The word “radiology” is usually associated specifically with X-rays and broken bones. However, these aren’t the only services that radiologists can provide. In fact, most people go to a radiologist at least once in their lives, if not regularly, for other matters. Local Edison radiology centers are equipped with the tools and specialists necessary for potentially life-saving screenings and examinations, especially for older adults.
CT and MRI Scans
Standing for “computed tomography” and “magnetic resonance imaging” respectively, CT and MRI are techniques for producing cross-sectional images of a patient’s body, generally focused on a particular organ or organ system. The former uses X-rays while the latter employs radio waves and powerful magnetic fields. Both provide a highly detailed view into the body, enabling diagnoses on various conditions within the brain, heart, blood vessels, skeleton and lungs; in particular, they excel in diagnosing internal trauma and tumors.
Most often associated with pregnancy, ultrasound technology is useful for visualizing many internal body structures in real-time, a process also called medical sonography. A handheld probe, along with a water-based gel applied to the skin, is used to send sonic pulses through body tissues, where they come into focus at a given depth. Reflections of these soundwaves are received and interpreted by a computer, creating a non-invasive recording of organs and blood vessels as they function. This allows diagnoses that static images can’t provide.
Other Common Services
Radiology can be applied to examination of other parts of the body as well. Mammography is a highly common procedure; women above the age of 45, as well as younger women with a family history of breast cancer, should regularly receive mammograms to detect early signs of a dangerous disease that can be easily treated in initial stages. Some other services include:
- Interventional radiology during minor invasive procedures involving catheters or wires;
- Fluoroscopy, using X-rays to generate moving images of organs, usually the gastrointestinal tract;
- Electrocardiography and echocardiography, to assess the function of the heart via natural electrical impulses or soundwaves, respectively.