Medical imaging is a medical specialty that uses imaging to reveal, diagnose, examine and treat diseases in the human body. It enables visualization by using different technologies, such as x-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography, digital mammography and many others. Although medical imaging is a broader concept than radiology, radiology departments in hospitals handle all forms of medical imaging radiology. The ability to get such visual insight into the human body has dramatically changed the medical practice over the last century. It enables to locate and detect fractures, blockages, tumors and many other abnormal appearances in the body. It can give very precise images that will guide the future treatment of the patient. It is important to know that your doctor will not send you to medical imaging radiology if he doesnt find that the benefits of the resulting medical image will be larger than the damage inflicted by the radiation that is necessary while performing some kinds of medical imaging.
Medical imaging radiology imaging modalities used in Radiology
In the field of diagnostic medical imaging radiology there are different forms of imaging modalities. Projectional radiography uses the transmittance of x-rays through the patient. The x-rays are converted into a visible light that creates a two-dimensional image used for diagnosis. It is most often the first approach to diagnosis for different medical conditions. Interventional radiology is used for providing image guidance while performing minimally invasive procedures. Computed tomography is used to create more subtle detailed images in a relatively short exam time. Ultrasound is used to provide visualization of the soft tissue structures in the human body. Magnetic resonance imaging is used in medical imaging radiology when the visualization of detailed internal structures is necessary. Nuclear medicine is a field of medical imaging radiology that involves the use of a very small amount of radioactive substances injected in the patient’s body to provide an image for diagnosis. It is often used in the evaluation of different bone related pathology.
Is medical imaging radiology safe?
In most diagnostic tests used in medical imaging radiology side effects of radiation do not occur. Even though there are various kinds of effects from the radiation, those that may occur when radiological examinations are performed are few, and the probability of them happening is very small. For instance, the amount of radiation that you receive in general medical imaging radiology examination is very small and is equivalent to less than a year of exposure to radiation from the natural sources in the environment. At those levels of radiation carcinogenic effects and the effect on the genes cannot be neglected, but they are only a theoretical possibility since there is no practical proof of this in previous scientific investigations.
Any examination should be justified
Justification of the medical imaging radiology requires weighing the benefits versus the risk of the anticipated examination, taking alternative tests that do not use radiation into consideration. If it is justified, the examination should be done with the minimum doses of radiation. The optimization requires achieving appropriate quality of the medical image while the exposure to radiation is kept at the lowest possible level. Unnecessary repetitive medical imaging radiology examinations should be avoided. Nevertheless, some tests should be repeated to monitor the progress, especially in the treatment of cancer.