Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic Procedures
Allergy tests, echocardiograms, biopsies, semen analysis and spinal taps are just a few of the medical diagnostic procedures that are performed on patients diagnose diseases and conditions. These classification procedures do not involve x-ray imaging or a surgical procedure, but, involve taking measurements and samples of fluids, tissues and cells. Learn more about diagnostic procedures from our experts.

Recently Answered

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    ARealAge answered
    A mental status exam (MSE) is to your brain what a physical exam is to your body. The MSE can be an important part of neurologic and psychiatric evaluations. It is an examination designed to test your mental functioning and behaviors. The MSE may be performed by your own doctor, a psychologist or psychiatrist or other medical professional. To conduct the MSE, your doctor may simply ask you a number of questions to determine how well your brain is functioning in areas such as language/speech, motor functions, recent and past memory, mood, judgment, attention span and more.

    If your doctor notes deficiencies, impairments or other problems in any component of the MSE, he or she may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. The MSE is often a solid starting point in the diagnosis of a mental disorder or illness.
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    A Jonathan Aviv, MD, Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology), answered
    Dr. Jonathan Aviv - What is the difference between an endoscopy and a transnasal esophagoscopy?
    The difference between an endoscopy and a transnasal esophagoscopy is that you need to be sedated for an endoscopy, which increases the risk of complications. In this video, otolaryngologist Jonathan Aviv, MD, explains the difference in detail.
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    AMark Litwin, MD, Urology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    During a digital rectal exam (DRE) for prostate cancer, the doctor will feel for nodules, hardness or lumps in the prostate gland itself. Because the location of the gland is immediately adjacent to the wall of the rectum, it's very simple to locate the prostate and examine it manually. If a lump is found, it could be an indication that there is a cancer growing in the prostate, and further tests will need to be done.
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    AHealthyWomen answered
    Digital rectal exams are recommended every 5–10 years with each colon screening from the age of 50. A digital rectal exam is important to help find early signs of colon cancer in the anal canal and lower rectum. Because of its limitations, it is not recommended as the only test for colorectal cancer. 
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    If you have a terminal illness, the doctor's medical checklist may include the following:
    • A review of your medical status
    • Your status on the frailty index
    • A review of your loss history
    • A review of your psychological history
    • A review of your functional status
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    If you have a terminal illness, your doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your functional status:
    • How physically active are you?
    • How mentally active are you?
    • What do you like to do?
    • How stable is your weight?
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    Your doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your loss history:
    • Have you lost any parents or children?
    • Have you lost a wife or husband?
    • Have you lost some good friends?
    • Have you lost pets?
    • When did these losses occur?
    • How did you deal with these losses?
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    The following symptoms are considered in the frailty index:
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Decreased grip strength
    • Increased fatigue/low energy level
    • Slow walking
    • Low level of physical activity
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    Your doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your medical status if you have a terminal illness:
    • What other health problems do you have? Other diagnoses?
    • What medications, drugs or treatments are you now taking?
    • What treatment options have you been given? Curative, major interventions, or comfort care and hospice?
    • Do you live in an urban or rural area? This may affect care options.
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    APhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)
    Prognosis refers to how serious the doctor believes your medical situation is. A prognosis is usually given in terms of how long you have to live: years, months or weeks.

    Doctors are not very good at giving a prognosis. Reasons why include:
    • The science of predicting the future is weak.
    • Doctors don't like to deliver bad news.
    Statistics are complicated, and don't apply to individuals. They can be confusing.