Medical imaging refers to the techniques and processes used to create images of various parts of the human body for diagnostic and treatment purpose. Imaging techniques encompass radiology, nuclear medicine, optical imaging.
Radiology is the medical specialty which provides the anatomical and physiological detail of the human body. Variety of imaging techniques such as ultrasound, x-ray, computerized tomography(CT), magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) are used in this. Positron emission tomography(PET), Single-photon emission computed tomography(SPECT) are nuclear imaging techniques. Optical coherence tomography(OCT) comes under optical imaging.
The major types of imaging used in today's medicine are
1.Radiography which uses electromagnetic radiation to take images of the inside of the body. The most common form of radiography is an x-ray. The images produced by the x-rays are two dimensional and is called projection radiography.
2.MRI involves radio waves and magnetic fields to look at the organs.The process requires an MRI scanner. Certain atomic nuclei emit radiofrequency waves when placed in the presence of a magnetic field. For this, mostly the Hydrogen ions are used. The waves created pass through the body and are identified.
3. In CT a series of x-rays are taken over different axis creating a multi-dimensional image.
4. Ultrasound called a scan utilizes high-frequency sound waves which is moved through the body part.
5. Nuclear medicine involves medical use of radioactive materials, but in imaging, it uses radioactive tracers. Radioactive tracers emit radiation which is identified with detectors.
Each imaging techniques is used in different circumstances. Radiography is used to want images of bone structures to look for breakages. MRI scanners often take images of the brain or other internal tissues, when high-resolution images are needed. To look inside the digestive or circulatory systems, nuclear medicine is used. And ultrasound is preferred to look at fetuses in the womb and to take images of internal organs when high resolution is not necessary.
Better diagnostics, affordable healthcare costs, safety and effectiveness are top benefits of advanced medical imaging.