Imaging systems and their role in medicine

With the tremendous leaps that the medical field makes each year, it is clear that many medical diagnoses and treatments will become easier and faster in the future. For several of its feats in the fight against disease, the field of medicine owes itself to technology. The digital imaging system is one of the results of the use of technology in the medical field. It is the creation of detailed and descriptive images of body parts and internal organs for diagnosis, analysis and medical treatment.

Today, medical imaging has become an important part of medicine and clinical practices. In fact, in medical institutions, this has become one of the main sub-disciplines for courses like biomedical engineering, medical physics, or even general medicine. Not that all, the techniques used in medical imaging have become useful for scientific and industrial research and study as well.

Today there are different types of imaging systems for different clinical purposes. From X-rays to the most complicated scanning procedures, medical imaging has different levels of complexity and gives you results when studying and deciding on treatments. Here are some of the common examples of medical imaging:

• Radiography (X-rays)

Due to its affordability and high resolution, radiography is one of the oldest and most common forms of imaging systems today. Here X-rays are sent through the body to check the integrity of the bone structure. Any fracture or damage to the bones is found through an x-ray.

• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

MRI, as it is commonly called, is used to detect problems primarily in the spine and brain. It uses electromagnetic fields and radio frequency signals to create an image on a connected computer. An MRI is comparatively healthy as it does not involve ionizing radiation and therefore has no related health risks detected so far. It creates 3D block images so that a more detailed diagnosis of the imaged body part is possible.

• Thermography

The thermography imaging system works on the principle that a part of the body affected by cancer would have a higher temperature than the remaining parts of the body. Through extremely precise cameras, this digital imaging system detects these temperature variations and therefore detects the presence or probability of cancer.

• Computed Tomography (CT)

CT scanning, or computed tomography as it is widely known, creates 2D images of a thin section of a body using X-ray technology and a connected computer. Here the patient is at increased risk of health hazards as he or she is surrounded by a ring of detectors used to diagnose disease. It is commonly used for anatomical imaging and during plastic surgery.

• Ultrasound

As its name suggests, ultrasound or sonography is an imaging system that uses high-frequency sound waves to emit echoes from a particular part of the body that are then converted into an anatomical image that is displayed on a connected video screen. Its common use is to check the growth of a fetus in the mother’s womb and to detect the growth of the gallbladder and kidneys.

• Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine uses isotopes and radioactive materials to diagnose diseases or growths. It is also known as molecular imaging and is used in the oncology, cardiology, and neurology divisions of medicine. Activities that are not normal within the body are detected with gamma rays and cameras. It is used to find tumors in the body.

Today, doctors around the world use digital imaging systems to detect and treat disease. These systems help in the precise study of diseases and thus help in the correct treatment and speedy recovery of the patient. Yet another benefit of the field of science and technology, imaging systems have become ubiquitous and have saved the lives of many people.

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