Diagnostic Imaging: an Overview
Diagnostic imaging is an incredibly common healthcare practice, consisting of a non-invasive way to look inside the body. It is used to diagnose something within the body, or to examine how the body may be responding to certain treatments.
The practice is provided by both the national healthcare service and by privatised healthcare companies like OneWelbeck Imaging. Private providers often offer aftercare and support to patients after the diagnostic imaging has been conducted, which is an option preferred by many who are not familiar with the process of imaging.
Diagnostic imaging has come a long way since its first uses, and is considered completely safe and well-practiced today, with millions of people undergoing some form of imaging each year.
Types of Diagnostic Imaging (X ray, CT, MRI)
There are many types of diagnostic imaging which are commonly used in medical practices today. X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans are just three examples of imaging procedures conducted every day.
Perhaps most well known is the X-ray. An X-ray uses electromagnetic radiation in order to see inside the body. Usually, an X-ray will be able to identify issues with the bones (such as breakages, fractures etc.), the teeth, and the lungs. Undergoing an X-ray is fairly simple, and requires little from the patient. The process is quick and it is rare that the patient will experience any side-effects as a result of the X-ray.
A CT (computerised tomography) scan is another common form of diagnostic imaging. A CT scan uses combinations of X-ray measurements as this allows for a more complete picture of what is inside the body. This kind of imaging is used to diagnose a patient who is experiencing symptoms or advise and monitor a patient already undergoing treatment. Issues such as strokes and cancer are usually diagnosed and looked after with the help of a CT scan.
Another type of diagnostic imaging is the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. A little more complicated in its makeup, an MRI essentially uses a strong magnet to craft an image of a patient’s body. The procedure of getting an MRI is usually longer than that of a CT scan or an X-ray, but is incredibly useful in identifying a huge number of issues within the body.
Carrying out Diagnostic Imaging
Regardless of whether a patient is undergoing an X-ray, CT, or MRI scan, or something altogether different such as an ultrasound or PET scan, there is a standard procedural guide that each will follow. The priority is always the patient, and measures will be taken to ensure that said patient feels comfortable and informed about the diagnostic imaging process.
Each type of imaging takes a different amount of time to complete, and the way each type of imaging is conducted is also different. This can cause reactions in patients; claustrophobia, anxiety, and in some cases side effects from certain diagnostic imaging machines. However, imaging is always carried out by an experienced doctor, who will accommodate for the patient as much as is possible.
This is a basic overview of the most common types of imaging.If you have more specific questions about diagnostic imaging it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor.