A computerised tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body When CT scans are used
CT scans can produce detailed images of many structures inside the body, including the internal organs, blood vessels and bones. They can be used to:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. An MRI scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body, including the:
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can pass through solid objects, including the body. X-rays penetrate different objects more or less according to their density. In medicine, X-rays are used to view images of the bones and other structures in the body. The most common form of X-ray used is X-ray radiography, which can be used to help detect or diagnose:
Dental X-rays (radiographs) are images of your teeth that your dentist uses to evaluate your oral health. These X-rays are used with low levels of radiation to capture images of the interior of your teeth and gums. This can help your dentist to identify problems, like cavities, tooth decay, and impacted teeth.
Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower (or lumbar) spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, to assess an individual's risk for developing osteoporotic fractures. DXA is simple, quick and noninvasive. It's also the most commonly used and the most standard method for diagnosing osteoporosis.
The Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA), a low-dose x-ray examination of the spine to screen for vertebral fractures that is performed on the DXA machine, may be recommended for older patients, especially if: they have lost more than an inch of height.
Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer early – before women experience symptoms – when it is most treatable. Tell your doctor about any breast symptoms or problems, prior surgeries, hormone use, whether you have a family or personal history of breast cancer, and if there's a possibility you are pregnant. If possible, obtain copies of your prior mammograms and make them available to your radiologist on the day of your exam. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. Don't wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts as these may appear on the mammogram and interfere with correct diagnosis.
Breast tomosynthesis, also called three-dimensional (3-D) mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), is an advanced form of breast imaging where multiple images of the breast from different angles are captured and reconstructed ("synthesized") into a three-dimensional image set. In this way, 3-D breast imaging is similar to computed tomography (CT) imaging in which a series of thin "slices" are assembled together to create a 3-D reconstruction of the body. Although the radiation dose for some breast tomosynthesis systems is slightly higher than the dosage used in standard mammography, it remains within the FDA- approved safe levels for radiation from mammograms. Some systems have doses very similar to conventional mammography.
Large population studies have shown that screening with breast tomosynthesis results in improved breast cancer detection rates and fewer "call-backs," instances where women are called back from screening for additional testing because of a potentially abnormal finding.
Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. It is used to help diagnose the causes of pain, swelling and infection in the body's internal organs and to examine a baby in pregnant women and the brain and hips in infants. It's also used to help guide biopsies, diagnose heart conditions, and assess damage after a heart attack. Ultrasound is safe, noninvasive, and does not use ionizing radiation.
What are some common uses of the procedure? Ultrasound examinations can help to diagnose a variety of conditions and to assess organ damage following illness.
Ultrasound of the heart is commonly called an "echocardiogram" or "echo" for short.