Methodist Healthcare Offers Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound

Posted on: June 06, 2018

Sixty-one year old Pamala Scoggins was apprehensive. At 60 she had battled and beat breast cancer, now just one year later, doctors told her she had tumors on her kidney. Scoggins’ physician sent her to Methodist Healthcare, the only healthcare system in the Memphis area that offers contrast enhanced abdominal ultrasound to all patients in the community. The procedure, which can determine if tumors are cancerous or benign, is performed at Methodist’s flagship hospital, Methodist University Hospital. 

“Contrast enhanced abdominal ultrasound is a robust study for evaluating lesions in the liver or kidneys in patients with impaired kidney function or allergies to contrast used in CT or MRI,” explained Chris Boals, MD, director of ultrasound, Methodist University Hospital.

Contrast enhanced abdominal ultrasound is a diagnostic technique used to clarify the nature of inconclusive liver and kidney masses. An ultrasound contrast agent, or dye, is sent through a port-a-cath or an intravenous catheter into the blood stream. The dye greatly improves visualization and characterization of anatomic lesions so radiologists can determine if a mass is cancerous or benign. 

“Everyone was incredibly nice. They definitely make you feel secure and comfortable,” said Scoggins. “

With her breast cancer diagnosis, Scoggins had to wait seven days to learn the results of her biopsy. This time she was excited to learn she would immediately be able to get her results. Fortunately, Scoggins received good news. The tumors on her kidneys were not cancerous. Scoggins says the procedure was extremely easy and pain free.

“I was a giddy girl getting off the gurney,” she said.

Prior to contrast enhanced abdominal ultrasound, contrast imaging was only performed with CT or MRI. 

Contrast Ultrasounds offer a number of benefits over CT or MRI:

  • Safe for patients with radiographic contrast allergies
  • Recommended for patients with kidney insufficiency who are unable to receive CT or MRI contrast
  • Performed without exposure to radiation
  • Can be used in patients who might be claustrophobic
  • Can be used in patients with kidney transplants in whom there is concern of possible kidney injury from CT contrast injections 

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