Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan. MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.
Computed Tomography (CT)
A CT scanner combines X-rays with advanced computer processing technology to create accurate detailed images of your internal structures and organs. CT exams are quick and comfortable. You will be asked to lie still on a table as it gently moves you through the scanner. Be sure to inform your physician or the technologist if you have any allergies or believe you are pregnant. CT scans allow doctors to see images of your internal organs and structures in great detail from a variety of angles.
A mammogram is an x-ray test that produces an image of the inner breast tissue on film. This technique, called mammography, is used to visualize normal and abnormal structures within the breasts. Mammography, therefore, can help in identifying cysts, calcifications, and tumors within the breast. It is currently the most effective way to detect early breast cancer. Breast self-examination (BSE) on a monthly basis and examination by a doctor are still important, but physical examinations typically find breast cancers when they are much larger than those detected by mammography.
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation just like visible light. They can be emitted by specially designed machines which create photons (individual X-ray “particles”) with high energies which can pass through the body and be detected by X-ray sensitive film. Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the photons, and will appear white on developed film.
DEXA (Bone Densitometry)
Every day, physicians use radiography, or x-rays, to view and evaluate bone fractures and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system. However, a plain x-ray test is not the best way to assess bone density. To detect osteoporosis accurately, doctors use an enhanced form of x-ray technology called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). DEXA bone densitometry is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).
Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques both to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique in that it documents organ function and structure, in contrast to diagnostic radiology, which is based upon anatomy. It is a way to gather medical information that may otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests.