You may need an imaging scan to diagnose or monitor certain illnesses, diseases, or injuries. Imaging scans are used in various ways to produce images of different parts of the body for use by doctors and other health professionals. The type of scan you will have depends on what doctor ordered it and why. There are many types of imaging scans, including x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans and 3D Scanning Services.
For some imaging scans (e.g., CT scan), you will receive contrast material through your IV line or injection into your vein before the procedure begins; for others, such as x-rays and portable ultrasound machines, you do not receive any contrast material.
Here are the most common ones:
1. Ultrasound scan
An ultrasound is a painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to portray images of the inside of the body. The person conducting the scan, called a sonographer, spreads a clear, warm gel on your skin and then moves a handheld device (called a transducer) over it. This type of imaging test can tell doctors whether a woman is pregnant and how far along the pregnancy is. In addition, it can look for problems with the fetus or placenta, problems with a baby’s heart, and other issues during pregnancy.
An X-ray is a type of imaging test that uses small amounts of radiation to create images of the body’s internal tissues and bones. It can also help health care providers find broken bones, foreign objects, and other issues. Sometimes an X-ray is used in combination with contrast material to provide better images.
3. MRI scan
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a painless medical test that uses large magnets and radio waves to create images of the inside of the brain, spine, and other structures. The scanner you lie on during an MRI scan is like a large tunnel with a magnet at its center. It’s imperative that you remove all metal from your body, such as piercing and jewelry and inform your doctor if you have any metal implants within your body, such as pacemakers or clips for brain aneurysms. You can easily book a private MRI scan online.
5. Nuclear medicine scans
Nuclear medicine scans use small amounts of radioactive substances either injected into your bloodstream or taken by mouth to help provide detailed images of different organs and structures in the body. Nuclear scans are frequently used for cancer diagnosis as they can help identify the size and location of the cancer.
6. CT scan
A computed tomography (CT) scanner is a machine that produces detailed images of the body and its organs. It does this by taking x-ray pictures from different angles and combining them into cross-sectional (tomographic) slices to give a 3D image of an organ. CT scans have been used since the 1970s and can provide much clearer results than standard x-rays do. They are often used to diagnose suspected cancerous growths in internal organs such as the bowel, liver, or pancreas. In some hospitals, they may also be used for coronary angiograms – tests that show blood vessels in detail – before performing heart surgery.
7. Bone scan
A bone scan is a nuclear imaging technique that uses low-dose gamma rays to produce images of the entire skeleton in order to detect any areas where too little calcium is being deposited or too much is being lost, the first signs of possible bone disease. The doctor will inject you with a tracer before the scan which collects in your bones. A special camera then takes pictures of your entire skeleton after you are placed on a table that slides into the machine’s scanner. Although it provides detailed information about how well your bones are working, it can’t identify problems with individual bones.
8. PET Scan
PET scans are used to create 3D images of the body’s organs and tissues. This imaging test shows how organs are functioning because healthy cells need more energy than unhealthy cells do. A tracer substance called a PET radiotracer is injected into one of your veins before you have the scan. Afterward, cameras record how much radiation is absorbed by your tissues. The machine detects pairs of gamma rays that are emitted simultaneously from each positron emission, effectively doubling the resulting image information. Used to diagnose or assess changes in heart disease, cancer, brain disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, lymphoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, neuroblastoma/Wilms tumor, etc.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. They are used to detect changes in the tissue of the breast that could be cancerous. The earliest sign of breast cancer is often thickening or lumps, but this can also happen with other less serious conditions as well. Although mammograms are used primarily to screen for breast cancer, they can also be used to examine lymph nodes if your doctor thinks you might have a condition affecting the lymphatic system (for example, infection). A mammogram can show swollen or enlarged lymph nodes near breast cancer sites. It’s important not to confuse these types of problems because treatment for them would be different.
10. CT Angiogram
A CT angiogram is a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan used to show blockages and narrowings within the blood vessels. It’s done by injecting a tracer, such as iodine or non-ionic contrast medium, into an artery that lies close to your skin. The tracer travels through your bloodstream and makes its way into the arteries supplying blood to your organs and tissues – for example, those in your neck, chest, and abdomen – where it highlights any problems. A computer then creates detailed images of the relevant structures.
There are many types of imaging scans available to help diagnose or monitor your condition. The type of scan you receive depends on the reason for it and who ordered it. For some scans, you may need to do some preparation beforehand. If so, be sure to follow the instructions from your doctor or healthcare team closely so that you have a successful scan and get quality results.
In addition, these imaging tests help the healthcare professional determine the extent of disease within your body and assess how effective a treatment might be on it. Also, they can provide crucial information about the likely course of a disease and identify which areas of your body are being targeted by cancer cells as they spread through your body. In this sense, imaging scans are essential tools for monitoring the status of disease over time.