Ever since German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays in the late 19th century, imaging has revolutionized the medical field – offering a window into the mysterious and sometimes perplexing human body. Within a year of his stroke of accidental genius, radiology departments were popping up (the first being founded in Glasgow hospital).
What is an Imaging Exam?
Typically performed by imaging specialists called radiologists, imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans may be ordered by your physician for a variety of reasons. Whether you’ve experienced a sports injury, or are having unexplained shortness of breath, an imaging study may be in the cards for you.
These diagnostic imaging exams give your physician the ability to “see” inside your body to get a picture of your bones, cartilage, organs, muscles, tendons, and nerves. Additionally, these tests help your care provider to make accurate diagnoses and develop the proper treatment plans for a variety of conditions.
Typically used as a first-line diagnostic test, X-rays, or radiographs, are widely available at physician’s offices and hospitals. By transmitting electromagnetic waves (radiation) through your body, X-ray film is exposed and reflect conditions that may affect your internal structure. For example, tumors appear as light areas on X-rays because they absorb radiation. Broken bones, on the other hand, appear darker on film due to radiation passing through them.
CT scans are another form of diagnostic imaging and are especially beneficial for examining people who may have suffered internal injuries due to trauma, such as a car accident. During this procedure, a patient passes through a large donut-shaped machine; the device harnesses the power of ionizing radiation to yield cross-sectional images, or “slices” of your bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues. Your physician or oncologist may order a CT scan if you’re gearing up for radiation in order to pinpoint the location of a tumor. Once you’ve gotten chemotherapy, CT scans are often utilized to determine the effectiveness of treatments.
Perhaps the costliest of all the imaging studies, MRIs are completed without the use of radiation. Instead, they use strong radiofrequency pulses and magnetic fields to generate detailed pictures of organs and other internal body structures. The energy emitted by radiofrequencies are sent to a computer – which then uses advanced mathematical formulas to convert them into an image. Your physician uses these images to glean detailed information about the inner organs or soft tissues, including the skeletal system, reproductive organs, and your brain.
Other Uses for Imaging Exams
In some cases, imaging isn’t utilized to evaluate a problem, but rather to measure progress. Case in point: ultrasounds. While they can be prescribed for issues relating to the abdomen, gallbladder, pelvis, breasts, thyroid, kidney, and testicles, they are also used in the obstetrics field of medicine to view the unborn child. If you’re pregnant, a physician may send you to an ultrasound technician to perform this procedure, which transforms high-frequency sound waves (echoes) into pictures.
A state-of-the-art facility, Independent Imaging staffs board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists who administer and examine a wide array of imaging tests from digital X-rays to CT scans. By staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and completing advanced coursework, they offer unparalleled service for your imaging needs.
It’s time see things clearly; with Independent Imaging – you can. For more information, call their office at (561) 795-5558.