Medical imaging is a way for doctors to look inside of patients without actually having to open them up. However, many patience don’t actually know what medical scans are doing to their bodies. This week, we are exploring the most common types of medical scans. Read on to learn all about medical scans, how they work and what they’re doing to your body.

X-Ray

X-rays have been used by medical professionals for over 100 years. X-rays use X-ray radiation in order to produce images of bones, tissue, and organs. Most commonly X-rays are used to look at bones. When patients hear “radiation”, it often frightens them. The machine does not give off enough radiation to be dangerous except in two possible cases.

One, the patient has had a similar x-ray or x-rays within the previous six months. Two, if the patient is pregnant, the radiation is not good for the baby.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound scans are often used to examine organs, such as liver, kidneys, and pelvic organs. The ultrasound machine uses high frequency sound waves to create an image, the requency is so high that humans cannot hear it. In addition to organs, ultrasounds are used for musculoskeletal issues, as they are very good for checking blood flow.

Most commonly, people are exposed to ultrasounds through pregnancy. In a pregnancy ultrasound, the sonographer uses the ultrasound wand and presses it against the woman’s abdomen. The baby’s image is outlined by the soundwaves.

MRI

An MRI is also known as magnetic resonance imaging. These types of medical scans produce detailed pictures from multiple planes. Superconducting magnets and pulsed radio waves produce the image. There are no negative side effects as far as modern science knows.

Magnetic resonance imaging is used in all areas of the body . It is particularly good had identifying problems in soft tissue. For example, it shines when imaging nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

During an MRI patients lay on a special table that goes into a large tube where the magnets move around the body to create the image. It is actually a relatively calm procedure. Patients usually wear headphones to drown out the noise of the magnets. Some people even fall asleep!

CT Scan

CT stands for computed tomography scan. To a patient, there is very little difference between an MRI and a CT scan. Both medical scans require the patient to lay down on a special table that goes into a large tube. However, CT scans use x-rays rather than radio waves to produce the image.

CT scans function on two axes. Essentially, it allows doctors to analyze a problem area slice by slice. This is especially useful for complicated organs like the brain. Medical professionals locate the issue at a highly exact location, thanks to the two axes.