A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. In the medical world, a picture is essential for diagnosing health problems, but the picture needs to be taken of the inside of the body. Diagnostic imaging is the name for the many various types of technological devices that can be used by doctors to view the inner workings of the human body.
Computed tomography scans use X-ray (see below) technology along with advanced computing systems to see images of broken bones, blood clots, cancer, internal bleeding, and any signs of heart disease. This test is also painless and fairly simple. A mechanism will pass over your body as you lie on a table. You may need to ingest or be injected with a contrasting agent, a colorless solution that allows various parts of your body to show up more clearly.
Magnetic resonance imaging is a tool that utilizes large magnet and radio waves. The organs and structures inside the body can be seen in order to find torn ligaments, tumors, and other problems, especially of the brain and spinal cord. You will be slid into a tube or tunnel. The test is painless, but is quite loud and requires you to remain still for an extended time. It is important to tell your MRI technician if you are pregnant or have metal or electronic devices in your body. You may be injected with a contrasting agent to better differentiate organs or blood vessels.
Nuclear medicine scans
Radioactive substances are used to image structures and show functions within the body. A specialized camera is used to measure energy from the radioactive tracer, injected before the test. This test looks for cancers, injuries, infections, and the functioning of the heart and lungs. The tests vary in length while you lie on a scanning table. The dosage of radioactivity is small, and the benefits generally outweigh the risk.
A procedure called endoscopy uses a microscopic camera attached to a long, flexible tube that can be moved through the body. You doctor is able to see inside an organ, down body passageways, and even into the colon to assist in removing polyps during surgery. Different types of scopes are used for viewing: joints, abdomen, esophagus, large intestine, lungs, pelvis, stomach, and urinary system.
An ultrasound uses sound waves of high-frequency to view organs in inner structures of the body. A mechanism called a transducer is moved over certain areas of the body and sends out signals as the waves bounce off various body tissues. The waves that are sent out and bounced back are sent to a computer that creates images. The heart, blood vessels, kidney, liver, and uterus are most commonly viewed with an ultrasound. Doctors examine the fetus during pregnancy using an ultrasound. There is no exposure to radiation with an ultrasound. An echocardiogram is one type of ultrasound that looks at the heart.
An X-ray is a machine that uses a high energy radiation to create images of the inside of the body. A film called a radiograph records the images. X-rays can be used to look for bone breakage, lung or abdomen problems, issues with teeth, breast lumps, and other abnormalities. There is no pain associated with an X-ray. The process is quick and simple. Radiation exposure is minimal. If your physician needs a copy, a CD will be provided.
If you have a health concern that can’t be seen from the outside, diagnostic imaging will allow your doctor to examine and diagnose your problem accurately before beginning treatment. The Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Department at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point has the latest in diagnostic technology. Tests such as MRI, CT scan, Echocardiography, Ultrasound, Diagnostic Plain Imaging, Interventional Procedures, 64 Slice CT, Nuclear Studies, and Fluoroscopy are available to you. We utilize a computer system called PACs instead of film, to store your images and we can provide a CD copy upon request. Call Consult-A-Nurse® to make an appointment today.
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