Medical imaging is a vital component of the medical profession, whether you’re a patient or a medical practitioner. If you’ve been wondering what the most common types of medical imaging are and what they are primarily used for, then this article will explain the different types of medical imaging used in today’s medicine. It’s a field that’s constantly improving as technology advances, so the processes continue to get better and better.
What Is Medical Imaging?
In order for doctors, specialists, and surgeons to be able to evaluate a patient’s condition and pinpoint a specific problem, various types of medical imaging “paint a picture” of the area of the body in question. It enables medical staff to be able to see what’s going on inside the body without the need for invasive exploratory surgery to make a diagnosis.
Medical imaging is often used to determine things like broken bones, organ inflammation, the development of a foetus and more.
Let’s now look at some popular types of medical imagery.
The PET Scan
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is a painless type of imaging that involves injecting the patient with a radioactive tracer. Sometimes the tracer is also either ingested or inhaled into the body. A PET scan is useful for creating very detailed images of organs and bones for an accurate diagnosis of a problem. It’s a safe procedure that has been used for some years to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions.
The ultrasound has actually been in use since way back in 1956. It’s an extremely non-invasive type of medical imaging where gel is placed on the area of the body to be examined with a probe. The probe uses sound waves to produce a detailed image of things like internal organs and examines the growth and development of an unborn child. Ultrasound technology can also be used to examine injuries or the progress of recovery following abdominal surgery procedures.
Out of all of the medical imaging used today, x-rays are the oldest, having been invented back in 1895. with the use of radiation to form an internal image, x-rays are essentially like a photograph of internal structures and organs and are particularly useful for examining broken bones and other orthopedic conditions, including problems with the joints. Another useful and common way x-rays are used is to obtain an image when someone (especially a child) has swallowed a foreign object.
While x-ray technology is extremely safe, radiation is used to acquire the images, so there can be a build-up of radiation in a patient’s system if they receive an excessive amount of x-rays.
The letters “MRI” represent “Magnetic Resonance Imaging”. Because MRI scans don’t use radiation to produce an internal image, some consider it a better option than x-rays. Instead of radiation, radio waves combined with a powerful magnetic field are employed to create detailed images of bones, ligaments, and joints. That’s why MRI scans are the preferred medical imaging method for diagnosing sporting injuries. The downside is this process is quite slow and can take up to one hour to complete. However, an MRI scan produces very clear and detailed images.
Also known as a CT scan, the CAT scan uses computed tomography to produce images. In other words, a series of x-rays are taken. This x-ray series is used to formulate a cross-section of internal images to produce an accurate and detailed picture. CT scans are extremely useful for examining soft tissue, blood vessels, organs, and bones.
Finding Medical Imaging Jobs
A career in medical imaging can be extremely rewarding and is certainly a career path to consider. If you’ve already acquired the necessary qualifications and are looking for work in this field, teaming up with a dedicated recruitment agency that deals solely with jobs in the medical profession is the way to go.
When it comes to medical imaging jobsin Australia offers up many opportunities, so get in touch with a specialist medical recruitment agency.
This article has focused on the 5 main types of medical imaging used today. However, there are some exciting projects in the works that will soon advance this area of medical science, so keep an eye out for those.