Understanding Advanced Imaging Technology
MRI … CT scan … Ultrasound. Your physician and healthcare team have many options available when it comes to advanced medical imaging that can detect and diagnose disease at an earlier and more treatable stage. Here’s a quick recap of the five most common imaging technologies and when they are used.
An X-ray is the oldest and most frequently used of the medical imaging technologies. This quick and painless procedure is primarily used to examine bones for fractures, infections, arthritis, osteoarthritis and cancer. It’s also used to check for lung infections, an enlarged heart, blocked blood vessels and problems in the digestive tract.
A CT scan is a series of X-rays that are taken at different angles. It creates a cross-section image of the body like a slice of bread. A CT scan is often used in trauma situations, such as an automobile accident, to check for internal injuries and bleeding. It’s also used to locate tumors, infections, blood clots, and fractures and to detect and monitor cancer and heart disease.
An MRI produces images by using a magnetic field and radio waves. For many tissues, an MRI produces a clearer and more detailed image than a CT scan. For example, it’s an excellent tool for capturing detailed images of soft tissue, such as the brain, heart, blood vessels, muscle, tendons, ligaments, nerves and internal organs.
A PET scan is a unique type of medical imaging because it checks the chemical activity in parts of your body. It’s primarily used for patients who have cancer, heart disease or brain disorders.
This technology uses sound waves to create images. Ultrasound is used to examine soft tissues that do not show up well on X-rays. It’s also used during pregnancy to avoid unnecessary exposure of the fetus to X-rays. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound that shows the heart at work, particularly the opening and closing of the valves.