Advanced Diagnostic Techniques to Evaluate Brain and Nervous System Conditions
Neuroradiologists are radiologists who specialize in imaging of the brain, spine and soft tissues of the neck. They work closely with specialists in Neurology, Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology as well as other areas to provide state-of-the-art imaging of the brain and nervous system. This specialized expertise allows Loyola’s world-class team of physicians to see details and detect complications that might otherwise go undiagnosed. We provide imaging and consultation for the most severe neurologic cases including brain tumors, spinal tumors, seizures and degenerative process of the brain and spine.
Loyola’s skilled neuroimaging team offers many noninvasive diagnostic techniques for evaluating injuries, tumors, diseases and illnesses of the brain and nervous system. Utilizing the latest equipment ensures that we provide superior images with less radiation exposure for our patients. Our state-of-the-art equipment facilitates quicker and more effective image acquisition. Our expert radiologists are recognized nationally and internationally for clinical excellence, innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methods, and for skilled use of the latest technology. Our experienced technologists provide testing in a caring and compassionate environment where we want you to feel comfortable asking any questions you may have about your test or procedure.
Why Choose Loyola for Neuroradiology?
As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, comprehensive care to patients and trains future leaders in advanced neuroimaging technology. Our multidisciplinary neuroimaging team brings together neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiologists who are leaders in their fields. Loyola’s neuroimaging team is highly specialized and focused on advanced imaging studies of the brain, which allows for more precise imaging, more accurate diagnosis and more targeted treatments for our patients. This collaboration improves patient outcomes and sets Loyola apart from other centers.
Our neuro intensive care unit is staffed by certified technologists and trained neurology nurses, who have earned Magnet status. Loyola's neurology and neurosurgery departments are ranked 37th in the country on U.S. News & World Report's 2018-2019 Best Hospitals list. Loyola’s Stroke Center has also been accredited by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. Your entire Loyola healthcare team has one goal: restoring you to better health.
Electronic images are available to your doctors instantly through an electronic medical record system, allowing us to deliver timely, effective care to our patients. At Loyola, we understand the importance of continuity of care and will provide seamless communication with your doctor through our secure medical information portal, LoyolaConnect. You can also access results from your lab tests and evaluations through myLoyola.
Neuroradiology Tests Available at Loyola
Loyola Medicine offers state-of-the-art neuroimaging and diagnostic techniques for the diagnosis of neurological symptoms, such as weakness or numbness. We understand that unusual symptoms cause concern; your Loyola team will determine the cause of your symptoms and provide a comprehensive plan of treatment as soon as possible.
We offer the latest neuroradiology techniques and leading-edge procedures, including:
- Ambulatory electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring — This test allows the patient to be monitored for electrical brain activity patterns while at home. This procedure is used for diagnosis in complex seizure cases.
- Carotid ultrasound — This test uses sound waves to create an image of the carotid artery. This helps to determine whether there is a buildup of plaque, which is a risk factor for stroke.
- Catheter cerebral angiography — Using a contrast dye and a catheter, this procedure provides images of blood vessels in the brain and neck.
- CT angiography (computed tomography angiography) — This procedure allows a noninvasive visualization of the blood vessels in the brain and neck. A series of cross-sectional X-rays captures images of the blood flow and records any narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels.
- CT perfusion (computed tomography perfusion) — This test records the amount of blood flow to different areas of the brain.
- CT scan (computed tomography) — A CT scan combines a series of cross-sectional X-rays that allow your doctor to visualize the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues in the body. This aids in diagnosing disease or injury and creating an effective treatment plan. Learn more about CT scans.
- Electroencephalography (EEG) — This procedure measures the electric signals sent between brain cells. EEG tests are often used to monitor epilepsy patients, providing valuable information about where epileptic seizures tend to occur in the brain. Learn more about EEG.
- Electromyography (EMG) — This test is used to evaluate the health of the muscles and record the electrical signals that are sent as a muscle is flexed. Learn more about EMG.
- Electroretinography — This test records the electrical response of the light-sensitive rod and cone cells in the retina in the back of the eye.
- Evoked potentials — This test measures the electrical activity in the brain when the patient is stimulated by light, sound or electrical impulse.
- fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) — This test determines how much oxygen is being used by certain brain cells, providing information about which areas of the brain are active during certain thoughts, states or actions. Learn more about fMRIs.
- MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) — This test uses radio waves and magnetic fields to produce detailed pictures of the body’s internal organs and soft tissues without using X-rays. Contrast medium may be used to better visualize structures in the brain. In addition to providing high-quality images noninvasively, MRA can provide an assessment of blood flow.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) — MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (X-rays). MRI aids your doctor in evaluating problems such as persistent headaches, dizziness, weakness, blurry vision and seizures. It can help to detect chronic diseases of the nervous system including multiple sclerosis. Learn more about MRIs.
- MRI diffusion/perfusion — This procedure uses an MRI scan to record how blood is absorbed by the brain cells.
- MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy) — In this test, the MRI scan is combined with spectroscopy to determine the biochemical balance of the brain. This can aid in the detection of tumors.
- MR tractography — This test uses an MRI scan to create 3D images of the white matter tissue of the brain.
- MRV (magnetic resonance venography) — This procedure uses a contrast agent to plot the flow of blood through veins, recording these images with an MRI.
- Nerve conduction velocity study (NCV) — This test measures how fast an electrical impulse travels through muscle tissue.
- Neuropsychological and cognitive neuroscience testing — These tests help to determine a patient’s ability to reason, remember, focus and solve problems.
- PET scan (positron emission tomography) — Loyola offers one of the world’s most sophisticated PET scanners for detecting cancer, heart disease and neurological problems. This nuclear imaging study is used to show how the organs are functioning through the use of a tracer that highlights abnormalities and disease. Several PET scans may be taken over time to monitor how well you are responding to treatment for cancer or another illness.
- Polysomnography (PSM) — These tests are conducted to determine whether a patient has a sleep disorder. These tests evaluate lung air flow, blood oxygen levels, body position, brain waves, the rate and effort of breathing, electrical activity of the muscles, eye movement and heart rate. Learn more about sleep disorders.
- Prolonged electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring — This test, which is conducted at the hospital over the course of several days, provides information about brain activity and helps to determine which part of the brain is involved in complex seizures.
- Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) — The SEP test studies how nerves relay information about body sensations such as touch, taste, hearing and sight, along with how the brain processes these messages.
- SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) – The most common uses of SPECT are to help diagnose or monitor brain disorders, heart problems and bone disorders. SPECT can also be helpful in determining which parts of the brain are being affected by dementia, as well as detecting clogged blood vessels, seizures, epilepsy or head injuries.
- Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography — This test is used to measure blood flow and identify blocked or narrowed arteries through the use of high-frequency sound waves. Doppler ultrasound may be used to evaluate the brain’s major arteries and veins. It can aid in the diagnosis of blood clots and aneurysms.
- Video EEG monitoring — This procedure is the most informative tool in diagnosing epilepsy. Using this technology, we use continuous EEG monitoring and recorded video of a person’s external response to seizures, which allows your doctor to evaluate brain wave activity during seizures.
Advanced Research to Improve Neuroradiology Diagnostic Tests
As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future neuroradiology treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments, with active studies that include:
- Breast imaging and intervention
- Helical CT
- MRIs of patients with arrhythmias and heart failure
- Ultrasound imaging
- Vascular and neurovascular intervention
Several of our faculty also serve on the boards of leading scientific journals. Loyola’s patients benefit from research discoveries made here. Read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.