Medical professionals use imaging scans to produce images of the body's internal organs and tissues. They are used to detect, locate and diagnose illnesses. In addition to identifying diseases, these scans are also used for pain management and monitoring some chronic conditions like arthritis.
There are different types of imaging scans. And since there are a variety of uses for imaging scans, it is important to know what each does to know when it should be used. Each type uses different methods to view areas inside the body and serve different purposes in medical care. Each type is also associated with its own risks and benefits.
X-ray scanning is also called radiography or roentgen ray. It is a diagnostic test that involves transmitting x-rays through the body to produce an image on film or a digital sensor. The procedure provides doctors with indirect information about internal organs, bones, muscles, tendons, and other body parts. X-rays are used primarily for looking at broken bones, foreign objects inside the patient's body, spinal alignment, and tumors.
X-ray scanners are portable. Depending on what part of the patient's body needs to be scanned, they can be moved from one location to another. The procedure is less invasive. It also allows doctors to locate cancerous tumors or growths in the body without performing any tests that would be invasive.
X-rays have their limitations too. They do not show what's happening within an organ. Only its interior structure is revealed using this type of imaging scan, and some images may be distorted if there are pathologies or tumors present. X-rays are also not effective in producing images of your brain, central nervous system, and muscles.
Although x-rays have low radiation levels, they can still cause cancerous tumors if done repeatedly over a short period. In addition, high amounts of exposure can cause heat burns and cataracts too. But generally speaking, this type of imaging scan is more positive than negative for medical care.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It is a test that produces detailed images of your organs, tissues, and muscles. The procedure involves circulating magnetic field waves through the body to create clear images of different internal parts from the brain to the toes. These pictures help doctors make accurate diagnoses about soft tissues, broken bones, tumors, and other areas inside the body.
The process is painless as it does not involve any injections or shots. There are no side effects either because patients remain conscious as they undergo this type of scanning. The MRI scanner is big, but it can be moved around easily so patients can have their scan done in just one room then quickly transferred to another location if need be.
A private MRI scan produces great medical results without much hassle. The images are detailed and allow doctors to see abnormalities or problems inside the body clearly. However, the procedure is not ideal for patients with a pacemaker since their device may interfere with the scanner's magnetic waves.
MRI scanning uses electromagnetic waves that are not harmful to your health in any way unless you're pregnant. It emits low radiation levels that may contact and harm unborn babies.
CT Scan, also called CAT scan, stands for computed tomography scanning or computerized axial tomography. CT scanning is a diagnostic test that produces images of your body's internal organs, bones, muscles, and soft tissues in a cross-section. CT scanning gives doctors a three-dimensional view of the patient's internal condition. This helps them determine if a tumor or infections are present inside the body.
CT Scanning uses X-rays as its base. But unlike conventional x-ray machines, this unique machine makes multiple passes around the suspected parts of the body by moving at different angles. These series of images are then compiled into one image that shows all spots and areas inside the body with crisp clarity.
CT scans are highly recommended for patients with brain, spine, and jaw problems. The images are very clear, so they are easy to analyze and print out. But CT scans aren't ideal when imaging areas inside the abdomen or pelvis since there's a tendency that some parts of the internal organs may be left out. In addition, certain metal implants such as heart pacemakers may interfere with the machine's results too.
CT scanning uses X-rays as its base and has other components that produce high radiation levels. This is why patients should not have this imaging taken repeatedly over short intervals. It is also not ideal to have this test done on pregnant patients because the radiation may enter the womb and harm the baby.
This scan uses sound waves instead of X-rays, which is much safer than CAT or CT scans. Some doctors even consider ultrasound scanning better than x-ray machines since these devices produce better pictures.
The ultrasound scanner looks like a thick machine with a large flat screen monitor in front. The patient lies on a bed, and the scanning device is moved around different parts of the body to get high-quality images. It takes about fifteen minutes to finish an ultrasound scan depending on how many areas inside your body need examining. After which, the result will be printed out for easy viewing.
Ultrasound is ideal for abdominal areas, such as your liver, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, or intestines since these parts are too small for other types of imaging scans. In addition, ultrasound scanning has dramatically evolved in recent years. Now, they can produce three-dimensional pictures of tissues, which were impossible before.
Ultrasound scanners do not use radiation, so there's no worry about exposure to harmful radiation. Although it is a non-invasive scan, some patients report discomfort when the pressure is applied to the body part being examined.
There are many types of scans used for medical purposes. Each one serves its own purpose and is ideal in certain situations. But the kinds of imaging scans vary in terms of cost and other factors. No matter what type you choose, it is crucial that you discuss your options with your doctor since they know best about your medical condition.