Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

diagnostic imaging, medical imaging, medical image

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnosing injuries, diseases and conditions would be nearly impossible today without the range of methods available to look inside the human body. This guide explains the different techniques, how they work, and what to expect if one of them is ordered for you.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Computed tomography scans, or CT scans, combine X-rays with a computer’s assistance to create cross-sectional images showing more than standard X-rays. Use this section of the guide to learn how CT scans work, why they are used and what to expect during a CT scan.

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  • CT scans help doctors see the body’s internal organs, such as the brain. The scans help diagnose tumors, lesions and other problems with an organ’s structure.

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Endoscopy

Endoscopy allows doctors to see inside the human body by inserting a narrow tube with an attached camera into various parts of the body. The sites below show you what endoscopy is, when it’s used and what to expect during procedures.

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  • Endoscopy uses an endoscope, which has many forms. The name changes depending on the body part involved. A laparoscope, for example, is inserted into an incision made in the abdomen, while a bronchoscope goes into the body through the nose or mouth.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets, and sub-atomic structures in the body, to look at the soft tissues and organs that X-rays don’t see. Use this section of the guide to learn how MRI works and what to expect during an MRI.

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  • Because magnetic energy is involved, it’s essential to tell your doctor and the MRI technician if you have any metallic implants, such as a pacemaker, or shrapnel in your body. Without informing them, an MRI could be seriously harmful.

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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is primarily used to examine organ function rather than structure. To see how an organ is working, a patient ingests a small amount of radioactive material. By measuring the behavior of the material during a nuclear scan, an assessment can be made. The sites below provide an introduction to nuclear medicine, including how nuclear medicine scans are performed and what to expect during such a scan.

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  • The amount of radioactive material a person swallows or is injected with for nuclear medicine scans is very small, and usually leaves the body a day or two after the test.

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Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a procedure used to generate images of structures and tissues within the body. Images are generated by sending sound waves into the body and monitoring their reflections. Use this section of the guide to learn about ultrasounds and how they are performed.

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  • Ultrasounds are often used to look at fetuses in the womb. Though it is safe, the Food and Drug Administration warns parents against having medically unnecessary ultrasounds at storefront places that offer three- and four-dimensional “keepsake” images.

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X-Ray

X-ray technology is one of the oldest imaging methods available. Even though there are more advanced ways to see inside the human body, X-rays are still widely used around the world. Use the sites in this section of the guide to learn what X-rays are, when a doctor might order one and what to expect during the procedure.

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  • X-rays were known as röntgen rays, named for William Conrad Röntgen, who is credited with discovering them in 1885.

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