Imaging & Radiology Services

CT Scan (64 Slice)

While a regular x-ray only shows one view, CT creates a cross-section of the body by using x-ray beams in a spiral path around the body.  A computer program looks at the information from the x-ray and then creates an image that is displayed or printed.

Western Plains Medical Complex provides one of the most advanced systems in Southwest Kansas with our new 64 Slice CT Scanner.

Imagine a loaf of bread with only 16 slices.  Now imagine a loaf of bread with 64 slices.  Each slice would be thinner and much easier to analyze.  More slices means that with this machine, we are able to see more detailed images in a shorter amount of scanning time. 


Ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses high frequency sound technology to ‘see' inside the body similar to the way sonar is used to ‘see' objects under water.  The procedure is safe and painless.

Because sound waves don't travel through bones or pockets of gas or air, the ultrasound is limited in its uses and CT, MRI or other imaging tests may also be required, depending on the diagnosis.

Digital Mammography

Mammography is the process of taking an x-ray picture of the breast. Usually, two views of each breast are taken, one from the side and one from above. This way, the physician can identify abnormalities such as very small lumps, areas of calcification, or other changes that occur when they are much too small to be felt by a woman or her physician.

Women over 40 should have a mammogram every one to two years if they are at average risk for breast cancer. Women with higher risk for breast cancer should speak with their physicians to determine at what age and how often to have a mammogram.


The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses magnetic and radio waves to pick up the vibrations of the cells of the body. The computer turns the signals into a picture based on the location and strength of the signals.

Using an MRI scanner, it is possible to make pictures of almost all the tissue in the body. Different types of tissue respond differently to the radio waves so some parts of the body such as bones shows up dark on the images, while other tissue such as muscle or fat looks much brighter. By changing the timing of the radio wave pulses it is possible to gain information about the different types of tissues that are present.

An MRI scan is also able to provide clear pictures of parts of the body that are surrounded by bone tissue, so the technique is useful when examining the brain and spinal cord.

There are benefits to using MRI for certain kinds of diagnostic needs.  For example, while a CT scan only shows horizontal images, with an MRI scan it is possible to take pictures from almost every angle. The traditional or ‘closed' MRI provides a much clearer image and is therefore preferred by many physicians.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a safe, painless, and cost-effective way of gathering information about how well a body is functioning in certain areas.  Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are having, a ‘radiotracer' is injected into a vein, swallowed, or inhaled as a gas and goes to the area of your body being examined where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays.  This energy is detected by a device called a nuclear gamma camera.

One of the unique aspects of a nuclear medicine test is its ability to show abnormalities in structure (such as weak spots in blood vessel walls) or limits in function such as irregular or inadequate blood flow to various tissues.  Nuclear medicine images can often identify abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease.  This early detection means a disease can be treated early for a more successful prognosis.

Although nuclear medicine is commonly used for diagnostic purposes, it also has valuable therapeutic applications such as treatment of hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, blood imbalances, and pain relief from certain types of bone cancer.

Nuclear medicine procedures are among the safest diagnostic imaging exams available. A patient receives an extremely small amount of a radio-pharmaceutical - just enough to provide sufficient diagnostic information. The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to, or often times less than, that of a diagnostic x-ray.

Bone Densitometer

Bone density scans check the amount of calcium and other minerals that are present in an area of bone. Bone density can be a key indicator in determining if a person has osteoporosis or is at risk of developing osteoporosis. Bone mineral density measurement with the DEXA (dual energy x-ray) is painless, requires no injections, sedation, special diet, or any other advance preparation. The entire exam typically takes just a few minutes to complete. Bone densitometry can also be used to estimate a patient's risk of fracture.

Osteoporosis can lead to fractures of the hip, spine, forearm and other bones. With good screening and treatment, much of the pain and disability caused by this disease is preventable.