Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging includes ultrasounds, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. These create images of different parts of the body and aid in diagnosing diseases and conditions allowing for a course of treatment to be prescribed.
 

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    ARealAge answered
    A kidney scan, also called a renal scan, is a type of nuclear medicine test to check the structure and function of the kidneys, the fist-sized organs located below the ribcage and on either side of the spine that filter blood and produce urine to carry waste out of the body.

    In a kidney scan, a small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein in the arm. The substance travels through the bloodstream and collects in the kidneys, enabling a special camera to take pictures of the kidneys and surrounding structures. A computer reviews the pictures and provides detailed information to the doctor about the size, position, shape and functioning of the kidneys. The scan takes about 30-60 minutes. A kidney scan can be used to diagnose problems in the kidneys including:
    • tumors
    • abscesses
    • blood clots
    • cysts
    • swelling
    • injury
    • infection
    • blockages
    • complications of kidney transplant
    • kidney failure
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    ARealAge answered
    A gallbladder scan, or gallbladder radionuclide scan, is a type of nuclear medicine scan to check the structure and function of the gallbladder, a small organ attached to the liver that stores bile and then releases the bile into a duct to be transferred into the intestine. In a gallbladder scan, a radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer is processed through the liver and gallbladder, while a special camera takes images of the structures and tissues through which the tracer travels. A gallbladder scan may be used to diagnose problems in the gallbladder and surrounding structures including:
    • a blocked or abnormal bile duct
    • bile leaks
    • gallbladder infection
    • gallstones
    • tumors
    • abscesses
    • cysts
    • blood clots
    • malfunctions of the gallbladder
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    ARealAge answered
    A testicular scan is a type of nuclear medicine scan used to examine and diagnose problems in the testes (testicles), the egg-shaped organs in the scrotum that produce and store sperm.

    During a testicular scan, a substance called a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. The tracer travels through the bloodstream to the testicles. A special camera then takes pictures of the tissues and internal organs highlighted by the radioactive tracer. Pooling of the tracer in certain areas may indicate problems such as tumors, cysts or infection.

    A testicular scan may also be done to diagnose the cause of testicular torsion, an emergency situation in which the cord that supports the testes in the scrotum becomes twisted, cutting off the blood supply to the testes and other tissues.

    In some cases, testicular ultrasound -- a scan that uses sound waves to create pictures of the testicles and surrounding tissues and project them onto a screen -- is used instead of or in addition to a testicular scan to diagnose the cause of symptoms in the testicles.
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    ARealAge answered
    A radiologic technologist is a medical professional who performs diagnostic imaging tests, such as x-rays, and sometimes more advanced scans, such as computed tomography (CT scans) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scans). Some radiologic technologists also administer radiation treatments for people with certain cancers and other diseases.

    Registered radiologic technologists must complete at least two years of formal education in an accredited hospital-based program or a two- or four-year educational program at an academic institution. They must also pass a national certification examination, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. To remain registered, they need to earn continuing education credits. Radiologic technologists are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care.
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    ARealAge answered
    A nuclear medicine specialist is an expert in the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to assess body functions and to diagnose and treat disease. Unlike x-rays and some other imaging tools which primarily reveal what an internal body part looks like, a nuclear medicine scan goes beyond that to show how well an organ or other body part functions.

    Nuclear medicine uses radioactive tracers, which may be injected into a vein or ingested by mouth, or possibly inhaled or injected into an organ directly, depending on what is being examined or what condition is suspected. The tracer travels through the body and is taken up by specific internal organs, bones or tissues, or remain in the injected organ, causing radioactive emissions from those body parts. A special camera detects those emissions and records the information on a computer screen or film. That picture or scan is then examined by a nuclear medicine doctor or a radiologist who is a specialist in interpreting those scans.
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    ARealAge answered
    A lung scan is an imaging test to help in the diagnosis of certain lung conditions or to follow the progression of certain diseases or how well a treatment for a lung disease is working.

    In a lung scan, a radioactive substance is used during the procedure to assist in examining the flow of air in and out of the lungs (ventilation scan) or the blood flow within the lungs (perfusion scan). The radiation emitted by the substance is detected by a scanner, which uses it to create pictures of the lungs. The radioactive substance will collect at spots of abnormal blood flow in a perfusion scan. In a ventilation scan, the substance will identify areas through which air cannot move. These types of lung scans are often used to diagnose blood clots within the blood vessels of the lungs.

    If lung cancer is suspected, a doctor might order the following tests:
    • A chest x-ray may be the first test the doctor will order to look for masses or spots on the lungs.
    • A computed tomography (CT) scan might be the next test. This test is better at detecting lung tumors than a simple x-ray because it provides a more detailed image of cross-sectional pictures of the body. A doctor may also use a CT scan as a guide while doing a lung biopsy.
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or PET (positron emission tomography) scans produce chest images that help doctors determine the nature, position or extent of a mass.
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    ARealAge answered
    Imaging tests are tools that doctors use to view inside your body to screen for certain medical conditions, determine what's causing symptoms, or monitor the progression of a disease or how well a treatment is working. Imaging tests send forms of energy (x-rays, sound waves, radioactive particles or magnetic fields) through your body to create pictures of different internal structures.

    Some common imaging tests include:
    • x-rays
    • computed tomography (CT scans), an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body
    • fluoroscopy, including upper gastrointestinal and barium enema
    • MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging tests that use powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body
    • mammography, x-rays of the breasts
    • PET (positron emission tomography) scans, imaging tests that use a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body
    • ultrasound scans, which use high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body
    • bone scans 
    • thyroid scans
    • nuclear stress tests
    Often, your primary care physician will work together with a radiologist -- a medical professional who specializes in reading imaging tests -- to interpret the results of your imaging tests and use them to help determine the best treatment, if needed.
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    ARealAge answered
    Diagnostic radiologists are doctors who specialize in diagnostic radiology, a branch of medicine that uses imaging tools to view internal body structures to screen for certain medical conditions, determine what's causing symptoms you might be having or monitor the progression of a disease or how well a treatment is working.

    Some of the most common tests used by diagnostic radiologists include:
    • x-rays
    • computed tomography (CT scans), an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body
    • fluoroscopy, including upper gastrointestinal and barium enema
    • MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging tests that use powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the body
    • mammography, x-rays of the breasts
    • PET (positron emission tomography) scans, imaging tests that use a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body
    • ultrasound scans, which use high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body
    • bone scans
    • thyroid scans
    • nuclear stress tests
    A diagnostic radiologist typically works together with your primary care physician to help diagnose and treat many different diseases and conditions.
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    A Dr Stephen Kee, MD, Vascular & Interventional Radiology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    The radiation risk from a scan of your aorta is extremely small. There have been major advances in computed tomography (CT) scanning techniques in the last couple of years that have reduced the radiation dose to very small amounts. Doctors can also perform follow-up scans in certain people using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which use no radiation.
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    A Dr Stephen Kee, MD, Vascular & Interventional Radiology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    To have aortic imaging performed takes between 15 and 30 minutes. Of this time, only about five minutes is spent doing the actual scanning. This is because of advances in modern technology. In some cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are done instead of computed tomography (CT), depending on the particular disease with which you present.

    MRI scanners take slightly longer than CT scanners, but again, your entire visit should be less than half an hour.