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Radiology & Imaging


At UNM Health System Radiology and Imaging Services, we offer a wide range of tests, equipment and locations to meet all your needs in healthcare imaging. We perform nearly 300,000 procedures/exams each year ranging from x-rays to tests involving slightly radioactive material.

We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to meet your imaging needs. We follow the "Five Pillar" model to ensure this outcome:

  • Patient/People
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Growth
  • Finance

In Pediatric Radiology, we aim to provide optimal care using the imaging modalities of plain radiography (x-ray), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and work in conjunction with other specialists in nuclear medicine and neuroradiology. By using ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) and Image Gently™ principles, we strive to obtain diagnostic information in the safest manner possible for our patients.

Billing and Insurance

At UNM Health System and UNM Medical Group (UNMMG) we understand that working with insurance and other benefits can be challenging. That's why our billing department is available to assist you with any questions regarding billing statements you receive.

We contract with most major health insurance companies. Many insurance plans require prior authorization for imaging studies, typically for:

  • MRI
  • CT
  • Interventional radiology
  • Nuclear medicine

A 'prior authorization' number is issued by your insurance company and, if one is required, should be obtained before imaging studies are completed. Your doctor's office 'authorization/referral coordinator' is responsible for requesting authorization from the insurance company. The Radiology department monitors the process to ensure authorization has been obtained. If you believe that an authorization is needed and has not been obtained, you may:

  • Contact the doctor's office or clinic that ordered your imaging study. Ask for the "person who coordinates prior authorization and referral."
  • Contact your insurance company directly by dialing the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card. They can tell you whether or not a prior authorization is needed for the test you are to receive.
  • Contact a UNM Health Radiology patient care coordinator who can advise you whether or not your prior authorization is in place. Call 505-272-4545 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For any questions regarding your bill, you can contact the UNMMG at 866-756-8347 or UNM Health's billing customer service at 505-272-2521 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Our Services

Bone Density Test (DEXA)

This study, also called a DEXA scan, uses x-rays to measure the grams of calcium and other materials in a bone segment. It can determine the presence of osteoporosis, which is a condition that can cause bones to become fragile and break.

Contrast Medication

Some of our procedures have been designed to have contrast material administered to patients. Contrast, also known as "x-ray dye," is a medication given to patients to improve the visibility of organs, vessels, and fluids. There are several types of contrast. Some are given orally and some through an IV into the patient's vein or artery.

If your exam has been requested to have contrast given, you will be given instructions prior to your test to make sure the following occurs:

  • If IV contrast is given, patients will need lab work (blood draw) to review kidney functions if this has not been done in the last 30 days.
  • Instructions prior to test also known as "PREP" could include:
    • Nothing to eat prior
    • Follow up on medications currently being taking
    • Cleaning fluids

What if I'm allergic to IV contrast?

Based on the patient's history or responses to the pre-screening form, different options may be explored. These include:

  • Pre-medication prior to the study.
  • Perform the study without IV contrast.
  • Perform a different study (i.e., MRI, ultrasound).
  • Consult with provider.
  • Reschedule to include "pre-medication".

CT Scans

Computer tomography (CT) imaging, also known as a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan, is a type of medical imaging using radiation and computer processing to generate images of the patient’s body in “slices.” A combination of various x-ray views are taken to show cross sections of bone and soft tissue inside the body.

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Echocardiogram

This test uses sound waves to produce images of the heart, allowing your physician to examine how your heart is beating and pumping blood. It also tells your doctor the size and shape of your heart, as well as if there is any tissue damage.

Fluoroscopy

This is an imaging technique that uses x-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structure of a patient through the use of a fluoroscope (a tool with a fluorescent screen). We offer this test at our UNM Hospital and UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center locations.

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Interventional Radiology

Also known as surgical radiology, this is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that uses minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.

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Mammography

This test uses low-energy x-rays as a screening and a diagnostic tool to examine the patient’s breast and potentially detect breast cancer early. Our department offers the most advanced equipment, including:

  • Low-dose CT scanners that reduces a patient’s exposure to harmful radiation by 40%.
  • 3D breast tomosynthesis that captures several top-quality images, reducing the number of false readings.
  • A 3 Tesla MRI that delivers greatly increased image clarity that improves resolution of abnormalities for all body parts.

Our goal is to ensure follow-up care is met. If you have had previous mammograms at another facility, for your first visit to UNM Health please bring a CD copy and reports with you. Or you can call us in advance so we may retrieve a copy for your new test reading.

Learn more about mammography and breast health.

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MRI

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test uses a powerful magnetic field and computers to visualize internal structures in great detail. Our cutting-edge scanner provides high-resolution imaging and is the only MRI system with fiber optic technology.

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Nuclear Medicine

This is a medical test that enables a physician to evaluate the structure and function of various organs. Patients are given a small dosage of a radioactive substance that travels to the part of the body that needs to be examined. A special camera is then used to obtain images and data that help with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

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Ultrasound

Also called a sonogram, an ultrasound is a non-ionizing (meaning no radiation) test. This study is performed with a handheld transducer that sends out high-frequency sound waves that create real-time images of soft tissues such as organs and vessels. Ultrasound imaging is safe, painless and noninvasive and helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

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X-Rays

General imaging, also known as x-rays, is a type of medical imaging made by projecting x-rays through the body onto a detector. This is the only type of imaging we perform that offers walk-in services.

Schedule an appointment: (505) 272-4866

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