General Radiology

Macon Community Hospital offers a wide variety of general radiology examinations, including examinations of the chest, head, abdomen, spine, and extremities. Most general radiology examinations do not require an appointment; however, a prescription from your doctor is required for all examinations.


What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray from the side and top of the breast. Mammograms are an important tool in early detection of breast cancer because they can detect a lump three to five years before your doctor can feel it. During a mammogram, your breasts are pressed between two pieces of plastic for a few seconds, while a minimal X-ray dose, similar to that of a dental X-ray, is applied.

Why might I need a mammogram?

All women share some risk of breast cancer. In the United States it is estimated that there will be nearly 213,000 new cases of female invasive breast cancer this year. Experts predict almost 41,000 deaths from the disease. But the good news is that the number of women who obtain breast mammograms has doubled since National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began over twenty years ago, and now the death rates from breast cancer have declined, mostly due to earlier detection and improved treatment. Mammography screenings are a woman’s best chance for detecting breast cancer early. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Women 40 years and older should get a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
  • Women who have had breast cancer or other breast problems or who have a family history of breast cancer, might need to start getting mammograms before age 40 or they might need to get them more often. Talk to your doctor about when to start and how often you should have a mammogram.

Mammography at Macon Community Hospital

Macon Community Hospital recently installed the most advanced Digital Mammography technology available.

Mammography techs have worked hard to make getting a mammogram as pleasant an experience as possible for their patients. Women who get their mammograms at Macon Community Hospital enjoy a warm and comfortable environment, and benefit from the positive and friendly attitude of our techs and the rest of the radiology staff. In addition to regular office hours, Macon Community Hospital offers after-hours appointments for women wishing to get a mammogram without taking time off from work just give us a call to set up an appointment.

What to Expect

Procedure: During the mammogram, your breasts will be pressed between two pieces of plastic for a few seconds, which may be briefly uncomfortable. “Some people think that mammograms are painful, but with the new equipment, they really aren’t,”  said a mammography tech. “With this machine, compression is no longer painful and the whole process is quick and easy.”


What is an ultrasound?

During an ultrasound exam, (also known as a sonogram), sound waves far above the range of human hearing penetrate your body. When your internal organs reflect back the sound waves, a computer records and interprets the resulting echoes and generates an image of the area of your body being examined. An ultrasound does not use X-rays; therefore, it is appropriate even for pregnant women, who are advised to avoid X-ray and CT scans.

Ultrasound at Macon Community Hospital

Because of its advanced equipment, Macon Community Hospital offers a wide range of ultrasound procedures, including:

  • Abdomen
  • Breast
  • Obstetric/Fetal
  • Pelvis
  • Renal (kidneys)
  • Testicular
  • Thyroid
  • Vascular
  • Echocardiography
  • Stress Echocardiography


Macon Community Hospital has the GE –E9 and Midray portable. It is the most advanced system available on the market.  It provides clearer images of the body and allows us to see abnormalities at a smaller, earlier stage.

What to Expect

The Procedure: An ultrasound technologist will spread a warm transmitting gel over the area of your body to be scanned and then run a wand-like instrument, (called a transducer) lightly through the gel. A video screen will display a moving image of the area examined, and the image will be photographed for analysis.

Bone Density

What is a Bone Density test?

A Bone Density test, also referred to as bone densitometry, uses special X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The higher your mineral content, the denser your bones. BMD is an important diagnostic tool that not only measures the amount of calcium in certain bones, but also can be used to estimate the risk of a fracture. The test is easy, fast, painless, and non-invasive. Doctors use a bone density test to determine if you have, or at risk of, osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist. Millions of Americans are at risk of getting osteoporosis.

Why might I need a Bone Mineral Density Test?

Bone Mineral Density tests are particularly important for women, who are at higher risk of getting osteoporosis. The test should be considered when:

  • An X-ray reveals low bone mass or possible osteoporosis
  • Menopause occurs prior to age 45 and the patient is not taking estrogen
  • A woman is age 65 or older
  • A post-menopausal woman sustains a fracture
  • There is a family history of osteoporosis
  • Steroids have been (or are) taken regularly
  • Hyperthyroidism, diabetes, liver/kidney disease, or rheumatoid arthritis is present

The older you get, the higher your risk of osteoporosis because your bones become weaker as you age. You are also at greater risk for osteoporosis if you’re white or of Southeast Asian descent. Other risk factors include low body weight, personal history of fractures, and using certain medications that can cause bone loss.

What to Expect

Preparation: Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA is the most common method used to measure bone density and requires no patient preparation.

Procedure: The patient simply lies on a padded table during the scan of a particular part of the body such as the lower spine and hip. The test period is short, usually only several minutes. A radiologist reads and compares the results to normal values and prepares a concise report for the referring physician.

If you need a Bone Density call 615-666-2147 to schedule you’re testing.

CT (Computed Tomography) Scan

What is a CT Scan?  

A CT scan is a procedure that generates a series of computerized images that can be used to detect conditions that often do not show up on conventional X-ray images. The fine detail of a CT scan shows a clear picture of soft tissues, internal organs, and bone structures, including: the brain, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and spine.

CT at Macon Community Hospital

Macon Community Hospital utilizes the Aquilion Prime 80-Slice CT Scanner(r)! This advanced equipment is designed to provide a fully customized experience, offering the widest bore and largest table width for easier access and the highest level of comfort for patients. Additionally, the Aquilion Prime CT delivers high-quality images with confidence, offering the benefits of faster scan times and the use of low-dose, ultrahigh resolution imaging for a more accurate provider diagnosis.

What to Expect

Preparation: Some exams require no special preparation, but in other cases we may ask you to fast for four hours before your test. If you’ve been scheduled for a CT scan of the abdomen or pelvis, you’ll need to drink a barium mixture at home before your exam. If you are scheduled for a CT scan of the head or neck, we’ll ask you to remove any objects, such as hairpins, jewelry, hearing aids, dentures, or glasses, which might interfere with the X-rays.

Procedure: During the procedure, you will lie down on a table, which will be positioned in the CT scanner. You may hear noises as the machine takes its images. You will be asked to lie still. The test is painless. It’s best just to relax and rest while it is being performed.

Call Macon Community Hospital to schedule a CT Scan at 615-666-2147.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a medical specialty that uses safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques to document organ function  and structure. An integral part of patient care, Nuclear Medicine is used in the diagnosis and management of diseases. Nuclear Medicine uses a very small amount of radioactive materials or radio pharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat disease. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attached to specific organs, bones, or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by special types of cameras: gamma or PET cameras. These cameras work in conjunction with computers used to form images that provide data and information about the area of the body being imaged.


What is MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a technique that enables physicians to see internal organs without using surgery or X-rays. MRI does not use radiation like traditional X-ray modalities. A sophisticated computer enhances images created by a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves. These images are transformed into cross-sectional views of the organ or area being studied. In some cases, the injection of a contrast agent may be needed to enhance the detail of particular body parts.

Why might I need an MRI Scan?

MRI is very useful in diagnosing a variety of conditions and disorders affecting:

  • The central nervous system: the soft tissue parts of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Orthopedic structures: internal bone architecture and joints, such as the knee, shoulder, jaw, wrist, and ankles. MRI is also the best imaging technique for cartilage, muscle, and ligaments.
  • Abdominal and pelvic organs: the pancreas, liver, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs
  • Blood vessels: arteries and veins

What to Expect

Preparation: Usually there are no special preparations required for an MRI scan. You can continue to take medications as usual. Metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field of an MRI scanner. It is very important that we know about any metallic devices that you may have in your body. These devices may prevent you from having an MRI scan. Please let us know if you have any of the following:

  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Internal electronic device
  • Heart valve
  • Coronary artery stent
  • Metal surgical clips or aneurysm clips
  • Hearing aid or implants
  • Shunts
  • Artificial joints/ metal rods
  • Embedded shrapnel
  • Metal in eyes (which may have resulted from sheet metal work)

All metal objects must be left outside the examination room. Such objects include:

  • Jewelry and watches
  • Hairpins
  • Dentures
  • Credit Cards

If you are wearing any clothing containing metal, such as zippers, snaps, underwire bras or bra hooks, you will be asked to undress and put on an exam gown. Procedure: You will lie on a table that positions you within the MRI unit, a large open-ended tube that will surround your body while you are being scanned. A trained and licensed radiologic technologist will observe you from another room, talking with you via intercom, while he or she operates the computer that controls the MRI unit. You will hear some tapping noises, as the computer generates the MRI images; during this time you should lie motionless so that the images are as clear as possible. If you feel uncomfortable, please tell the technologist, who can hear you at all times. We will provide you with earplugs or headphones.

Call Macon Community Hospital at 615-666-2147 to schedule a MRI.