In preventive medicine as well as public health, effective treatment depends on correct diagnoses. A doctor may perform a physical examination, which involves asking relevant questions to determine the right treatment for their conditions. While it is true that clinical/ medical judgment can be used to diagnose many diseases, diagnostic imaging is necessary for assessing, documenting, and confirming many medical conditions and how patients respond to treatment. Diagnostic imaging, also known as medical imaging refers to a process and technique of creating visual images of the body’s interior for medical intervention and clinical analysis. Medical imaging can also be used to show visual representations of the tissues or organ functions.
Diagnostic imaging may be needed to diagnose and treat many medical conditions. There are different types of diagnostic imaging equipment which are used for this purpose. Some of these include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, ultrasound, positron emission tomography, and tactile imaging. Using high-quality and safe imaging can aid in medical decision-making and reduce unnecessary medical procedures. For example, using diagnostic imaging equipment like ultrasound can eliminate the need for surgery.
The following are 4 types of diagnostic imaging equipment:
Diagnostic ultrasound, which is also referred to as Sonography refers to a medical examination which utilizes high-frequency sound waves in addition to echoes to show live images of internal organs. The technique of producing echoes to view the inside of a patient’s body is the same as the echolocation, which is used by whales, dolphins, and bats. Its main aim is to identify the source of disease and eliminate the need for pathology. A doctor may use an ultrasound machine if they want to ascertain whether you have problems in certain tissues, vessels, and organs. Unlike x-ray or other imaging methods, an ultrasound does not use radiation. This explains why Sonography is preferred in checking how the baby is developing during pregnancy.
2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans
MRI is another type of diagnostic imaging equipment which utilizes strong radio waves and magnetic fields to create detailed pictures of the body’s tissues and organs. An MRI scanner usually looks like a large tube with a table at the center which allows patients to slide into. Your healthcare provider may prefer an MRI scan if they want to diagnose a patient or see how well they respond to treatment. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging does not use potentially damaging ionizing radiation.
3. X-Ray or Radiography
X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation which is used to produce images of the internal structures of a body. Radiography shows images of your body in white and black shades. Usually, beams of X-ray pass through your body and are absorbed in varying amounts depending on how dense the material is. Dense materials like bones, usually show up in white color on X-rays while the air in your lungs may appear as black shades. An X-ray may be performed on your bones to show images of infections or fractures. If performed on your chest, radiography can help identify signs of lung infections, breast cancer, and blocked blood vessels.
4. Computerized Tomography (CT) scans
A Computerized Tomography or CT scans combine X-ray images that are taken from varying body angles and computer processing to design images of the blood vessels, soft tissues, and bones in your body. A CT scan can be performed on any part of your body and it shows more detail compared to a normal X-ray. This type of diagnostic imaging is painless and does not take a lot of time. CT scans may be performed to detect joint and bone problems, and conditions like heart disease, cancer, and liver problems.
The benefits of using diagnostic imaging equipment are well documented. A doctor may use an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to see the inside of your body, to identify or rule out a medical condition, and to diagnose different diseases. Using CT scan equipment can help determine if surgery is important or to improve cancer treatment and diagnosis.