Medical Imaging Modalities

  • Computed Tomography (CT)

    Computed Tomography (CT), also commonly referred to as a CAT scan, is a medical imaging method that combines multiple X-ray projections taken from different angles to produce detailed cross-sectional images of areas inside the body.  CT images allow doctors to get very precise, 3-D views of certain parts of the body, such as soft tissues, the pelvis, blood vessels, the lungs, the brain, the heart, abdomen and bones. CT is also often the preferred method of diagnosing many cancers, such as liver, lung and pancreatic cancers.

    CT is often used to evaluate:

    • Presence, size and location of tumors
    • Organs in the pelvis, chest and abdomen
    • Colon health (CT colongraphy)
    • Vascular condition/blood flow
    • Pulmonary embolism (CT angiography)
    • Abdominal aortic aneurysms (CT angiography)
    • Bone injuries
    • Cardiac tissue
    • Traumatic injuries
    • Cardiovascular disease

    Related research

    Continue reading »

    Courtesy of Siemens
    Courtesy of Siemens
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technology that uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create detailed images of organs and tissues. MRI has proven to be highly effective in diagnosing a number of conditions by showing the difference between normal and diseased soft tissues of the body.

    MRI is often used to evaluate:

    • Blood vessels
    • Abnormal tissue
    • Breasts
    • Bones and joints
    • Organs in the pelvis, chest and abdomen (heart, liver, kidney, spleen)
    • Spinal injuries
    • Tendon and ligament tears

    Related research

    Continue reading »

    Courtesy of GE Healthcare
    Courtesy of GE Healthcare
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

    Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a nuclear imaging technique that provides physicians with information about how tissues and organs are functioning. PET, often used in combination with CT imaging, uses a scanner and a small amount of radiopharmaceuticals which is injected into a patient’s vein to assist in making detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body.

    PET is often used to evaluate:

    • Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis
    • Cancer
    • Effectiveness of treatments
    • Heart conditions

    Related research

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    Courtesy of Siemens
    Courtesy of Siemens
  • PET-CT

    For added precision, physicians use a medical imaging technique that combines PET and CT. This allows images acquired from both devices to be taken sequentially and combined into a single superposed image. PET-CT serves as a prime tool in the delineation of tumor volumes, staging and the preparation of patient treatment plans. The combination has been shown to improve oncologic care by positively impacting active treatment decisions, disease recurrence monitoring and patient outcomes, such as disease-free progression.

    Related research

    • The Clinical Impact of Integrated FDG PET-CT on Management
      This study found that the addition of PET-CT to comprehensive evaluation of lung cancer can have significant clinical impact by improving the staging of disease, sparing patients unnecessary treatment and more appropriately targeting disease management.

    Continue reading »

    Courtesy of Siemens
    Courtesy of Siemens
  • Ultrasound

    Diagnostic ultrasound, also known as medical sonography or ultrasonography, uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The ultrasound machine sends sound waves into the body and is able to convert the returning sound echoes into a picture. Ultrasound technology can also produce audible sounds of blood flow, allowing medical professionals to use both sounds and visuals to assess a patient’s health.

    Ultrasound is often used to evaluate:

    • Pregnancy
    • Abnormalities in the heart and blood vessels
    • Organs in the pelvis and abdomen
    • Symptoms of pain, swelling and infection

    Related research

    Continue reading »

    Courtesy of SonoSite
    Courtesy of SonoSite
  • X-Ray

    X-ray technology is the oldest and most commonly used form of medical imaging. X-rays use ionizing radiation to produce images of a person’s internal structure by sending X-ray beams through the body, which are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material. In addition, included as “x-ray type” devices are also mammography,  interventional radiology, computed radiography, digital radiography and computed tomography (CT).  Radiation Therapy is a type of device which also utilizes either x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons to treat cancer.

    X-ray images are typically used to evaluate:

    • Broken bones
    • Cavities
    • Swallowed objects
    • Lungs
    • Blood vessels
    • Breast (mammography)

    Related research

    Continue reading »

    Courtesy of GE Healthcare
    Courtesy of GE Healthcare
  • Biomarkers

    A biomarker is a traceable substance in the body that indicates a particular disease state, organ function or other aspects of health. Physicians and researchers use biomarkers to help predict, diagnose and treat a variety of disease states and neuropsychiatric disorders.



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