Many people do not speak to their doctor about their health concerns for a number of reasons: fear, pride or just out of hope that the problem will heal itself. But with the advances that medical technology is making everyday, treatment and patient care are so much more elevated and easier to perform. If you have a specific health concern or a familial history of a particular disorder then you doctor will probably begin by recommending medical imaging procedures to determine the condition of the internal structures and organs. Below are a few medical imaging procedures that are performed for a number of conditions and are available for most of the population to help them prevent and treat certain disorders and malfunctions.

1) MRI

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and your doctor will likely order this procedure if you are at risk for heart disease, cancer or other musculoskeletal disorders. MRIs are also performed if a person has spinal pain, joint, ligament or tendon problems. MRIs use strong magnetic and radio waves in order to create images so there should be no fear of radiation exposure. The most uncomfortable part of the procedure is that a patient must lie very still so as to not distort the image. The imaging procedure can take up 1.5 hours but it is crucial that the patient remain still during this time so that doctors can obtain the clearest image possible.

2) CT scan

CT stands for computed tomography and these types of scans use computer technology along with X-rays functions in order to produce cross-sectional images of the body's internal structures. CTs are particularly beneficial in studying the soft tissues of the body and the vascular systems. CT scans use small amounts of radiation in order to highlight conditions like cancer, vascular disease, and brain disorders. They can also help to examine organs like the liver, spleen, kidneys as well as any localized pain a patient is experiencing. CTs help doctors during procedure like biopsies and show areas of cardiovascular concern.

3) Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create the images seen on the screen. Ultrasounds are often used during pregnancy but they are helpful in determining problems like blood flow in the heart and heart murmur. Ultrasounds are also used by doctors to guide biopsy wands during breast, thyroid or testicular cancer. The technology has come so much further concerning ultrasounds that now they can be performed with 3D and 4D technology. Mothers can see their unborn child with such detail and doctors are better able to determine conditions like cleft lip. 4D technology allows for expectant mothers to see their baby's movements in real time like a short video.

4) PET-CT scans

PET-CT scans are Positron Emission Tomography tests function in a similar way to normal CT scans except that PET scans are used specifically for staging cancer, brain functionality and cardiovascular health. PET scans are a branch of nuclear medicine that uses radiation in order to create detailed three-dimensional images. The mention of radiation can be alarming to some patients, but the dosage is relatively low as well as necessary for the determining the difference between healthy and diseased tissue.

5) X-rays

X-rays are some of the oldest and most used form of medical imaging tests. By using small doses of radiation, doctors are able to see through the internal structures and see the skeletal formations of the body. X-rays are commonly used when a patient appears to have a fracture or break of the bone, arthritis, or other joint and ligament problems. X-rays are often used if a patient (most often a child) swallows an object or if there is a sports injury. Most imaging facilities and hospitals use digital X-rays today, which has a significantly lower radiation exposure. All of these tests can be performed during any stage of life and are relatively painless while still providing amazing imaging results for patients and doctors to ascertain preventative measures or treatment plans. If you have questions or just want more information, please contact Doctors Imaging in New Orleans. This post was written by M.G. Bachemin in association with Doctor's Imaging.