Medical imaging creates visual representations of the inside of the body so doctors can better diagnose, monitor, and treat health issues. The procedures involved in medical imaging are typically painless for the patient, and most are noninvasive. Here, three common kinds of medical imaging are discussed in more detail.
A Guide to Kinds of Medical Imaging
1. CT Scans
A computerized tomography, or CT, scan takes a series of X-rays from various angles to present a comprehensive view of certain structures within the body. A CT is a relatively quick procedure—usually taking about 30 minutes—and can be used to diagnose and monitor bone and muscle diseases, internal injuries and bleeding, and many types of cancer. Before a CT scan, you may or may not receive a contrasting dye, depending on the orders of your doctor. During the scan, you lie still on a motorized table that moves through a tunnel-like structure. A CT scan exposes you to a minimal amount of radiation and is perfectly safe.
A magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scan utilizes magnets and radio waves to produce a detailed picture of the organs and tissues. The machine's magnetic field temporarily rearranges hydrogen atoms in the body, with the radio waves of the machine causing the atoms to emit extremely light signals. These signals are detected and arranged in a cross-section image of the area of the body being captured. MRIs are performed to get a thorough view of organs, tissues, and the skeletal system, providing diagnostic evidence of brain, spinal cord, heart, blood vessel, bone, and joint issues. An MRI is painless, and you move through a tube while lying on an automated table; again, you may or may not receive a contrasting dye. The whole procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour, and oftentimes the results of the tests are clearer than a CT.
An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to capture the inside of the body. During the procedure, a gel is applied to the body where the imaging needs to be done, then a wand that generates sound waves is placed atop the gel. Certain types of ultrasounds, like transvaginal or transrectal ultrasounds, require the wand to be inserted into the body. An ultrasound can be performed in minutes, and it uses no radiation. Because sound waves don't travel effectively through air or bones, areas of the body concealed by air or bones—such as the brain or lungs—will require more detailed tests like a CT or MRI.
Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center, LLC, provides medical imaging, including CTs and MRIs, to the Kenai, AK, area. They also offer traditional X-rays. Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center is committed to delivering the highest quality images at affordable prices. Call (907) 335-4674 or visit them online to schedule an appointment.