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Medical Imaging

Radiography

(X-Rays)

  • Uses ionizing radiation
  • How does it work?
    • X-ray beam passed through the body
    • Portion of the beam is scattered or absorbed by bones, organs, etc.
    • Remaining pattern is transmitted to a detector for further processing as a picture
  • Useful for detecting bone problems, infection, and tumors

Computed Tomography Scan

(CT Scan)

  • More powerful ionizing radiation than X-ray
  • Takes a 360-degree image of internal organs, spine, and vertebrae
    • Gives pictures in cross-sections
    • More detailed look at organs, soft tissue, blood vessels
  • Better diagnostic for cancer, heart disease, infection
  • More expensive than X-ray

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

(MRI)

  • Uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures
  • Used to detect tumors, bleeding, injury, blood vessel disease, or infection
    • The best tool to detect a stroke
  • Most expensive imaging study
  • Must remove all metal prior to exam

Ultrasound Scan

  • Uses high frequency sound waves to create images from inside the body
    • Sound waves travel through soft tissue and fluids but bounce off of denser tissue
    • The returning sound waves (echo) are measured and used to produce a picture
  • Does not use radiation--preferred method for pregnant women
  • Often used for imaging internal organs found in the abdomen (ex. gallbladder, liver)
  • Used to see babies in utero