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Your Health. Your Hospital

Medical imaging is crucial in every medical setting and at all levels of health care. Effective decisions depend on correct diagnosis. Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital aims to provide timely, rapid and exact diagnostics of a disease. Our team consists of the very best radiographers, ultrasonographers, echo physiologists, consultant radiologists, who, together with the administrative and clerical staff, work together for the common goal of providing excellent diagnostics for the commencement of not only symptomatic but also timely pathogenic therapy.

High-Tech. High Standards

Our diagnostic imaging department uses the latest technology and provides excellent one-on-one care

We recognize the fact that going through a series of diagnostic tests can be overwhelming so we constantly strive to make the process and environment as easy and as comfortable as possible. Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is proud to offer some of the most advanced diagnostic tools available.

Our Vision: You Health

X-rays, CT-scans, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine: we use trusted, high-tech tools to ensure the correct diagnosis

Diagnostic imaging allows doctors to look inside your body for clues about a medical condition. Considering your symptoms and the part of your body being examined, the type of imaging your doctor uses will vary. Thus, diagnostic imaging includes:

  • X-Rays
  • CT Scans
  • Nuclear Medicine Scans
  • MRI Scans
  • Ultrasound

Imaging tests are painless and easy, but some require patients to stay still for a long time inside a machine and certain tests involve exposure to a small amount of radiation. For some imaging tests, anesthesia is needed because some procedures involve inserting a tiny camera attached to a long, thin tube into the patient’s body. This tool is called a scope and it is used to see inside a particular organ, such as the colon, lungs, or heart.


Pathology identifies and studies the following components of disease:

  • etiology or cause
  • pathogenesis or the mechanisms of development
  • morphologic changes or cell alterations
  • clinical manifestations or the consequences of structural changes

Our medical expert team at Marina del Rey Hospital incorporates skilled and experienced pathologists who work in the different divisions of the pathology department, ready to do everything in their power to help patients to a healthier life.

Clinical Pathology

Clinical pathology is the subspecialty of pathology that diagnoses disease through the laboratory testing of blood, urine and other body fluids, tissues, and microscopic cell analysis. Our board-certified clinical pathologists are physicians trained to direct particular laboratory divisions such as:

  • Blood bank
  • Clinical chemistry and biology
  • Toxicology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology and serology
  • Microbiology

Anatomic Pathology

Anatomic Pathology is the medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis of disease based on the:

  • macroscopic
  • microscopic
  • biochemical
  • immunologic
  • molecular

examination of organs and tissues.

Anatomic pathology covers a large spectrum of specialized divisions, all of which require extensive training, skill, talent, and experience.

Diagnostic Procedures at Marina Del Rey Hospital

An X-ray is a commonest diagnostic test that has helped doctors visualize the internal structures of your body without causing pain. This imaging test is important in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions. Sometimes, X-rays will be done to assist the placement of medical devices inside the body. Your doctor may order an X-ray to visualize a painful portion of your body and to monitor the treatment progress in conditions such as osteoporosis. Other conditions in which X-ray may be advised include arthritis, bone tumors, lung diseases, fractures, infections, swallowed objects, and decayed tooth.

A white blood cell (WBC) scan or leukocyte scan is a type of nuclear scan as it involves the use of a radioactive substance (tracer). This imaging test helps to find out areas of hidden infection or inflammation within your body, especially in the abdomen or bones. WBC scan may be ordered if there is unexplained fever or a sign of an abscess, osteomyelitis or pyelonephritis, especially during the post-operative period.

A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), also called cystogram is an X-ray test to study the bladder capacity and functions. It is done exactly when your bladder is emptying. This test helps to find out the reason for recurrent urinary tract or bladder infections in children. A VCUG may be done to evaluate difficulty in bladder emptying or reflux of urine from the bladder back into the kidney. In addition, abnormalities in the bladder or urethra as a result of birth defects or narrowing of the urethra can be identified through a VCUG.

A venogram is a radiographic test that allows your doctor to visualize and assess the condition of a vein or a group of veins. It involves the injection of a contrast dye fluid into your veins to reveal the way your blood flows through the veins. A venogram may be used to diagnose blood clot formation in veins and tumors. It can also reveal abnormalities in veins that lead to pain and swelling in your legs. Apart from this, a venogram may be done to assess the condition of varicose veins prior to surgery and recognize a suitable vein that can be used in a bypass procedure or as access for dialysis. In addition, a venogram helps in the placement of a stent within a vein.

Ureteroscopy is a technique used for the examination of upper urinary tract using a rigid or flexible optical instrument called ureteroscope, which is inserted into the urethra to the kidneys through urinary bladder and ureter. The patient may require anaesthesia during the procedure.

Ureteroscopy can be used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. A urologist can suggest ureteroscopy to investigate, diagnose and evaluate the cause of various urinary disorders like urinary tract infections, blockage in ureter, occurrence of cysts, stones, tumors, polyps or cancer in the ureter or the kidneys. Therapeutic use of ureteroscopy includes treatment of various abnormalities like ureteral stenosis or stricture, blockage in the ureteropelvic junction and treatment or removal of ureteral or kidney stones, cysts, tumors etc.

Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive, and painless imaging technique that makes use of high-frequency sound waves instead of ionizing radiation to create pictures of internal organs and structures inside your body. It is also called ultrasound scanning or sonography. This test helps doctors find out the reason for pain, swelling or infection in your organs and also to monitor the fetal growth during pregnancy. Ultrasound may also be used as guidance during a needle biopsy. It is also used to diagnose heart diseases such as congestive heart failure and valvular problems and assess the damage caused by heart attack.

Stress tests are also called exercise stress tests as these can check how well your heart functions while performing a physical activity. This test helps to find out heart problems that manifest only when your heart works harder than normal. It is easy to diagnose certain heart problems while it is beating faster. During the stress test, monitoring of your heart rhythm, blood pressure and the rate of breathing will be done as you are walking or running on a treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike. An exercise stress test helps to detect problems such as coronary heart disease, abnormalities in heart rate or blood pressure, and arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm). Your doctor may recommend stress testing if you complain of chest pain and shortness of breath even after low levels of activity. This test may also be used to assess heart failure or diseases of the heart valves and guide treatment of a heart disease.

Retrograde pyelography is a visualization technique, used by urologists to visualize the urinary tract, ureter and kidneys. The technique employs an optical instrument called cystoscope, which is inserted into the urinary bladder through the urethra. Then a contrasting dye is injected through the cystoscope into the bladder or the ureters, which enables the urologist to visualize these body parts clearly during X-ray imaging or fluoroscopy.

A urologist suggests retrograde pyelogram to investigate the reason for blockage of urine flow or to check the placement of a catheter or ureteral stent. The technique could be used for the diagnosis of various other urinary abnormalities.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique is a non-invasive test that employs magnetic field, radio frequency waves, and a computer instead of X-rays to retrieve detailed images of your bones and soft tissues as well as other internal organs. It helps doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions ranging from ligament tears and tumors. In addition, the treatment of chest, abdominal or pelvic disorders can be monitored with MRI. It is also helpful in the examination of brain and spinal cord disorders. Your doctor may order an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis of tumors, liver disorders such as cirrhosis, and heart diseases such as congenital heart disease, blood vessel malformation, and vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels).

Mammography is a special breast imaging technique that makes use of X-rays in low doses to detect breast cancer in early stages. A mammography examination is called a mammogram and aids in the screening of breast cancer in women even before symptoms appear (Screening Mammography). These can also help diagnose and evaluate breast cancer in women with signs such as the presence of lumps, dimpled appearance, and discharge from the nipples (Diagnostic Mammography). Screening mammography can reveal breast changes at least 2 years earlier than the time it is felt through physical examination. Therefore, the American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammography for women above the age of 40 to facilitate early detection of breast cancer. Mammography is advised in younger women with a high risk of breast cancer or signs of breast changes.

Laboratory studies include a collection of blood, urine or other body fluids, and tissues that will be tested in a laboratory to derive accurate information regarding an individual’s health condition. A laboratory technician will carefully check your sample of blood or urine to see whether the results are within the normal limits. Laboratory tests are often advised as a part of your routine medical check-up that helps to detect variations in your general health. These tests also assist in the diagnosis of diseases, treatment planning, and evaluation of treatment.

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) also called upper endoscopy or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a procedure in which an endoscope is passed down into your digestive tract to visualize the images of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and a part of the small intestine that will be displayed on a monitor. Sometimes, tiny tools may be passed along with the endoscope to remove tissue samples. An EGD may be advised to evaluate the cause of symptoms such as pain or discomfort in the chest or upper part of your abdomen, chronic heartburn, long-standing nausea or vomiting, pain or difficulty while swallowing, a feeling of fullness even after eating less amount of food, a feeling of some object trapped behind your breastbone, black-colored stools, and unexpected weight loss. Certain conditions such as upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding and strictures can be treated during an EGD procedure.

An endoscopy procedure involves the use of a specialized instrument called endoscope (a flexible tube equipped with a lighted camera) to visualize as well as perform operations on your internal organs without the need of larger incisions. Sometimes, an endoscope may be passed down through your mouth. It helps your doctor examine a particular portion of your body that has become infected, damaged, or turned cancerous. In such conditions, a biopsy will be done by removing a small portion of the tissue that will be sent to a laboratory. Endoscopy procedure may also be done to get rid of a polypoid growth from your colon.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a highly sensitive diagnostic technique, which enables a physician to visualize detailed structure and abnormalities in the biliary tree and pancreatic ducts. This technique plays a very important role for the precise identification of disorders like pancreas divisum, jaundice obstruction, pancreatic cancer, etc.

In this test an endoscope is inserted into the duodenum through the mouth, followed by the injection of a contrasting dye in the bile duct or pancreatic duct. This helps the physician in having clear X-ray images of the hepatic and pancreatic system. The technique has now become a cornerstone in the treatment of diseases like pancreatic cancer and pancreatic or gallbladder stones with minimal risk and inconvenience to the patient. Although the technique is highly accurate, it does involve some complications like bleeding and increased risk of infection.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test performed to detect any abnormality in the electrical signals or impulses produced by the cells of your brain. This test uses electrodes (small, flat discs of metal) that are attached to the scalp to analyze brain impulses and transmit signals to a computer that records the results. An EEG is a primary test used to diagnose epilepsy. It is also used to diagnose other brain disorders such as Alzheimer disease, encephalitis, encephalopathy, stroke, dementia, and brain tumor. Apart from this, an EEG also helps to evaluate sleep disorders and head injuries.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a painless test that can record the electrical activity of your heart in the form of line traces on a paper. This test is often done first to diagnose a heart disease. An ECG helps doctors to detect heart diseases such as arrhythmia, heart failure, and heart attack. Your doctor may advise an ECG if you have symptoms such as chest tightness or pain, dizziness/fainting spells, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and difficulty in breathing. It is also used to monitor the treatment progress that a medicine or device such as a pacemaker has made. An ECG may also be included in a routine health check-up during which heart diseases in their early stage can be detected and treatment can be planned accordingly.

An echocardiogram makes use of sound waves to create detailed pictures of your heart. With this painless test, your doctor can evaluate the functioning of your heart valves and chambers. In addition, an echocardiogram can also detect blood clots inside the heart, fluid accumulation in the sac surrounding the heart, problems with the aorta (major artery of the heart), and heart defects in the fetus. It may also be done to check for the damage caused to the heart muscle, particularly from a heart attack.

A duplex ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic test that is performed to assess the flow of blood through the arteries and veins throughout your body. Duplex ultrasound is a combination of the traditional ultrasound and Doppler ultrasonography. This test helps doctors accurately diagnose circulatory problems as it can reveal the presence of cholesterol build-up, obstruction in the blood flow, the diameter of blood vessels as well as the direction of blood flow within the major arteries. The test normally takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour and is used to diagnose circulatory diseases such as deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, renal vascular insufficiency, carotid occlusive disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

A doppler ultrasound is used to assess the flow of blood in larger arteries and veins present in your arms and legs. This test helps in the diagnosis of conditions such as arteriosclerosis of the arms and legs, venous insufficiency, and blood clots.

Cystoscopy is a technique in which a long, thin optical instrument, known as cystoscope is inserted through the urethra to look inside the urinary bladder. A cystoscope has an eyepiece at one end, a rigid or flexible middle part and a tiny lens and a light source at the other end.  Cystoscopy enables a urologist to:

  1. See the detailed images of the urethra and the urinary bladder from inside.
  2. Investigate the reasons for hematuria: blood in urine; increased urinary frequency; frequent urinary infections; urinary urgency and other urinary disorders.
  3. Visualize, remove or treat cysts, stones, tumors, polyps or cancer in the urethra or the urinary bladder.
  4. Take small pieces of urethral or bladder tissue (known as biopsy) for microscopic examination.
  5. Inject medication into the bladder to treat urinary leakage or other urinary problems.
  6. Inject dye during retrograde pyelography.

A computed tomography (CT scan) is an imaging technique that makes use of a computer and specialized X-ray equipments to generate multiple, detailed, cross-sectional images of various body parts. These are three-dimensional pictures that can be visualized on a computer screen or printed on a film or even stored in a CD. A CT scan helps to visualize soft tissues, bones, and blood vessels with great detail. This diagnostic test is a painless and minimally invasive procedure and is commonly advised to detect tumors/cancers, bone fractures, blood clots, cardiac problems, infections, appendicitis, and musculoskeletal disorders. During an emergency, CT scan will be done to trace internal injuries and bleeding. Sometimes, a contrast dye material may be injected into your body to help visualize the organs better. A CT scan may also be used a guidance during certain biopsies and surgical procedures.

Contrast mammary ductogram or galactography is the most widely used and efficient diagnostic technique for investigating breast disorders. In this approach, a contrast material or dye is injected into the mammary ducts followed by low dose X-ray imaging known as mammography. This enables the physician to clearly examine the patient for any abnormality or changes in the breasts.

This visualization technique is highly sensitive and thus could be employed for detecting small tumors and to identify or locate calcium deposits in breast. In comparison to surgical biopsy, galactography is more convenient to the patient.

Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a colonoscope - a thin, flexible tube with a small camera and a light source attached to its end- is used to visualize the inner portion of your large intestine and rectum. This test can reveal swollen or irritated intestinal lining, ulceration, abnormal growths such as polyps and cancer. A colonoscopy test may be advised to check for early signs of colon cancer and polyps (routine screening). Apart from this, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to determine the causes of symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, unusual bowel habits such as chronic diarrhea or constipation, bleeding from the rectum, and unexpected weight loss.

Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic test that is used to examine, check for any abnormalities, and figure out the cause of a problem in the airways of lungs bronchi and bronchioles. The procedure is also used in the treatment of certain lung diseases. To perform a bronchoscopy, your doctor will insert a thin tube that can bend easily (bronchoscope) into your nose, throat and then reach your airways. The bronchoscope will have a light source and a camera at its end that allows your doctor to visualize the internal airways. You will be under sedation throughout the procedure. Sometimes, mucus or lung tissue samples may be taken that will be sent to a laboratory for testing. A bronchoscopy procedure is used in the diagnosis of a tumor, a chronic cough, an infection, accumulation of excessive mucus in the airways, and to remove an accidentally inhaled object that causes airway blockage.

Blood tests involve the withdrawal of a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm with the help of a needle to analyze the various components present in the blood. Blood tests are commonly recommended during routine check-ups to find out whether your organs are functioning well. These tests reveal information that helps your doctor to diagnose certain disease conditions such as diabetes, anemia, HIV/AIDS, and cancer as well as to check whether a particular treatment is working well. Certain blood tests also assess blood’s clotting function. The most common blood tests include - Complete Blood Count (CBC), blood chemistry tests, blood enzyme tests, and blood tests to assess the risk of heart diseases. Most blood tests need no special preparation, but a few tests require fasting for about 8-10 hours prior to the procedure.

A biopsy alternately called tissue sampling is a diagnostic procedure in which a small portion of a tissue or cells are removed from our body and examined in a laboratory to detect abnormalities. Your doctor may advise a biopsy to identify a cancerous growth and confirm a diagnosis. This is a completely painless procedure, and based on your condition, a portion of your skin, tissue or abnormal growth will be removed surgically and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The different types of biopsies include - a needle biopsy, laparoscopic biopsy, and open biopsy. In all these biopsies, you will be under either local or general anesthesia, which keeps you comfortable throughout the procedure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Computed tomography (CT) uses X-ray photons for image production, with digital reconstruction.

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Contrast agents are substances used in certain situations to provide information that may not otherwise be retrieved, for instance in the gastrointestinal tract or the spinal canal.

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Fluoroscopy, mammography, contrast media, angiogram, arthrogram, upper GI series, lower GI series, intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or urogram.

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Types of specimens commonly used in clinical pathology are blood, urine, phlegm or sputum, etc.

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Medical imaging is not without risks, and it is important to understand them.

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