General radiography is the most basic form of medical imaging. It uses X-rays to create a fixed image of the inside of the body.
After reading and interpreting an X-ray, a radiologist will send a report to your referring physician. The radiologist may recommend further investigation through the use of other imaging methods.
Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie. It is used to diagnose or treat patients by displaying the movement of a body part or of an instrument or dye through the body.
During a fluoroscopy procedure, an X-ray beam is passed through the body. The image is transmitted to a monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures. Some examples include
- Barium X-rays and enemas (to view movement through the GI tract)
- Catheter insertion (to direct the placement of a catheter during angioplasty or angiography)
- Blood flow studies (to visualize blood flow to organs)
- Orthopedic surgery (to view fractures and fracture treatments)
Computed Tomography (CT)
CT scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. They provide greater clarity and more details than regular X-rays.
Using specialized equipment and expertise to create and interpret CT scans of the body, radiologists can more easily diagnose problems such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures.
Detailed MR images allow physicians to better evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).
Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. The soundwaves' echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time, visual image.
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease. In imaging, the radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged. In treatment, the radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated.
Lithotripsy is a medical procedure that uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). After the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of your body in your urine.
Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan, is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. A PET scan measures important body functions to help doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning.
CT imaging uses special X-ray equipment, and in some cases a contrast material, to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. These images can then be interpreted by a radiologist on a computer monitor as printed images. CT imaging provides excellent anatomic information.
Today, most PET scans are performed on instruments that are combined PET and CT scanners. The combined PET/CT scans provide images that pinpoint the location of abnormal metabolic activity within the body. The combined scans have been shown to provide more accurate diagnoses than the two scans performed separately.