MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses a computer, magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images within the body. It can be used for virtually all parts of the body, generating images of the specific area troubling you, and provide a quick and accurate diagnosis for your physician.
There is no radiation risk with this exam.
Also known as a “CAT scan,” CT stands for computed tomography. It combines multiple X-ray images to produce a two-dimensional cross-section view with as much as 100 times more clarity than conventional X-ray. CT imaging is used to clearly show soft tissue, like the brain, as well as dense tissue, like bone.
A CT requires radiation. However the benefit if a CT is necessary may outweigh the risk from radiation.
Also referred to as radiolography, X-ray is the oldest and most frequently used form of imaging to see inside the human body. It uses a focused beam and a special detector to obtain images of body anatomy. It is also a safe and generally non-invasive test.
A patient receives as much radiation in a chest X-ray as a person flying cross country.
Ultrasound, or sonography, produces images of the inside of the body by generating high-frequency sound waves. As the sound waves bounce off internal organs and tissues, they create echoes. A computer then translates these echoes into images on a screen, images that can show abnormalities (disease) within the body. The process is fast, painless and completely free of radiation or harmful side effects.
Some ultrasound tests use a modified technique—called Doppler—to capture moving images of the heart and large blood vessels.
Nuclear medicine refers to a category of diagnostic imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive substances, which can be injected, swallowed or inhaled, to obtain images of various functions inside the body in order to diagnose or determine the severity of cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological and other conditions or abnormalities. Common nuclear medicine tests include bone scans (including SPECT), bilary scans, cardiac MUGAs and thyroid imaging.
PET (and PET/CT) refers to Positron Emission Tomography which is performed either on its own or in combination with a CT scan. PET is a type of nuclear medicine exam where small amounts of radioactive substance is injected to produce a three-dimensional image of functional process of the body. It is safe and painless, and the diagnostic images produced by PET are used to evaluate a variety of diseases.
Some medical centers offer PET that is integrated with a CT scanner. This combination enables the simultaneous evaluation of both anatomy and physiology of the body, helping to more accurately identify cancer, heart disease and brain disorders than previous generations of PET-only scanners.