This disease can be prevented and treated, and like many others, is treated the most effectively when caught early. 

Risk factors for osteoperosis include:

  • small and thin body types
  • age (65+)
  • eating disorders
  • family history
  • gender (women)
  • postmenopausal
  • smokers
  • alcohol abusers
  • lack of vitamin D
  • lack of calcium in a diet

Bone density tests, also known as DEXA scans (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) are useful in diagnosing osteoporosis by using a low-dose x-ray that checks for signs of mineral loss and bone thinning. By scanning the hip, hand, spine, or foot, DEXA scans also alert technologists and physicians about other potential medical conditions that the patient may have that is causing bone loss.

What should I expect during the exam?

During your DEXA scan, you will lie on a padded table while a mechanical arm-like device passes over your body. The device will not touch you, but does emit a small amount of radiation. The study takes only about 15 minutes. You will need to lie perfectly still during your exam for the most accurate results. You should not wear jewelry or metal to your exam, because it may interfere with your results. The DEXA study is an excellent tool for determining your bone density but does not determine the cause of your score. 

The following target groups are specifically at risk and should have regular DEXA scans: 

  • Women ages 65 and older
  • Men and women ages 60 and older who are at increased risk of having osteoporosis

Other individuals may be at high risk and could be recommended for DEXA scans by their physician. Talk with your primary care physician about your risk factors. You will need a physician's order to schedule a DEXA scan. 

When will I be informed of my results?

After your DEXA scan, the radiologist will mail or fax the results to your healthcare provider. The average turnaround timefor radiology reports at J.C. Blair is about 8 hours unless the radiologist needs to research more information about your medical history or previous studies for comparison. Your healthcare provider will schedule an appointment with you where he or she will discuss the study results. 

Treatment and Prevention of Osteoporosis

In addition to taking medications, you can help prevent bone loss by making a few small lifestyle changes. 

  • Include plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and protein in your diet
  • Limit alcohol or caffeine intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Prevent falls

You should come to your exam 30 minutes early to register, unless you have been pre-registered. Be sure to bring your physician's order and medical insurance card with you.

Hours: Thursdays 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Instructions for your Bone Densitometry at J.C. Blair


The Ultrasound Services of the Department of Radiology at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) to perform and interpret ultrasound studies.

Colorflow, Doppler, and B-scan for obstetrics, gynecological, vascular and other applications.

Our ultrasound study uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of the organ, structure or blood flow inside the body.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Instructions for your Ultrasound at J.C. Blair

Nuclear Medicine

The Nuclear Medicine Service of the Department of Radiology at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) to perform and interpret Nuclear Medicine exams. J.C. Blair performs heart, gallbladder, renal, lung, thyroid, and bone scan studies. Nurclear medicine uses a small amount of radioisotope administered in several ways: injection, IV, capsule or inhalation. The isotope travels to the "target" organ and tissues and provides images of the organ to be interpreted by the radiologist.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 6:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Instructions for your Nuclear Medicine Study at J.C. Blair

General Radiology

J.C. Blair offers a wide variety of diagnostic x-ray procedures including examination of the skeletal system, the chest, abdomen, the genitourinary tract and the gastrointestinal system .

Instructions for your General Radiology Test at J.C. Blair

Positron Emission Testing (PET) Scan

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. It is a procedure that adds an important new dimension to a physician's ability to diagnose and manage disease.

PET is a powerful diagnostic test that is having a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. PET can detect and stage most cancers, often before they are evident through other tests. PET can also give your physician important early information about heart disease and many neurological disorders, like Alzheimer's. Instead of detecting change sin the physical size or structure of internal organs, as other traditional imaging technologies do, PET detects changes in the cellular function. Since these functional changes take place before physical changes occur, PET can provide information that enables your physician to make an earlier diagnosis or to determine if current treatment is working effectively.

Even if a previous CT or MRI detected disease or abnormalities, PET can help, because PET can often characterize the cellular function early in the course of the disease. These capabilities can translate into faster initation of the best possible treatment while avoiding more invasive exams or exploratory surgery.

Benefits of PET:

  • Painless and safe exam
  • Provides earlier detection of recurrent cancer
  • Differentiates between non-malignant (benign) and malignant tumors
  • Eliminates invasive procedures and multiple tests
  • Avoids unnecessary surgery
  • Assesses the location and the stage of malignant disease accurately
  • Locates previously unknown metastases using a whole body survey
  • Monitors the efficiency of patient care and management
  • Reduces the time to diagnosis and leads to earlier treatment

The exam is virtually painless and can eliminate invasive procedures and tests.

Hours: Three Saturdays of every month 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Instructions for your PET Scan at J.C. Blair

Radiology Staff

  • Scott E. Houck, RT(R)(CT), Clinical Director

The radiology staff at J.C. Blair is fully credentialed to perform the diagnostic services provided. Learn more about the radiologists at J.C. Blair.