Imaging scans have become a staple of modern medicine.
They are used for a myriad of medical reasons, and scans are used to find a lot of problems like bone fractures to tumors.
Equipment for imaging scanning is present in almost every hospital on the planet.
What Is an Imaging Scan?
The general definition of an imaging scan is the use of X-rays and computers to produce images of the body that may reveal medical problems. So, these imaging scans are used to diagnose many kinds of irregularities ranging from Cancer tumors to ligament problems. Hence, Imaging scans are the backbone of most medical diagnoses.
Specialists operate these devices, and the equipment is handled with immense care. X-rays are passed through the patient’s body, and the computer measures the difference in density and forms an image.
Imaging scans also raise a few concerns due to the amount of radiation absorbed by the patient. Some say it can be harmful, but mostly it is alright for one person. This may be considered a con of this really convenient device. But, scientists consider this dose of radiation to be harmless for patients.
Types Of Imaging Scans
There are many different types of imaging scans that have various uses. Each type has its own purpose, and all of them are used extensively in modern medicine. We will discuss a few types here:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan, concisely known as the MRI scan, is a medical diagnostic technique that uses a strong magnetic field and a computer to produce images of the body in several dimensions and angles.
MRI machines are huge and are in the form of a tube. The patients lie inside the tube, which is surrounded by the magnetic field. Water molecules in the body are reoriented by the field.
Radio waves are also used to create MRI images. Superconducting magnets also help to form images. The images produced are in 3D and can be viewed from many different angles.
MRI is used to investigate many problems. It is used in the testing of brain and spinal cord functionality, to assess heart and blood vessels, and for many musculoskeletal conditions. MRI also helps find problems in ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Another benefit of MRI is its use of mammography to detect breast cancer. Everyone nowadays should book a private MRI scan just to stay ahead of any future problems.
Computerized Axial Tomography scan or the CAT scan uses beams of X-rays to make a computerized image of the body. The tube contains a combination of beams and detectors. The beam passes X-rays through the body by moving around an axis, and the detectors absorb them on the opposite side. This helps in producing an image of the body in huge detail.
The images produced are 2-dimensional and are thorough. CAT scan is useful in quickly examining people who are involved in accidents or another type of trauma. They show any damage the body may have after the incident. They also provide processed images of blood vessels and soft tissues.
They have been in use since the ’70s and detect numerous medical injuries. They do carry the risk of radiation, but it is really trivial when compared to its benefits.
An ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of body parts like the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. It provides valuable diagnostic information.
Ultrasound is also used to identify injured joints like the knee and shoulder joints. Most Ultrasound examinations are done by a device outside the body. But a few may require the device to be placed inside the patient’s body.
This procedure is done for many purposes. An Ultrasound can evaluate blood flow, examine the thyroid gland, detect gallbladder issues, and assess synovitis. A lot of injuries can also be detected through this process.
Sonography has been in widespread use for years and no known risks have been detected. Ultrasound isn’t very effective in imaging the parts of the body with gas in them. So, this is a limitation of this very useful tool.
A technique used to study real time movement of different body structures. It obtains moving images of the body by using a fluoroscope. An X-ray beam is passed through the structure under examination and transmitted back to a monitor.
The images formed help physicians see those structures in motion. It’s a very simple device as it only consists of an X-ray source and a screen. It is used to examine numerous parts of the body. Important organs like the heart and kidneys are also examined by fluoroscopy.
Many procedures are also conducted by using Fluoroscopy. Lumbar puncture, Cardiac catheterization and arthrography are just some of the examples. Detailed analysis is the biggest benefit of fluoroscopy. It’s ability to project moving images is valuable.
Bone Densitometry (DEXA):
DEXA or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry is a technique that uses ionizing radiation to assess mineral bone density. Bone densitometry produces images of the body so bone loss can be measured.
Its common use is to diagnose Osteoporosis and evaluate its risk to the patient. It gives a precise assessment about the amount of minerals present in your bones. It is the most basic diagnosis for osteoporosis.
Bone densitometry is very convenient and easily done. The procedure is carried out without much preparation. It is highly recommended for women so the effect of osteoporosis can be predicted if present.
Positron Emission Tomography, also known as the PET scan, is an imaging tool used to diagnose several conditions. It is used in many fields, including cardiology, oncology, and in surgery.
It is also used for the metabolic study of your tissues and organs. It can differentiate between normal and abnormal metabolic activity. It is also useful in the neurology field.
PET uses a tracer that is injected into your vein and can give structural and functional information in one examination. The tracer used is mostly a drug. The tracer gives off gamma rays which are detected by PET, and images are produced.
A lot of diseases are identified by PET. Conditions like brain disorders, cancer, and heart disease can be diagnosed by PET.
There are a few risks associated with the radioactive tracer, but the risk of negative effects is low. You aren’t exposed to much radiation, and the benefits are certainly more than the risks.
Imaging scans are truly a marvel of science, and they are really valuable in modern medicine. There are a few risks attached with the radiation, but the pros massively outweigh the cons. So, if you or your doctor have identified which type of imaging scan you need, book an appointment right away and take control of your health.