Abdominal Imaging

Abdominal Imaging is a specialty of Diagnostic Radiology, providing diagnostic imaging and intervention of abdominal and pelvic disorders. This specialization provides extensive clinical experience for optimal patient care and interactions with medical and surgical subspecialties.

The Section of Abdominal Imaging provides clinical service in the realms of ultrasound, body computed tomography (CT), body magnetic resonance (MR), gastrointestinal radiology and genitourinary radiology. In addition, the Section is responsible for imaging-guided biopsies utilizing ultrasound, MRI and CT. Most imaging examinations are ordered by a referring Physician, and scheduled according to the urgency of the study and the availability of the patient. Some examinations do require patient preparation, and patients are notified of this “prep” at the time of scheduling. All exam requests in CT, MR and gastrointestinal radiology are reviewed in advance by a Radiologist and tailored to provide the greatest yield of information possible in the safest manner for the patient. Requests for biopsies must be discussed in advance with a Radiologist, in order to provide the most favorable outcomes.

The Section performs studies on equipment in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM), the Center for Care and Discovery (CCD) and Mitchell Hospital. Available CT equipment includes 16, 64, and an advanced 256 slice channel scanners. These units allow accrual of high image detail in a short period of time, as needed for vascular CT angiography (CTA) studies and virtual colonography, as well as targeted exams of the kidneys, adrenal glands and liver. Body MR examinations are performed on 1.5 and 3 Tesla magnets, with an array of state of the art technologies, including abdominal, pelvic and transrectal coils. Ultrasound is housed in Mitchell Hospital, providing a full complement of examinations, including superficial, “small parts” studies, general ultrasound of the abdomen and Doppler flow studies. Gastrointestinal and genitourinary fluoroscopy for outpatients and some inpatients are performed on all-digital equipment in DCAM and in the CCD, with select inpatient studies scheduled in Mitchell Hospital. All biopsies are scheduled in Mitchell Hospital, and performed with CT fluoroscopy or on-screen ultrasound guidance capability. For patients undergoing abdominal biopsies, the services of a dedicated Radiology nursing unit is used to assure patient safety. We offer state of the art prostate MRI, MRI guided and MR-US fusion targeted biopsies of the prostate.

All imaging examinations are interpreted on a picture archiving communication system (PACS), which allows rapid review of images by health care providers in the University of Chicago Medical Center, and comparison with any previous examinations. Reports are generated by a voice dictation system. Reports appear in the hospital clinical information systems as well as the radiology PACS system. Patient examinations can be reviewed at any computer in the Institution, and remotely at geographically separate sites as well.

The Section is committed to ongoing quality assurance, participating in sectional and departmental projects. This process allows constant evaluation of techniques and outcomes for our patients, and comparison with best practice guidelines and national databases. Many functions have been integrated with our PACS system, including peer review, exam quality assessment, and a biopsy database.

As with the Department as a whole, Abdominal Imaging provides a broad range of educational opportunities to medical students, residents, fellows and others. The Section residency rotations and fellowship include daily teaching conferences, twice weekly didactic conferences, attendance at interdisciplinary conferences and clinical instruction during exam review. Responsibilities and goals for all trainees are defined, and educational materials provided for required and advanced reading. The radiology PACS system allows accrual of cases for conferences, the Abdominal Imaging teaching file and clinical/surgical follow up.

The Section is deeply involved in research, bridging the basic sciences and clinical realms. Virtual colonography was pioneered at the University of Chicago, with a long history of multi-institutional study involvement and grant funding. We have an active prostate MRI and MRI guided interventions program which includes pre-clinical and clinical trials on state-of the art prostate MRI , MRI  guided biopsies and image guided focal therapy with laser ablation and high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy (HiFU). Other areas of active research include CT and MR enterography in the evaluation of gastrointestinal disorders, diffusion weighted MR imaging of abdominal and pelvic diseases, and the role of informatics in quality assurance. These efforts are supported by industry, foundation, and federal grants. The Section remains on the forefront of defining utility for new equipment and procedures developed in conjunction with imaging companies.


Aytekin Oto, MD, MBA
Professor of Radiology
Interim Chairman, Radiology
Director, Body MR

Paul Chang, MD
Professor of Radiology
Vice Chair, Radiology Informatics

Abraham Dachman, MD
Professor of Radiology
Director, Fellowship Program

Brian Funaki, MD
Professor of Radiology
Section Chief, Interventional Radiology

Carla B. Harmath, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Kirti Kulkarni, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Melvy Mathew, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Pritesh Patel, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology

David Paushter, MD
Professor of Radiology