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Bone Densitometry

Bone densitometry is a technologically advanced radiology procedure which can determine bone mineral density or bone mass, and diagnose osteoporosis. These measurements can help determine bone strength and bones that have a potential for fracturing.

It is a simple, painless procedure that takes approximately 15 minutes, and only delivers 1/10th of the radiation of a regular x-ray. The information provided by the test is reviewed by a radiologist and can be a useful diagnostic tool for your physician in diagnosing osteoporosis, particularly in the early stages before broken bones occur.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans        
A CT Scan or "cat scan" is a procedure that images the body in cross-sections, and provides a very detailed look at internal structures and vessels. With a more in-depth view of the body, this test allows for an earlier diagnosis of diseases. CT scans provide a clearer more accurate picture of the patient's condition in only seconds.

CTA (CT angiography) procedures are used to evaluate vascular disease such as aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease. Princeton's newest generation of CT is Volume Computerized Tomography. VCT's 64-slice imaging technology offers greater image clarity, easier patient access and lower contrast dosage. Applications include 5-Beat CardiacTM for comprehensive views of the heart and arteries in just five heartbeats; Triple Rule Out that in one scan can rule out (or in) three of the most life threatening critical conditions in chest pain; Stroke Work-Up for rapid perfusion studies; and Cardiac Scoring, a unique test to measure calcium in coronary arteries, which adds to plaque build-up and increases risk for heart disease.

Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic Radiology is the core from which all other imaging procedures originate. It plays a key role in trauma cases by providing physicians with the images necessary to evaluate patient's injuries. New direct Digital Radiology equipment is much faster than the conventional film method and allows images to be viewed and interpreted from computer monitors throughout the hospital, including Emergency room, surgery, ICU, on the patient floors and physicians' offices. This allows the physician much faster access to imaging procedures.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI's)

Princeton has both 3.0 and 1.5 Tesla GE magnets. Princeton Baptist was the first clinical site in Alabama to install a new state-of-the-art 3-T MRI from GE Healthcare. Using sophisticated technology, the scanner provides doctors at Princeton with highly detailed pictures of anatomy and pathology to help them evaluate a wide range of conditions, including cancer, stroke, musculoskeletal, and heart disease.

Princeton Baptist offers both open and closed MRI's in order to accommodate all patients.

Digital Mammography

Mammography is a low-dose x-ray study of the breasts. The key role of mammography is in identifying a site of breast cancer early in its development. It can detect cancers in the breast when they are still small and often a year or two before it is large enough to be felt as a lump. These small cancers have a much better response to treatment and often require much less surgical drug treatment. Princeton offers ONLY direct digital mammography with Computer Assisted Diagnosis (CAD), this allows the radiologist an "additional set of eyes" when reading mammograms. Mammography detects approximately 2-3 times as many "early" breast cancers as physical examination, and is the best method screening for breast cancer. Princeton Baptist mammography department also uses Mammopad® on each mammogram performed. This is a soft, warm, disposable cushion that makes the exam more comfortable for the patient while allowing the technologist the ability to get even better images. Our mammography department is truly "high tech with a soft touch."

Our services are accredited by the American College of Radiology.

Current Recommendations for Mammography:
(according to the American Cancer Society)

  • Since mammograms are not routinely done on women under the age of 40, mammograms should be started at an earlier age if a woman's mother and/or sister had pre-menopausal breast cancer beginning 10 years before their relative was diagnosed.
  • Women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram every year. Regular screening in this age group has been shown to be extremely effective, especially in detecting early breast cancer.

Princeton Baptist strives to be a leader in the Birmingham area for women's breast care. The mammography department and the Breast Care center are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology and the American College of Surgeons.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a department of radiology that help physicians diagnose disease and tumors of the body.

Nuclear medicine procedures use small amounts of radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals, to create images of the anatomy of the body.  These radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones, and tissue.  They are introduced into the body by injection, swallowing, or inhalation.  As the radiopharmaceutical travels through the body, it produces radioactive emissions.  A special type camera detects these emissions in the organ, bone, or tissue being imaged and records the information on a computer for our physicians to interpret.  All of these exams are performed by registered nuclear medicine technologists.

There are more than 100 different nuclear medicine exams.  The most common exams that are performed at Princeton include thyroid scan, cardiac stress test, lung scan, bone scan, gastric emptying study, GI bleeding study, hepatobiliary (hida) scan and renal scan.

Outpatient Myelograms

A myelogram is a specialized x-ray of the spine to determine if there is any blockage or decrease in the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) flow around the spinal column. This x-ray is most helpful in diagnosing tumors and damaged discs as well as changes in the bones which surround the spinal cord. Princeton offers this exam on an outpatient basis at the referring physician's request.


PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that provides exceptionally detailed, three-dimensional computerized images of the body's biological functions. PET can detect certain diseases before other diagnostic procedures such as CT and MRI. PET is used to diagnose and stage patients with cancer as well as evaluate patients with certain brain and heart disorders. PET CT is done Monday through Friday at Princeton. Barbara Tierce is Princeton's PET scheduling coordinator and can be reached at 783-7979 for scheduling or questions.   Learn more...

Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)

Therapeutic and palliative treatment for soft tissue and bone tumors as well as tumor related pain.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy (Minimally Invasive)

A minimally invasive stereotactic breast biopsy is a new noninvasive technique for breast biopsies. This routinely performed outpatient procedure is a key tool in identifying whether abnormalities detected in breast examinations and mammograms are benign or malignant. It is now available using ultrasound guidance.

Princeton Baptist performs this procedure regularly and is one of 13 facilities in Alabama that are accredited by the American College of Surgeons Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Accreditation Program.


Ultrasound is a non invasive procedure that uses sound waves to images internal structures. There is no radiation used for this procedure. Princeton Baptist has new state of the art GE Volume Ultrasound that allows structures to be viewed not only in the conventional 2 -dimensional format but creates a unique, 3-D volume image of the structure. This volume image provides the radiologist much more detailed information in a shorter amount of time.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)

Princeton Baptist is offering an innovative and effective alternative to hysterectomies for women who have uterine fibroid tumors, benign (non-cancerous) tumors that occur in the uterus of about 20 to 40 percent of women 35 years of age and older. A new and less invasive option to surgery called uterine fibroid embolization is performed by an interventional radiologist, a specially-trained physician who is skilled in procedures that use x-ray imaging as a guide. Uterine fibroid embolization is a technique that involves the injection of small particles through a catheter to block the flow of blood to fibroids. This deprives the fibroids of the oxygen and nutrients they require to grow. As a result, over time, the fibroids shrink.

"This procedure is a viable alternative for many women with symptoms from uterine fibroid tumors," said Ricardo Bracer, M.D., an interventional radiologist who practices at Princeton Baptist.







Female Reproductive Organs








  Microcatheter threaded into uterine artery

  PVA particles flow to fibroid


Copyright 2004 Boston Scientific Corporation or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

Why do patients choose uterine fibroid embolization instead of a traditional hysterectomy?
Many patients choose uterine fibroid embolization because they do not want to have a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed. Also, hysterectomies require general anesthesia, while uterine fibroid embolization is done under conscious sedation, in which patients are given medications to relax them. They are drowsy but awake during the procedure.

How long does it take to recover from uterine fibroid embolization opposed to a hysterectomy?
In addition, recovery time from uterine fibroid tumors is short; most patients return to light activity within seven to 10 days. Hysterectomies may require up to six weeks' recovery time. Others choose the procedure over hysterectomy because their symptoms from the fibroids are severe, but they wish to have children in the future.

What causes fibroid tumors?
The exact cause of fibroid tumors is not known, but medical researchers have demonstrated that genetics plays a role in their existence, and African American women are at much higher risk for uterine fibroids than other racial groups. In fact, as many as 50 percent of African American women have uterine fibroids.

What is symptomatic of having fibroid tumors?
Most fibroids do not cause symptoms nor require treatment. However, for many women, fibroids result in severe increases of menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, back pain or pressure. Uterine fibroids vary in size, from the size of a pea to as large as a melon. They also vary in where they grow in the uterus, occurring in the muscular wall, outer surface, or inner surface of the uterus. Their presence can enlarge the uterus to the same size as a six- or seven-month pregnancy.

How do you treat fibroid tumors?
Some fibroids can be successfully treated with medication, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), birth control pills, or hormone therapy designed to reduce production of the estrogen the fibroids need to grow.

Dr. Underwood said that, though many fibroids can be helped by uterine fibroid embolization, others cannot be, depending on their size, shape, and location within the body. To evaluate the location and size of the tumors, patients first have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination. In addition, all candidates referred by their doctors for the procedure must have a gynecological examination and a pregnancy test.

For more information on the UFE procedure, please feel free to call us at 1-877-2BAPTIST or email us!

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty  

Princeton Baptist was the first hospital in Alabama to perform a vertebroplasty procedure. If you have a compression fracture or broken vertebrae, Princeton Baptist's Vertebroplasty procedure may be for you.. Vertebroplasty is a procedure where liquid "bone" cement is injected into the broken backbone, filling the fracture line. It permanently hardens, strengthening the compressed vertebrae. Shortly after the injection, the cement-like material hardens creating a supportive structure that prevents further collapse and alleviates pain.

A similar procedure, known as kyphoplasty places a balloon to expand the space where the vertebrae has collapsed. This procedure is very effective with bone tumors, where the tumor may have filled up so much of the bone that there is very little space for the cement. This procedure creates the space needed to insert the cement and stabilize the vertebrae.

How Long Does A Vertebroplasty Procedure Last?
The risks during this procedure are discussed with your physician during an initial consultation. It requires a same-day hospital stay of approximately 4-5 hours.

How Do I Know If I Qualify For A Vertebroplasty Procedure?
Before the procedure can be performed, you must be examined by a certified Radiologist to determine the exact location of your pain and fracture. This exam is FREE. Other diagnostic tests may be needed (bone density tests, MRI, bone scan) to determine your body's ability to heal and fracture severity.

PLEASE NOTE: This procedure will NOT relieve your back pain if it is from arthritis, spinal stenosis, or slipped/ruptured disc.

For more information on the Vertebroplasty procedure, please call the Vertebroplasty Coordinator or a radiologist in the Department of Radiology at 1-877-2BAPTIST or email us!

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