Medical Imaging | Radiology | Radiomics
Different Types of Imaging
Medical Imaging plays an important role in modern medicine. Medical Imaging techniques, also known as modality – including X-rays, Ultrasound, CT scans and MRI – can show structures inside your body in great detail. Each one uses a specific technology and modality. They differ in how well they show what is happening in certain body tissues. For example, X-Ray scans are often best at finding a break of a bone, whereas an MRI may be better for identifying a ligament injury.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging - MRI
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a painless way that medical professionals can look inside the body to see your organs and other body tissues. It’s designed to detect injured tissue or potentially harmful changes in your body. The MRI uses a large magnet, through radio waves, and a computer to generate images of your organs and tissues. There is no radiation involved with an MRI, and there are no known side effects.
During your MRI, you will lay down on a padded table which slides into the MRI machine. The procedure will last approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what body area is being scanned, and it’s important to lie as still as you can. If you experience any discomfort, it’s important to tell the technician performing your scan.
Computed Tomography - CT
A CT scan is also known as a CAT scan, or computed tomography scan. It is a special kind of X-ray that takes a picture of a cross-section of a specific part of your body. The purpose of a CT scan is to find specific changes inside your body that a normal X-ray machine may not be able to find. A CT scanner is a large X-ray tube that moves around your body and sends signals to a computer that then creates an image. The average CT scan takes approximately five to 10 minutes.
Nuclear Medicine Imaging, including Positron-Emission Tomography - PET
A PET/CT scan, or positron emission tomography, is an exam that uses a small amount of radioactive material to reveal the function of an organ or tissue. It is used to detect disease that begins with functional changes. When you arrive for your PET/CT scan, a technologist will then insert a catheter into a vein in your arm and inject a radio-tracer. The entire procedure takes approximately an hour plus an additional 20 to 30 minutes for the images to be completed.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. It is safe and painless, utilizing a small probe and gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe, through the gel, and into the body. A computer is connected to the probe and uses the sound waves to create an image. Ultrasounds do not use radiation, so there is no risk of exposure.
Ultrasound Imaging, also called Sonography, ultrasound imaging uses high-frequency sound waves to create images from inside the body. Captured in real time, these images show the movement of internal organs and blood through its vessels. Ultrasounds do not require radiation, which is a key difference from X-ray imaging. Ultrasound imaging has been used for over 20 years with a great safety record. Common ultrasound procedures include:
- Abdominal Ultrasound
- Bone Sonometry (for bone fragility)
- Breast Ultrasound
- Doppler fetal heart rate monitors (to listen to heart rate in fetuses)
- Doppler Ultrasound
- Echocardiogram (to view the heart)
- Fetal Ultrasound
- Ultrasound-guided biopsies (to collect tissue samples)
- Ophthalmic Ultrasound
- Ultrasound-guided needle placement
An X-ray is the oldest form of medical imaging. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure that helps medical professionals diagnose and treat medical conditions. Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small amount of radiation to produce a picture of that body part below the skin. It is often used to diagnose broken bones, infections, injury, or even locating foreign objects within soft tissue.
There are many types of X-ray imaging, including:
Radiography: the conventional X-ray
Fluoroscopy: a continuous X-ray image displayed on a monitor, allowing for real-time monitoring. Fluoroscopy may produce high doses of radiation in some cases.
CT scan: short for computed tomography, a CT scan captures multiple X-ray images as the detector moves around the body. These images are then reconstructed into “slices,” which show internal organs and tissues. CT scans use higher doses of radiation than typical X-rays.
These images can be a valuable tool for a variety of procedures and examinations, including diagnosis, support, and intervention. Note: Children are more radio-sensitive than adults, so dose reduction might be an important factor to discuss with your doctor if your child needs one of these imaging tests. Adults, however, are typically at less risk of radiation exposure than children.
Potential Risks of Imaging
Prolonged exposure to radiation has been known to be a risk factor in the development of cancer or of certain tissue effects like cataracts, skin reddening or hair loss. Some people may also have a reaction to a contrast dye used in some tests, though this is rare.
An Arthrogram is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses X-rays to guide and evaluate the injection of contrast directly into a joint. The purpose of an Arthrogram is to get more information about joints than a more traditional medical imaging procedure, like an MRI or CT scan, can provide alone. Typically, after an Arthrogram, it is required that you have an MRI or CT scan to obtain more information.
Medical Imaging Technology