Diagnostic imaging, also known as medical imaging, is the use of electromagnetic radiation and other technologies to create images of internal body structures for accurate diagnosis. Radiology, the branch of medicine that uses radiation to diagnose and treat diseases, is roughly equivalent to diagnostic imaging. Other technologies, such as ultrasound, which uses sound waves to visualise tissues, and endoscopy and similar methods, which use a flexible optical instrument with a camera for imaging, may also be used.
Medical Imaging Techniques
1) X-ray Imaging
X-rays, which have been in use since 1895, were the first type of radiation to provide images of the inside of the body. When X-rays strike photographic film, they darken it because they pass through bodily tissues. The X-rays are absorbed differentially as they penetrate tissues, with denser objects such as bones absorbing more of the rays and thus preventing them from reaching the film. On the other hand, soft tissues, absorb fewer rays; as a result, in an X-ray photograph of the inside of the body, bones appear lighter and soft tissues appear darker on the exposed film.
When used alone, X-rays have a limited ability to distinguish between adjacent, differentiated soft tissues of roughly the same density (i.e., it is not possible to produce contrasting tones between such objects on the exposed film). To achieve this contrast, a contrast medium—a liquid or gaseous substance that is either radiopaque or radiolucent to X-rays—is injected into the body. Contrast-medium fluids can be injected into naturally occurring body cavities, injected into the bloodstream and lymphatic vessels, swallowed or introduced via enema to study the digestive tract, or injected around organs to show their external contour.
X-ray imaging of specific types of soft internal structures, such as arteries and veins in angiography, blood flow through the heart in angiocardiography, gallbladder and biliary channels in cholecystography, the spinal cord in myelography, and the urinary tract in urography, is made possible by different contrast media. X-ray analysis can be used to look for physiological disturbances in normal structure in almost any part of the body.
X-ray motion-picture films can capture the body's processes as contrast media enters and exits various parts of the body.
X-rays have also been used in the development of other imaging techniques. X-ray images of deep internal structures can be obtained using tomography by focusing the rays on a specific plane within the body. Computed tomography, also known as a CT scan, is a more complex variation of this technique.
2) Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is a medical speciality that involves the scanning of radioactive isotopes that have been injected into tissues. Brain scanning employs both isotope scanning and X-ray photography. Positron emission tomography is an imaging technique related to isotope scanning. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, which uses very high-frequency radio waves to create images of thin slices of the body, is another type of diagnostic imaging.
Ultrasound is a technique for detecting abnormalities in internal organs that uses high-frequency sound waves. The types of radiation used in diagnostic imaging are expanding, as are the techniques for using them.
3) Endoscopy and Related Procedures
Endoscopy, laparoscopy, and colposcopy are examples of procedures that make use of generally flexible optical instruments that can be inserted through openings in the body that are either natural or surgical in origin.
Many scope instruments include small video cameras that allow the physician or surgeon to view the tissues under examination on a large monitor. A number of scopes are also designed to allow tissue biopsy, which involves collecting a small sample of tissue for histological study, to be performed in conjunction with visual analysis.
4) CT Scan
A CT scan is also known as a "cat scan" by doctors. The examination consists of a series of X-ray scans or images taken from various angles. After that, the computer software creates cross-sectional images (slices) of blood vessels and soft tissues within the body. CT scans can provide a more detailed picture than standard X-rays. They are frequently used to quickly examine people who have suffered internal injuries as a result of a trauma.
CT scans can be used by doctors to evaluate the spine, brain, abdomen, neck, and chest. They produce detailed images of both hard and soft tissues. The images produced by CT scans enable doctors to make quick medical decisions if necessary. CT scans are commonly performed in both imaging centres and hospitals due to their high quality. They assist physicians in detecting injuries and diseases that could previously only be discovered during surgery or an autopsy. Although CT scans use low doses of radiation, they are still non-invasive and safe.
These scans can be used in a variety of medical situations where diagnostic imagery is needed. They can detect minor changes in soft tissue, such as the brain, as well as other organs. Doctors also use the images when patients complain of symptoms such as dizziness or pain. They can even be used to track the spread of diseases like cancer.