Different Types of Medical Imaging Scans

Different Types of Medical Imaging Scans

If you have recently been involved in a motor vehicle accident, your doctor may order a series of medical imaging scans. These scans are important because they let the doctor know what is going on beneath the surface of the skin. During the past few decades, numerous types of medical imaging scans have been developed.

All of these are important for different purposes. The doctor will order the right type of scan for the right situation. That way, he or she can identify any injuries that you may have suffered. What are a few examples of medical imaging scans the doctor may order? It is important for you to understand how they work.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

One of the most common types of imaging scans is called a magnetic resonance imaging scan, usually shortened to MRI. As the name suggests, this is a scan that uses a giant magnet in order to produce a picture. With this scan, you are going to lay inside of a giant tube. Then, a magnet is going to circulate around you, taking pictures of the inside of your body.

There are several major advantages of an MRI scan. First, this can produce has a very detailed image. It is excellent at taking pictures of soft tissues including ligaments and tendons. In addition, this imaging modality does not require any radiation. Therefore, this reduces the chances of you suffering cellular damage.

At the same time, there are several disadvantages of an MRI scan. First, if this image is not covered by insurance, it can be very expensive. Second, MRIs can also take a long time. You could be laying in the tube for close to an hour. As a result, some people have issues remaining still, particularly if they are claustrophobic. Finally, it can also be noisy inside of the tube. This can be scary for young children.

An MRI scan is an exceptional imaging modality because it produces highly detailed images that are difficult to produce with other options. At Doctor Wagner, we are proud to provide MRI scan services to those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident.

X-Ray

Perhaps the oldest medical imaging scan is an x-ray. An x-ray fires a small, slight, narrow beam of radiation through the patient’s body part. Then, there is a plate on the back of the body part being imaged. This plate captures the radiation as it passes through the person's body. This imaging scan produces an image based on density. Dense tissues, such as bone, show up white. Light issues, such as air and liquid, are dark. Because an x-ray beam passes through solid surfaces faster than liquid or air, different tissues show up differently.

There are several advantages of using an x-ray. This is a quick Imaging modality that doesn't take any more than a few seconds in order to produce an image. Furthermore, this Imaging scan is also not that expensive. It is exceptional at showing significant injuries, such as bone fractures.

On the other hand, an x-ray image is not necessarily the best option for taking a look at soft tissues because the image is not that detailed. In addition, the image is only in two dimensions, meaning that multiple pictures may have to be taken.

X-rays are a fast, inexpensive modality that can quickly show bone fractures. At Doctor Wagner, we are proud to provide x-ray imaging services to those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. We can use this to quickly diagnose your injuries.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Another common type of imaging scan is called a CT scan. This used to be called a CAT scan; however, it is now referred to as a CT scan. Essentially, this imaging scan is an x-ray in three dimensions. It quickly rotates around the body part being imaged, producing a three-dimensional image. The biggest benefit of a CT scan is that it produces a detailed image in just a few seconds. The downside of a CT scan is that it uses a lot of radiation. This is something your doctor will discuss with you before ordering a CT scan.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

Another possible type of Imaging scan a doctor may order is called a positron emission tomography scan. Usually shortened to a PET scan, the most common situation where this scan is helpful is in the diagnosis of cancer. This is a scan that produces an image based on how quickly cells metabolize nutrients. Because cancer cells metabolize nutrients quickly, they will show up dark on this imaging scan. Even though this scan does have other uses, it is usually used in oncology.

Ultrasound

It is also possible that your doctor may order an ultrasound scan. An ultrasound scan produces a live image using sound waves. Sound passes through dense material quickly and soft material slowly. Dense materials show up white while light materials show up dark. An ultrasound is a great scan because it is fast, cheap, and does not require any radiation. Even though it does not produce the most detailed image, it is useful in emergency situations because of how quick and easy it is to use.

Arthrogram

If your doctor needs a picture of the inside of a joint, he or she may order something called an arthrogram. Essentially, this is a process that will take an x-ray image of the inside of your joint. This is useful when looking for specific joint injuries related to cartilage, bone fractures, and other ligament injuries. Multiple pictures may have to be taken in order for an arthrogram to produce a complete picture of the inside of your joint. In some cases, contrast dye will also be administered to enhance the quality of the image.

Myelogram

Finally, a doctor may also order an image called a myelogram. Usually, this is something that is performed by a trained radiologist. A contrast dye is administered prior to using x-rays or CT scans. This is a scan that is almost exclusively used to look for problems on the inside of the spinal canal. For example, this can be used to diagnose a pinched nerve, a pinched spinal cord, or even possible growths living in the spinal canal. If you need a myelogram, your doctor will talk about this test with you in more detail.

Contact Doctor Wagner for Help with Auto Accident Injuries

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in the Central Florida area, then you understand just how important it is to seek medical care as quickly as possible. If you are looking for help following a car collision, we are here to help you. At Doctor Wagner, we offer a variety of medical imaging scans, including X-rays and MRI scans that, can help us diagnose your injury quickly. After this, we can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that has been tailored to meet your specific needs. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly and as comprehensively as possible without exposing you to possible complications and side effects. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today!

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