Specifically designed to respect the privacy and comfort of women, our women's diagnostic imaging services offers the most thorough breast imaging program in Solano County. Our extensive technologies and expert staff serve to provide the most reliable imaging available when it comes to breast health.
With advanced screening equipment and highly trained staff, NorthBay Health is committed to providing accurate and timely results to help women maintain their health. From breast MRI to bone density screening, we are here to help women understand and take charge of their health.
X-ray and Bone Density exams are done on a walk-in basis (no appointment needed). MRI, Ultrasound, PET, CT, Breast Biopsy, and Mammography exams are done by appointment only.
NorthBay Women's Imaging Services
We offer a variety of women’s imaging services to help provide a clear picture of the right next steps for your treatment plan.
Those services include:
Sometimes an abnormal mammogram, breast ultrasound and/or Breast MRI will recommend a biopsy of the concerning area. Our Breast Imaging Navigator will contact you to schedule the biopsy at one of our facilities. Depending on the initial images, our radiologist will determine which type of imaging guidance will be most appropriate.
We provide an array of women's imaging services to assist breast biopsies including:
- Stereotactic breast biopsy. During a stereotactic breast biopsy, the breasts are firmly compressed between two plates and images from different angles are taken with an X-ray (mammogram). These images determine the exact location for the biopsy.
- Ultrasound. Breast Ultrasound involves high-frequency sound waves to create an image of inner breast tissue. Ultrasound is a non-invasive technique that is specifically helpful in determining whether a lump is fluid-filled or solid.
- MRI guided breast biopsy. MRI-Guided Biopsy uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging to guide the removal of breast tissue abnormalities, typically undetectable through other forms of examination or technologies, from the body for microscopic examination.
Please follow any pre-exam instructions. For example, we may want you to stop taking any blood thinners for 7 days prior to the biopsy. Please arrange for someone to accompany you so they can drive you to and from the biopsy appointment.
Bone density screening, also called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or bone densitometry, uses an enhanced form of X-ray technology to measure bone mineral content. This helps physicians determine a patient's bone loss and risk of developing osteoporosis. This screening is recommended for all women older than the age of 65, as well as others at risk for osteoporosis.
The screening measures the mineral density of bones in your body and compares your measurement with data to determine whether you have bone mineral loss greater than expected for your particular age, gender and race.
The exam typically takes about 10 minutes and involves a technician scanning your lower spine and both of your hips. If you’ve had back or hip surgery resulting in hardware being placed, let us know so we can scan an alternate area for bone mineral density.
Please wear comfortable clothing for your exam and avoid any pants with metal snaps, zippers, or belts. You will be asked to change into a gown if your clothing features these items.
A supplemental test enabling doctors to further evaluate findings from mammography or other screenings, our Breast MRI provides detailed images without radiation. In addition to our high-field MRI with advanced software for faster imaging, we have added computer aided diagnostic (CAD) software to effectively analyze areas of interest and provide surgical planning when necessary.
Tips for a successful exam
MRI scans are very sensitive to motion and any movement can create blurriness in the entire set of images. It’s very important you do not move any part of your body while the scan is taking place and the machine is making noise. There are brief moments between scans while the machine is quiet when you can make minor movements, like scratching your nose, as long as you do not move your body position.
MRI scans require you to lie on your back for 15 to 45 minutes. If you have pain while lying down or suffer from anxiety (claustrophobia, etc.), please let your physician know. They may be able to help with medication to make the MRI scan more bearable and reduce the risk of your images coming out blurry. Please keep in mind that some medications will make it necessary for someone else to drive you to and from your exam.
MRI with contrast
Some exams require the administration of IV contrast (sometimes called "dye"). Most of these type of exams will have the contrast administered through a vein in your arm. You may be required to have a blood test prior to the exam to make sure your kidneys can handle the dye with no issues.
Please wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t contain metal (e.g. rivets in pants, embellishments on shirts, etc) or you will need to change into an exam gown for the procedure. You will need to complete a questionnaire to identify if you have any implanted metal in your body prior to the exam, as certain devices are not allowed into an MRI scanner (such as most pacemakers and many aneurism clips). If you have an implanted device, please bring the device card you received after your surgery.
If any of the following conditions exist, notify our diagnostic imaging department before your exam:
- Cardiac Pacemaker
- Cerebral Aneurysm Clips
- Cochlear Implants
- Implanted Insulin or Chemotherapy Pumps
- Implanted Neuro-Stimulator Devices
- Heart Valve Replacements
- Other Prosthetic Devices
- Metal Fragments in Eye (If you have worked with metal, e.g. welding/grinding, you may need an X-ray to assure that there are no metal fragments)
We offer lockers to secure your valuables, but are not responsible for lost or stolen items. Please leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
Breast ultrasound involves high-frequency sound waves to create an image of inner breast tissue. Ultrasound is a non-invasive technique that is specifically helpful in determining whether a lump is fluid-filled or solid.
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases.
Recent advances in mammography include:
- Digital mammography
- Computer-aided detection
- 3D mammography
Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the X-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert X-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient's point of view, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film screen mammogram.
Computer-aided detection (CAD)
Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems use a digitized mammography image that can be obtained from either a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram. The computer software then searches for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.
The 3D mammogram, also known as tomosynthesis, renders a 3D image of the breast by combining images of individual tissue layers. This technique is the most significant change in the way mammograms are done since the industry started going digital decades ago. Research shows that 3D mammograms reduce call-backs for additional images, reduce false positives, and increases cancer detection in all breast types, but most notably in dense breasts.
The 3D portion of the exam is considered an additional exam and is not always covered by insurance . Please check with your insurance plan provider to see if tomosynthesis is covered for screening mammography.
Tips for a successful exam
Please do not wear deodorant, lotion, perfume or any other substance on your skin. Please bring any prior mammogram films with you at your appointment time. If prior films were not taken locally, please come to our center prior to your appointment to sign a release form so we can have them sent here prior to your appointment date.
For more information about our women’s imaging services or to schedule an appointment, please call (707) 646-4646.
Frequently Asked Questions:
We offer flexible hours. There are even times in which we can schedule you for the same day you call for an appointment.
It's necessary for you to arrive early in order to complete your paperwork and prepare for your exam.
Bring a photo ID and your complete insurance information, including your insurance card, ID number and group number. In addition, for workers' compensation claims, bring your claim number, and the date of injury.
Some plans do require pre-authorization. Check with yours to see if this is necessary. Your insurance company can also answer any questions you may have about what is covered and what is not.
Yes, we do.
If you do not have medical insurance and/or you are concerned about paying for your procedure, call us at (707) 646-4646. We'd be happy to provide an estimate for any of our women's imaging services.
Yes, call us to request a copy of images. We are completely digital and distribute images on CD's. We do not have the ability to produce hard-copy films. The images we produce are digital and only available on CD.
We maintain the images and reports from your exam(s) in accordance with state laws (in most cases for a minimum of seven years).
Some procedures require a driver for your safety (for example, if you are taking Valium for an MRI or having a biopsy). When the appointment is made, you will be told if a driver is needed. Please make the necessary arrangements.
In most cases, we are successful in imaging patients of all body types. However, there are certain limitations. Please let us know if you have a concern.
A transcribed report is typically sent to your doctor within 48 hours of your examination.
Still have questions about our women’s imaging services? Give us a call at (707) 646-4646.