Imaging Services

When you need high-quality radiology and imaging to help diagnose, evaluate and treat a medical condition, we’re with you.

Our board-certified contracted radiologists, registered technologists and expertly trained staff, accredited by the American College of Radiology, will do all they can to make sure you have an effortless and comfortable experience with us.

With several imaging sites in the Kennebec Valley region, our staff can schedule you fast and get you in and out quickly.

Services

You'll find our precise and accurate imaging services can help medical staff with early detection, which is essential to successful treatment and recovery of many diseases, including cancer.

These services include:

You get faster results with Picture Archival Communications System (PACS) that sends exam images electronically to radiologists. Our radiologists interpret the exams and provide your health care provider with a written report usually within two to three days.

Specialized Equipment

An accurate diagnosis is key to any health concern. We offer a complete range of diagnostic imaging services, using the most advanced technology and highly skilled radiologists to help detect, prevent and treat diseases. Some of these advancements can replace surgical procedures and shorten recoveries.

Scheduling an Appointment

MaineGeneral’s Scheduling Department schedules appointments for diagnostic testing at our facility.

Our goal is to provide you with efficient, professional and friendly service.
To schedule an appointment, please call (207) 861-6422 or (207) 621-6422. The department is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To schedule an MRI, please call Maine Mobile MRI at 1-888-746-6674.

Referrals

MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging requires a written order from your physician for a radiology exam. Your doctor may give you the order to bring with you, enter the order electronically or fax it ahead of time.

Preparing for Your Exam

Some exams may need special preparation. Your health care provider will tell you about any preparation instructions. They're also described in the sections below that talk about our services. If you need more information or have questions, please call us.

Billing

You will receive separate bills for:

  • Radiology and diagnostic imaging tests
  • The radiologist’s interpretation of your test

Your health insurance coverage for these services depends on your insurance plan. Please check with your insurance company for this information.

Our Radiology Team

Radiologists diagnose diseases by supervising and interpreting medical images. They may compare/contrast medical image findings with prior studies, recommend further exams or treatments and consult with referring medical staff who send patients for diagnostic testing. Radiologists also treat some diseases by interventional procedures.

MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging staff work with the radiologists from Radiology Alliance of Maine:

Low-Dose CT

MaineGeneral Medical Center has low-dose advanced 64-slice CT systems at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta and the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville. These scanners deliver multiple high-quality images that accurately diagnose disease and detect life-threatening illnesses while lowering the radiation you are exposed to.

This state-of-the-art technology provides doctors with high-resolution images in a fraction of the time previously required, allowing them to accurately diagnose more patient conditions. The result is a higher level of care for you.

These advanced systems also provide:

  • CT Scans, including CT Colonography, Lung Screening and Coronary Calcium Scoring
  • Coronary CT Angiography. Physicians can capture high-definition images of your entire heart — to assess coronary artery disease — at radiation levels less than the typical average background radiation you are exposed to each year.
  • Stroke Assessment and Brain CT Angiography. If you have a stroke, it is important for doctors to act fast. Our advanced systems allow physicians to perform three-dimensional neurological and vascular function studies to quickly determine the cause of a stroke and begin the best course of treatment.

CT Scan Frequently Asked Questions

How do CT scans work?

Unlike regular X-rays, which show only bones, the CT scan shows high-resolution images of several types of tissues, organs such as lungs and kidneys, blood vessels and bones.

Imagine a loaf of bread. When you remove a slice, you can see the entire surface of the slice.

That's how a CT scan "sees" your body — from the outside skin to the center of the tissue or organ, from head to toe.

Put together, these slices or views form a detailed three-dimensional digital image. These images are captured on the computer and viewed by our radiologists, who can manipulate each image to evaluate it from all angles.

What can you expect during a CT scan?

A CT scanner looks like a large tube open at the front and back with an adjustable table in the center.

For your security, your technologist will verify your name and date of birth before helping you onto the table and positioning you for your test.

They may use pillows to help make sure you are comfortable and remain in the right position. You must remain still for the length of the test, which may take one to five minutes.

They may also cover you with a blanket during the procedure to ensure your privacy.

When the exam begins, the table slowly slides into the tube as the X-ray rotates around your body. You will likely hear some soft clicks as the table moves through the tube.

Although you will be alone in the room during the actual test, your technologist can hear and speak to you and will be right outside monitoring you throughout your scan.

For abdominal or pelvic scans, which require the use of oral contrast, you may be asked to arrive an hour before your appointment time.

How does the 64-slice scanner work?

At MaineGeneral, we have the newest generation CT scanners — 64-slice Somaton Definition AS — to provide you with low-dose CT exams to minimize the amount of radiation you are exposed to.

The test combines rapid X-ray scanning with multiple computed tomography (CT) to produce the most detailed images of the heart, lungs, brain and other organs without surgery.

A computer assembles the X-ray "slices" into an image of the organ that reveals its complete structure.

Depending on the organ or area being scanned, the patient may receive contrast dye to highlight the blood vessels to obtain a better image of the area.

These extremely high resolution images will greatly help your health care provider better diagnose some hard-to-detect conditions.

What can the low-dose 64-slice CT scanner detect?

This advanced system can diagnose common and hard-to-detect health problems in such areas as:

  • Head (i.e. stroke assessment)
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Heart (i.e. CT coronary angiography)
  • Abdomen
  • Lungs (i.e. 3D lung nodule analysis)
  • Colon (i.e. virtual colonography)
  • Legs

How do I schedule a low-dose CT scan?

Speak with your health care provider to see if MaineGeneral's 64-slice scanner may be helpful to your medical diagnosis.

For more information, please call MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging at (207) 626-1129 (Augusta) or (207) 872-1233 (Waterville).

DEXA Bone Density Screening

Early detection is important for patients who may be at risk for osteoporosis. Our doctors use an enhanced form of X-ray called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), the best-practice standard for measuring bone mineral density.

DEXA measures your bone mineral levels in your spine and hips while you lie on a comfortable table. It’s quick and painless and uses a small amount of X-ray equal to one-tenth the amount received during a chest X-ray.

DEXA bone density scanning is available in Augusta, Gardiner, Waterville and Winthrop.

Talk to your health care provider about whether a bone density screening is right for you.

Preparation for DEXA Scan

Here is what you need to know/steps to take before your appointment:

  • This test does not require fasting.
  • Do not take calcium supplements or any sort of antacid (Tums, Milk of Magnesia, Maalox, Pepto Bismol, etc.) within 24 hours of your exam — they can interfere with exam results. If you take one of these products on the day of your exam, we will reschedule your test.
  • Please do not wear clothing that contains metal to your exam as the metal will interfere with exam results.

Mammography

Early detection is your best protection against breast cancer. Breast cancer caught before it has spread to the lymph nodes has more than a 90 percent five-year survival rate.

That’s why MaineGeneral offers both digital and 3D mammography. With four locations, we make it easy to you to get this test.

Want to learn more? Talk to your health care provider about your mammography options. You also may call MaineGeneral's Women’s Imaging and Breast Health Center at (207) 621-6162.

Digital Mammography

MaineGeneral offers digital mammography in Augusta, Gardiner, Waterville and Winthrop.

To make it as painless and easy as possible, our skilled and compassionate staff will perform your mammogram with gentleness and care.

3D Mammography

MaineGeneral offers 3D mammography — the latest technology available —in Augusta, Waterville and Winthrop.

3D digital mammography is good for all women but is particularly helpful in detecting abnormalities in women with dense breasts because it gives the radiologist a much clearer picture of your breast tissue, with greater detail. This also reduces callbacks and false-positives — and the anxiety that goes with them.

Preparation for Mammography

Whether you have digital or 3D mammography, here’s what you need to know/steps to take before your visit:

  • Please do not use deodorants, powders or oils around the area of your breasts as these may interfere with the results of your mammogram.
    If that isn't possible, we provide body wipes so you can remove the product before your test and spray deodorant to use after your mammogram.
  • Radiology tests may be harmful to a patient who is pregnant. If you think you are pregnant, please arrange to have a pregnancy test before this appointment or reschedule your mammogram for after your next menstrual cycle.
  • If you have sensitive breasts, avoid caffeine for the week before your mammogram. If this appointment is scheduled during the week before your menstrual cycle, we recommend rescheduling it to either the week before or the week after.

3D Breast Biopsy

If you need a breast biopsy, MaineGeneral offers 3D biopsy at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta. 3D biopsy offers:

  • Superior image quality: 3D biopsy can quickly pinpoint subtle lesions and faint calcifications found during routine mammograms.
  • Comfort: You lie down while having the biopsy which is much more comfortable.
  • Total access to the breast: 360-degree breast access makes it easy to reach challenging lesions without having to change your position.
  • A faster procedure: 3D biopsy is quicker and more efficient, causing less disruption to your daily routine.

Want to learn more? Call MaineGeneral's Women’s Imaging and Breast Health Center at (207) 621-6162.

Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology (IR) uses X-ray and other imaging techniques to guide narrow tubes (catheters) and other small instruments through blood vessels and other pathways in your body. This allows our specialized physicians to treat a variety of medical disorders without surgery.

Procedures performed by our interventional radiologists generally are less costly and traumatic than traditional surgery. Many of these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, thus eliminating or reducing hospital stays.

Before your exam, you will receive a phone call from a specialized interventional nurse who will give you information and preparation instructions.

For more information, please call Imaging Services IR scheduling at (207) 621-3689.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) allow physicians to better evaluate parts of your body and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as X-rays, ultrasound or computer tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures.

MRI is used to evaluate soft tissue structure in the brain, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis and joints while MRA is used to evaluate the blood vessels in these areas.

MRI images are noninvasive and painless but they can be noisy. During the scan, we will give you ear protection. You can also listen to music if you choose to block the noise from the machine.

MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes. The imaging session lasts between 30 minutes and one hour.

MRI services are available at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta and Thayer Center for Health in Waterville.

Types of MRI Exams

  • Head
  • Spine
  • Musculoskeletal (knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrist)
  • MRA
  • Body
  • MR Guided Breast Biopsy

Before Your Exam

You will need to pre-register for your appointment. Please call (888) 746-6674, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One of our staff members will contact you to confirm your appointment and review safety procedures before your scheduled exam.

Unless you are told otherwise, you may eat and drink before your exam and take medications as usual.

If you have claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your health care provider for a prescription for a mild sedative and arrange to have someone drive you home after your exam.

Contact Us

If you have questions or want to speak with one of the technologists who will perform your exam, please call (207) 626-1499 (Augusta) or (207) 872-1674 (Waterville).

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is an imaging specialty that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal, endocrine and neurological disorders.

Procedures

Your health care provider may order a study to help monitor or diagnose a problem affecting your:

  • Cardiovascular system, such as coronary artery disease
  • Endocrine system, such as hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease)
  • Digestive system, such as acute gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Urinary system, such as urinary tract obstruction
  • Musculoskeletal system, such as bone injury (often associated with sports injuries)
  • Pulmonary (breathing) system, such as pulmonary emboli

Nuclear medicine also works with other medical specialties to offer therapy, including:

  • Radioiodine therapy for overactive thyroid and thyroid cancer
  • Radioimmunotherapy for blood cancer
  • Therapy for bone pain

Contact Us

If you have questions or want more information, please call MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging at:

  • Alfond Center for Health, Augusta: (207) 626-1417
  • Thayer Center for Health, Waterville: (207) 872-1044

Nuclear Medicine FAQs

Why is it called nuclear medicine?

Nuclear medicine refers to a medicine (a pharmaceutical) attached to a small amount of a radioactive material (a radioisotope). This combination is called a radiopharmaceutical. Many different radiopharmaceuticals are used to study various parts of the body. The one chosen for your study will depend on your medical condition.

How do radiopharmaceuticals work?

Radiopharmaceuticals are injected, swallowed or inhaled. The amount given is very small.

The pharmaceutical part goes to a specific place in your body where there could be disease or an abnormality.

The radioactive part emits radiation — known as gamma rays (similar to X-rays) — which is then detected using a special camera called a gamma camera. This lets the radiologist see what is happening inside your body.

Is the radioactivity harmful?

The amount of radiation in a typical procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic X-ray, and the amount received in a typical treatment procedure is kept within safe limits.

How is nuclear medicine different from an X-ray, a CT scan, an ultrasound or an MRI?

Nuclear medicine can detect radiation coming from inside a patient's body. It determines the cause of a medical problem based on organ function rather structure.

PET/CT

A PET/CT is a specialized type of nuclear medicine. It uses small amounts of positively charged particles (positrons) that emit energy for a camera to pick up and image. This is why it is called positron emission tomography (PET).

PET is combined with CT (computed tomography) so physicians can easily locate where problems can occur. PET detects small tumors but not the exact location. CT shows the size, shape and location. By doing the exams at the same time, our medical team gets more accurate information on the size, shape and location of even early-stage cancers.

In addition to being a diagnostic tool, PET/CT allows our doctors to see immediately how effectively cancer treatment is working so they can make treatment decisions much sooner than ever before.

MaineGeneral performs PET/CT scans at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta to:

  • Detect cancer
  • Determine whether a cancer has spread in the body
  • Assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as cancer therapy
  • Determine if a cancer has returned after treatment
  • Determine blood flow to the heart muscle
  • Evaluate brain abnormalities such as tumors, memory disorders, seizures and other central nervous system disorders
  • Map normal human brain and heart function

For more information, please call (207) 621-9470 or toll-free (888) 303-3922.

Preparation for PET/CT

Day of Your Exam

  • You'll receive instructions on what to do the day before and day of your test. Please read and carefully follow them.
  • Plan to be at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care for two hours.
  • If you are diabetic, our staff will work with you to manage your glucose level before the test.
  • Fasting: You must stop eating or drinking — other than plain unflavored water — six hours before you arrive at the cancer center for your exam. Do not have breath mints, breath strips, candy, cough drops or gum. We encourage you to drink water during this six-hour period; you cannot drink anything else.
  • Medications: Take your regularly scheduled medications and bring a list of the medications you take regularly. This includes over-the-counter drugs and herbals. If you need medication for pain or anxiety, please arrange for this with your health care provider before your exam and bring it with you.

What to Expect During Your Exam

  • After checking in with the receptionist in the main lobby, you'll be directed to Imaging. Our support service staff will greet you and let the Imaging staff know you have arrived.
  • The technologist will escort you to the PET/CT suite. You'll be weighed, brought to a private room with a comfortable recliner and given a heated blanket to keep you warm.
  • Our staff will review a questionnaire with you and answer your questions.
  • The technologist will start an IV in your arm or a nurse will access your port if you have one. We'll draw a small amount of blood to check your glucose level.
  • The technologist will inject radioactive sugar through the IV. While all cells use sugar for energy, certain types have a higher metabolism and absorb sugar much faster than ordinary cells. The PET/CT scan will identify these areas.
  • You must rest for one hour so the radioactive sugar has time to get into the cells throughout your body. You may listen to music or read while you rest. You will have a call box to contact the staff if needed.
  • When the hour is over, the staff will remove the IV and have you go to the bathroom.

The Scan

  • Following the resting phase, we'll escort you to the scan room and position you on the table with your arms resting above your head. If you can't do this, the technologist will make adjustments.
  • We'll place a support wedge under your knees and you'll receive a heated blanket.
  • When the exam begins, the table will move slowly into the opening. You may hear some soft clicks as the table moves through the scanner. The scan takes 20-30 minutes; you must remain still during this time.
  • When your scan is finished, you can return to normal activities. A technologist, nurse or physician will share any special instructions with you before you leave.
  • The small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. It may also pass out of your body through urine or stool during the first few hours or days after the test. Please drink plenty of water to help flush the material from your body as instructed by our staff.

A radiologist with specialized training in nuclear medicine will interpret the images and send a report to your referring physician.

General Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to make an image of your internal body structures. MaineGeneral Medical Center offers modern ultrasound services to study a developing fetus (unborn baby), abdominal and pelvic organs, muscles and tendons.

A specially trained sonographer will apply a lubricating gel on the part of your body being tested. It may feel wet and chilly, but it won't stain your clothing or hurt your skin.

Your technologist will then place a small handheld device called a transducer over the area being examined and gently move it around. You will not feel any pain but may be asked to change positions or hold your breath for short periods of time.

For more information, please call MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging:

  • Alfond Center for Health, Augusta: (207) 626-1485
  • Thayer Center for Health, Waterville: (207) 872-1230

Prep for Pelvic Ultrasound

This ultrasound examines your uterus and ovaries for disease or abnormality.

It's important that you have a full bladder for this test. Drink plenty of liquids (of your choice) for two hours before your exam, until your bladder is very full. Please do not empty your bladder until after your exam. You may also eat a light meal before this exam.

Please check in at our registration desk 15 minutes before your exam. We will escort you to our ultrasound area.

Please wear comfortable, loose clothing. We may ask you to remove your clothing and dress in a gown, which we will provide.

Sometimes we may need to do two types of exams. If this is the case, our ultrasound technologist will explain it to you in more detail.

Please plan to be in our department for 30-60 minutes.

Prep for Renal Ultrasound

This ultrasound examines your kidneys and bladder for disease or abnormality.

It's important that you have a full bladder for this test. Drink plenty of liquids (of your choice) for two hours before your exam, until your bladder is very full. Please do not empty your bladder until after your exam. You may also eat a light meal before this exam.

Please wear comfortable, loose clothing. We may ask you to remove your clothing and dress in a gown which we will provide.

Please check in at our registration desk 15 minutes before your exam. We will escort you to our ultrasound area.

You should plan to be in our department for 30-60 minutes.

Prep for Upper Abdomen, Gallbladder, Liver & Pancreas Ultrasounds

This scan examines internal organ/s for disease or abnormality. Fasting is required. Please do not eat or drink anything for eight hours before your test.

Please wear comfortable, loose clothing. We may ask you to remove your clothing and dress in a gown we will provide.

Please check in at our registration desk 15 minutes before your exam. We will escort you to our ultrasound area.

You should plan to be in our department for 30-60 minutes.

Vascular Ultrasound

Vascular ultrasound is a painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to look at blood vessels, including arteries and veins, in nearly any part of the body, including blood vessels in the neck, abdomen, arms and legs. The procedure does not require the use of needles or anesthesia.

Vascular ultrasounds are performed at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta. They take about 30 to 90 minutes to complete. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete the registration process.

To learn more, please call (207) 623-6594.

Prep for Abdominal Vascular Ultrasound

Do not eat or drink after midnight before your exam and the morning of the exam.

Take a GasX® tablet before bed the night before and before arrival for your exam.

If you have diabetes, your ordering provider’s office will give you special instructions.

The technologist will raise your shirt to expose your abdomen; you may keep your shirt on.

Prep for Carotid Vascular Ultrasound

No prep required. Please wear a shirt with a loose collar or buttons for easier access to the neck area.

Prep for Venous or Arterial Ultrasound

No prep required. Pants (ultrasound of legs) or shirt (ultrasound of arms) will be removed. Wear or bring comfortable walking shoes for possible treadmill testing (arterial testing only).

X-ray

MaineGeneral offers digital X-ray imaging in four convenient locations throughout the Kennebec Valley. When you need an X-ray, we’re with you!

Our state-of-the-art digital radiography is a filmless system that provides superior images instantly, unlike traditional film X-ray systems. With digital X-ray, dense tissues in the body — such as bones — appear white on an X-ray picture. Less dense tissues — such as muscles and organs — appear in shades of gray.

Digital X-rays mean shorter exam times with the lowest amount of radiation exposure. Because we don't have to process film and can see the results immediately, there are fewer retakes and delays.

Digital X-rays allow doctors to see images of your bones and internal organs within seconds. These images can be viewed on screen and saved immediately on a computer system.

The radiologist will interpret your exam and forward the results to the provider who ordered your digital X-ray.

During Your X-Ray

Depending on what part of your body is being examined, you may be lying down, sitting or standing for the test.

Your technologist will position your body where it needs to be and give instructions such as holding your breath or remaining still while the X-ray is taken.

In most cases, the test takes only a few minutes. Since digital images are seen within seconds, your technologist can tell you immediately if the image is clear or if a retake is necessary.

Although the technologist won't be in the room during the actual X-ray, they can hear and speak with you at all times.

Most people feel no discomfort during the exam. However, the X-ray table may feel hard and you may find a position uncomfortable for the very short period of time the X-ray is taken.

Contact Us

If you have questions, please ask your health care provider or call MaineGeneral Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging:

  • Augusta: (207) 626-1485
  • Waterville: (207) 872-1230

For information about services in Gardiner and Winthrop, please call the Augusta number.

Our Gardiner facility is moving Monday, Oct. 7! Learn more

Contact Us


Alfond Center for Health, Augusta: (207) 626-1485

Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, Augusta: (207) 621-9470

Gardiner: (207) 588-3580

Waterville: (207) 872-1230

Winthrop: (207) 623-6542