Radiology is Essential to the Diagnosis of Many Diseases
Radiology, also called diagnostic imaging, is a series of different tests that take pictures or images of various parts of the body. Many of these tests are unique in that they allow doctors to see inside the body. A number of different imaging exams can be used to provide this view, including X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, and PET scan.
Radiologists interpret a broad spectrum of diagnostic tests including x-rays, ultrasound, bone mineral densitometry, fluoroscopy, mammography, nuclear medicine, CT and MRI.
X-ray or radiography uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the body’s internal structures. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. They are often used to help diagnosed fractured bones, look for injury or infection and to locate foreign objects in soft tissue. Some x-ray exams may use an iodine-based contrast material or barium to help improve the visibility of specific organs, blood vessels, tissues or bone.
Sonography is a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. Depending on the situation, sonography may be used to examine the abdomen, breasts, prostate, female reproductive organs, heart, blood vessels, and other areas.
In obstetrics, sonography is used to determine the number, age, and location of a fetus, as well as to check for potential birth defects. It is also used to identify abnormalities in the abdomen, such as liver disease or gallstones. Sonograms can also be used to detect heart disease. And therapeutically, sonography is often used to speed the healing of injured muscles and joints through the application of deep heat.
During a sonogram, the sonographer applies an odorless, colorless gel to the area to be examined. This gel helps conduct the sound waves from the ultrasound transducer to the area of focus. The sonographer moves the transducer around on the skin, which sends a stream of high-frequency sound waves into the body that bounces off the organs and tissues inside. As the waves bounce off internal structures, they create images that appear on a monitor. The sonographer watches the monitor, and he or she looks for visual cues that indicate whether the area being studied is healthy or unhealthy. The sonographer saves and stores the most important images he or she sees, and a physician then examines those images to make a diagnosis.