Medical Imaging: Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Medical imaging is a diverse area of medicine that offers some of the most important tools for healthcare providers in treating a variety of illnesses and injuries. These non-invasive methods use different types of technology to view or create images of the inside of the body in order to help doctors reach a diagnosis, monitor a health condition, or provide treatment. Medical imaging tests and scans may use radiation, sound waves, or magnetic fields.
X-rays: X-rays are probably the most common type of medical imaging because there are so many versatile applications. X-rays work by using an energy beam that passes through your body. As the beam is blocked by some body parts, images are created for a radiologist to interpret. X-rays have been around for more than a century, but modern X-rays are much more sophisticated and use lower doses of radiation than ever before. X-rays aren’t just used for bones—they provide images for many different parts of the body. X-rays are used for many different kinds of tests and screenings, including:
- mammograms, which use X-rays to create an image of breast tissue
- CT scans (computed tomography scans), which use X-ray beams to create a 3D image
- fluoroscopy, which uses continuous X-rays to show real-time moving images of the inside of the body
Some other types of medical imaging include:
MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging scans): Unlike X-rays, MRIs use magnets and radio waves. MRI scans are especially helpful for viewing tissue, muscles, and blood vessels. MRIs can allow doctors to look at images in real-time, including letting them measure things like blood flow and brain activity.
Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of the inside of the body, useful for viewing different types of tissue, organs, or fetal development.
Nuclear medicine: Nuclear medicine uses a very small amount of a radioactive substance that is either inhaled, swallowed, or injected into the body. These “tracers” give off energy as they travel through the area of the body being examined, allowing doctors to create images that can’t be achieved in other ways.
Diagnostic vs. Interventional Imaging
Radiology is the name of the branch of medicine that uses medical imaging. The main uses for medical imaging are for screening, diagnostic, or interventional purposes.
Screening and Diagnostic Imaging
Medical imaging can be used for preventative screenings so that doctors can use images to detect the presence of disease. Diagnostic imaging or diagnostic radiology is used to help doctors see inside the body to determine the cause of symptoms. Often, the same kind of imaging test can be used for either a screening or diagnostic purpose. A mammogram, for example, can be used as a preventative screening tool, or as a diagnostic tool to check an existing lump or mass for cancer.
Interventional radiology is the use of a variety of medical imaging techniques to guide a medical procedure. Interventional radiology is helpful for a number of medical procedures, including:
- placing catheters and ports
- tumor embolization and ablation
- spinal surgeries, such as kyphoplasty
- angiography and stenting
Benefits of Medical Imaging
One of the main benefits of medical imaging is that it is non-invasive. It gives your doctors the ability to look at the inside of the body without surgery or other invasive techniques. Using medical imaging guidance in interventional radiology also helps doctors to perform medical procedures less invasively. Most medical imaging tests are able to be performed painlessly or with minimal discomfort and are relatively safe.
Additionally, screening imaging tests can help doctors detect cancer and other diseases at early stages, when treatment may be more effective. Diagnostic imaging gives your doctors critical pieces of information that can help determine the best course of treatment.
Diagnostic Imaging at City Hospital
City Hospital at White Rock is a medical imaging and diagnostic facility serving the greater Dallas, TX, area. We use diagnostic imaging every day to structure the best care plans for our patients. The diagnostic imaging services we offer include:
- 3D Mammography
- CT scan
- PET scan
- DEXA scan (bone density scan)
- Nuclear scans
We offer some of the latest technologies and expertise for diagnostic imaging. Your doctor will be able to determine the best medical imaging needed for you.