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Through medical center and affiliate resources, our patients have access to some of the most advanced diagnostic capabilities available today. The sophistication of these capabilities is rare among community medical centers, and it actively demonstrates Salinas Valley Health’s enduring commitment to caring for people with cancer, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders, musculoskeletal injuries, respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions, and more.

To make an appointment, call 831-759-1856.

Computerized Tomography (CT)

Computerized tomography, sometimes called CT scan or CAT scan, uses special X-ray equipment to obtain image data from difference angles around the body. A computer then processes these images to show multiple cross-sections of the tissue and organs. CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissues – lungs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels – with great clarity. With the amount of detail shown on CT scans, radiologists can more easily diagnose cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma, and muscle and skeletal disorders. CT exams are used to plan and administer radiation treatments for tumors, guide biopsies, and plan surgery. Calcium scoring of the heart is another proactive use of the CT scan. CT scans play a significant role in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers and heart disease.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT)

Positron emission tomography (PET/CT) is a diagnostic tool that uses radioisotopes to image the body’s biochemical functions, detecting the presence, recurrence or spread of various types of cancer. Certain subtle changes in the body’s biochemistry are indications of different types of cancers, including but not limited to colon cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer and melanoma. PET/CT scans go beyond the scope of MRI and CT images to reveal the disease process before visible signs and symptoms may occur. PET/CT is also being utilized as a tool to identify early-stage heart disease and brain disorders.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create cross-sectional images of the head and body. MRA uses the same technology as MRI, with technicians using special settings to detect and diagnose blood vessel diseases. MRI images are used in the diagnosis of myocardial disease; central nervous system disorders; and joint, ligament, muscle and bone problems, among other conditions. Organ function, blood flow, presence of growths or lesions, and abnormal size or position of organs, bones, blood vessels or soft tissue structures are all analyzed by the radiologist evaluating the MRI images. Identifying damage caused by heart attack or heart disease and detection of plaque and blockages in the blood vessels are just a few examples of what the MRI or MRA can reveal.

With the Canon Vantage Titan™ MRI at Salinas Valley Health Advanced Imaging, Salinas Valley Health physicians and patients now have access to advanced diagnostic imaging designed with patient comfort in mind. This imaging system’s excellent magnet homogeneity provides superior image quality, its high-performance gradients support a wide range of imaging techniques, and the non-contrast MRA eliminates the need for contrast in some patients. Other features contributing to more comfortable exams include a shorter scan time, Pianissimo Zen sound-reduction technology, MR Theater, and an ultra-short, open-bore magnet and wide 71-centimeter gantry.


Ultrasound scanning works like underwater sonar using a device like a microphone pressed against the area being scanned. Most ultrasound scans are done from outside the body, through the skin. This device sends out very high-frequency sound waves, which go into the area being examined and bounce back when they hit an organ or blood vessel. These sound waves are processed by a computer, which produces a map of the area being scanned. This technique allows the radiographer to see static structures and to observe moving parts such as the heart of a baby in the womb or the valves inside an adult heart.

Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic radiology, more familiarly known as X-rays, is the oldest form of medical imaging. X-rays are a fast, painless and safe way for a doctor to view and assess conditions ranging from broken bones to pneumonia and cancer.

X-rays may be used in the following situations:

  • To determine whether a bone is chipped, dislocated or broken
  • To evaluate joint injuries and bone infections
  • To diagnose and monitor the progression of degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis
  • To screen for heart and lung diseases
  • To find and treat artery blockages
  • To diagnose the cause of persistent coughing or chest pain
  • To evaluate unexplained abdominal pain
  • To help locate objects that may have been accidentally swallowed by a child
  • To determine whether a bone or disk in the spine has been injured
  • To detect scoliosis and other spinal defects
  • To evaluate sinus infections
  • To locate dental problems
  • To diagnose cancer of the lung, intestines, stomach, liver, spleen, kidney and breast
  • To determine whether cancer has spread to the lungs from another part of the body

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine includes diagnostic examinations that use radioactive substances to produce images of body anatomy and function. These images result from the detection of energy emitted from harmless radioactive substances that are given to the patient either intravenously or by mouth. Nuclear medicine images assist physicians in diagnosing diseases, tumors and infections. Specifically, nuclear medicine can be used to analyze kidney function; show blood flow and functions of the heart; scan lungs for respiratory and blood-flow problems; identify blockage of the gallbladder; evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor; determine the presence or spread of cancer; identify bleeding into the bowel; locate the presence of infection; and measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.

Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiologists perform a broad range of minimally invasive procedures to assist with diagnosing and treating patients. Using highly specialized radiographic equipment, our radiologists are able to view arteries and veins to diagnose blockages and other blood vessel problems. Specialized devices allow the radiologist, in many cases, to treat a blocked blood vessel without surgery. Biopsies of organs such as the liver and kidneys, can be obtained under imaging guidance to diagnose disease. These procedures use the least invasive techniques to date to reduce risk, pain and recovery time, which can improve the overall health of our patients.