by AccidentMD on 08/13/17
From a patient perspective, medical imaging is a set of diagnostic tools that through technology allows physicians and radiologists to create an image of the inside of the human body. Because the human body is complex, and the signs and symptoms of disease and injury are not always clear, medical professionals utilize imaging as a way of improving diagnosis.
For example, if a patient were to complain of pain in their lower leg, that pain may be caused by an injury to a muscle or ligament, a blood clot in a vein, or even a small fracture in a bone. The pain may also be from all of those factors. Medical imaging allows doctors a glimpse, sometimes a very detailed glimpse, of what is happening on the inside of our body. Here is some information about different types of medical scans and when they might be used.
Xray: The strength of an X ray is that it is a perfect tool to show the differences between our bones and bone density, and our soft tissue. This makes the X ray a perfect scan for diagnosing broken bones, and other bone disorders. The weakness of an X-ray is that it does not show much difference in soft tissue.
MRI Scan: The strength of an MRI is just the opposite of an X-ray. The MRI shows a lot of detail between different types of soft tissue. This makes the MRI a better diagnostic tool for details that involve a lot of soft tissue, such as imaging of our brain, or for diagnosing spinal injuries. The downside to MRI is that patients with pacemakers can not receive an MRI because of the magnetic fields produced by the MRI machine.
CT or CAT Scan: The strength of the CT scan is that it is able to take detailed images of bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels and show those results in one image. This means that the CT can provide complex details of an injury so that doctors can figure out how best to treat the patient. This is different from and MRI which provides limited detail of bones. The downside to the CT scan is that their small size limits who can receive a CT scan.