When you go to the doctor, they might recommend that you get an imaging scan. Imaging scans are an important tool for diagnosing and treating diseases. They can help your doctor determine the cause of your symptoms, what treatment options are available to you, and if surgery is necessary.
There are many reasons why your doctor might want you to get an imaging scan. Some common reasons include:
- Checking for broken bones after an accident
- Looking for tumours or cancerous growths in the body
- Finding out if you have a heart condition or infection in your lungs
- Checking for internal bleeding following an injury or illness
- Looking for other problems in the body, such as kidney stones or gallstones
However, before you go for the scan, make sure you ask your doctor the following questions:
- What is the purpose of this scan?
- How long will the scan take?
- What are the potential risks involved in the scan?
- What precautions should I take before and after the scan?
Types of medical imaging
Medical imaging is the diagnostic technique by which human organs, tissues, and bones are imaged for diagnosis, treatment, and planning. This non-invasive form of imaging can provide radiologists with a lot of information about anatomy, soft tissue, and blood vessels under the skin’s surface in real time.
Some of the most common types of imaging include X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, and PET scan.
X-ray radiography is a type of medical imaging that uses X-rays to create a picture of the inside of the body. The X-ray machine transmits radiation through the patient’s body to produce an image.
X-ray radiography is a non-invasive method of imaging that can detect abnormalities in the bones, including tumours and fractures. It can also be used to diagnose conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and gastrointestinal diseases.
A CT (Computed Tomography) scan produces detailed cross-sectional images that provide information about the structure of organs and other body structures including blood vessels, soft tissues, and bones.
CT scans use X-rays to create an image of your internal organs and tissues. The X-rays are passed through your body and onto a detector, which transforms them into digital data. A computer then processes this information to create 2D or 3D images that can be viewed on a monitor or printed out.
CT scans are useful in diagnosing many conditions, including cancerous tumours, bone fractures, blood clots, infections, strokes, brain abnormalities like malformations, and heart disease.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images that show soft tissues and organs of the body.
The body’s cells contain water, which responds to these magnetic fields by aligning themselves with them. When these cells are exposed to powerful radio waves, they produce an electrical signal that can be used to be detected by the scanner.
MRI scan is used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including brain tumours, strokes, spinal disorders, and degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. It can also be used to identify problems with the heart or lungs, as well as other internal organs. A special type of MRI known as the functional MRI of the brain can also be used to assess blood flow in brain tissue, damage caused due to head injury or disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal organs and structures. In an ultrasound exam, a small device called a transducer emits sound waves that reflect off body structures. The returning echoes are then translated into an image by a computer. The resulting image shows cross-sectional views of the examined area in real-time.
Ultrasound is used to monitor pregnancy, and diagnose joint inflammation, gallbladder disease, problems in blood flow, breast lumps, and genital and prostate issues. They are also used to guide biopsy or tumour treatment.
PET scan stands for positron emission tomography. This type of medical imaging is used to diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. It is also used to evaluate brain function in patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
PET scans can detect abnormalities in the body such as inflammation and tumours that other tests cannot detect. It is performed by injecting a radioactive material called a tracer into the patient’s body. The tracer binds to certain areas of the body that are undergoing inflammation or cancerous growth. After the tracer has been injected, the patient lies on a table while an imaging machine takes pictures of their organs and tissues. These images are then analysed by a radiologist who determines if there are any abnormalities in these areas of the body.
When should I go for medical imaging?
There are many reasons why you may need to have a scan done. Your doctor may order an imaging test if they suspect that there is something wrong in your body, or if they want to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with it. This can be anything from checking your heart and lungs, to looking at your bones and joints, or even checking for tumours.
However, the first step is to meet your physician and get an accurate diagnosis of your condition to decide for imaging tests. It is important to be well-informed and determine the necessity of the test before making a decision.
At Qualitas Health our imaging services are available in all our countries.