Friday, December 9, 2011

Different Types Of Medical Diagnostic Imaging by Kathryn Dawson

Diagnostic imaging is an umbrella term for a wide variety of scans, examinations and images that are used in the field of medicine. Technology today is extremely advanced and now physicians can call upon a variety of imaging techniques to help examine the inside of the body and therefore make an accurate diagnosis. Scans and images of the body can enable a host of health problems and abnormalities be seen that might otherwise go unnoticed as symptoms of serious illness does not always appear immediately. For anyone wishing to know more about the different type of diagnostic imaging used today and how they can help a patient, this article is for you.

Radiologic technology

This is much more commonly known as X-ray technology, and this is probably the most well known type of image taken of the body. A radiologic technologist is responsible for carrying out x-ray examinations, a procedure where a small dose of radiation passes through the body, some of the rays being absorbed as they go and all traveling at different speeds. These rays are projected onto special film which produces an image of the inside of the body. X-rays are most commonly used to look for fractures and broken bones although other conditions can be spotted from an X-ray. If a doctor notices something unusual in an X-ray then usually a further test such as an MRI scan or CT scan may be carried out. None of these are invasive procedures, and the patient can receive them on an outpatient basis. Scans such as these are often undertaken following a serious accident or trauma.

Ultrasound technology

Usually an ultrasound is the imaging solution for examining fetuses within the womb. Ultrasound technology can view body structures in a way that X-rays cannot and provides a clearer and more in depth picture. Although pregnancy is a common reason for using ultrasound technology, it can also be used to examine the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and internal organs within the body.

CT Scans

Also known as CAT Scans, these are a more advanced type of scan that can be used to examine the whole body from the brain to the ligaments. It too uses radiation in the same way that traditional X-rays do, however the multitude of images that get taken are processed by CT software to provide doctors with a 3D image of the body. In this way it is a very effective type of scan, capable of detecting most serious illnesses including the majority of cancers and tumors. It is a non-invasive procedure just like the X-ray and is particularly appropriate and often the imaging solution for anyone who has been involved in a serious trauma where there are no outward signs of serious injury. Internal bleeding or swelling of the brain could easily have occurred but would need a CT scan to detect.

MRI Scan

An MRI stands for magnetic resonance image and this too provides an incredibly accurate and effective way of scanning the body. Rather than using X-rays, an MRI consists of creating a magnetic field through which radio waves travel to the area of the body being examined. This makes the nuclei of the atoms in the specific region emit energy which can be detected by a computer. An image is created on the computer that can then be interpreted by a radiologist.

There are further examples of medical diagnostic imaging that are used every day by doctors throughout the world. There is no doubt that medical imaging solution technology plays a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from serious illness. Scans such as those outlined above are important components of oncology solutions in particular as they may enable the cancer to be caught early and therefore treated more successfully. Scanned images coupled with modern technology and software are an efficient and reliable way to clearly see the interior of the body and are increasingly assisting medical teams in carrying out successful diagnoses and treatment.