What You Need to Know About Radiology

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Radiology services have transformed the way that modern medicine diagnoses illnesses and injuries. Before the advent of X-ray machines, physicians had to use palpation in order to confirm the presence of broken bones or tumors, and this led to uncertain diagnoses and a great deal of discomfort for patients. Today, radiology Edison NJ carries on this diagnostic tradition.

Types of Imaging

Radiology has come a long way since the early days of X-rays. Modern radiology involves many different types of imaging, including:

• X-rays: X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can be used to penetrate the skin and take pictures of bones. The technology is painless and relatively noninvasive but does increase the risk of certain types of cancers.

• Computed tomography scans (CT scans): CT scans use a series of X-rays to create a 3D, cross-sectional view of the body that can reveal organs and tissues as well as bones. As with X-rays, CT technology is pain-free and quick, but since a higher degree of radiation is used to create a CT scan, these scans may pose a greater future risk of causing cancer in the future.

• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs): MRIs use magnetic fields to create images of the insides of a patient’s body. The procedure can be quite long, and many patients find it difficult to impossible to stay completely motionless while the procedure is being carried out.

• Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds utilize high-frequency sound waves. The resulting image quality can be blurry, however, so that the accuracy of a diagnosis may depend upon the skill of the technician interpreting the scan.

• Positron-emission tomography (PET scans): PET scans zero in on gamma-rays emitted by a radioactive tracer that the patient has either swallowed, inhaled or been injected with before the procedure. PET scans are extremely efficient in helping to stage cancers and in identifying whether a given treatment has been effective. They do expose patients to potentially harmful gamma-rays, though.

The imaging procedure your health care provider recommends will be the one that’s most likely to yield the maximum amount of information with the minimum number of health risks given the unique circumstances of your case.

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