Different Types of Medical Imaging Tests
Medical imaging is one of many different varieties of tests that doctors can use to help better understand a patient’s condition. Each medical imaging method uses different technology to create a comprehensive image of your body. Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these tests, depending on your symptoms and what they are looking for, but it’s helpful to be familiar with all of them.

Digital X-Ray

Why do an X-ray exam?

X-ray exams are still the mainstay of diagnostic imaging. They can offer an accurate “look inside” to uncover anatomic problems. Commonly, x-rays are used to assess bones and joints for breaks, dislocations, or problems with arthritis. Chest x-rays are frequently used to diagnose the conditions behind persistent coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing, question of possible pneumonia, etc. Other parts of the body commonly examined by x-ray are the spine and abdomen.

How is an X-ray exam performed?

An X-Ray or computed radiography exam is quite simple for the patient. The part of the body to be imaged is placed against the image receptor and an instruction is given for you to hold still or hold your breath. In a split second, the image is obtained by one of our x-ray technologists specially trained in anatomy, x-ray safety, and obtaining x-ray images.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Computed tomography, or CT scan, is a painless, non-invasive imaging test that allows physicians to look inside various parts of the body. A CT scanner uses a special X-ray tube and detectors to produce these detailed images. Unlike regular X-rays that look at only one part of the body, a CT scan looks at an entire area of the body, taking a “stack” of pictures, much like slices in a loaf of bread. Nearly any part of the body can be studied with a CT scan. Some common examples include:

• The Brain: to help diagnose strokes, bleeding, tumors or other neurological conditions
• The Chest: to help diagnose infections, tumors or blood clots in the lungs
• The Abdomen: to help find causes of pain, diagnose tumors, or to see if a cancer has spread
• The Neck: to look for infections or tumors
• The Heart: to look for the early signs of heart disease using our state-of-the-art HeartVision imaging test

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a painless, non-invasive imaging test that allows physicians to look inside various parts of the body, such as the brain or spine. MRI works by creating a magnetic field, sending radio waves into the body and then measuring the response with an advanced computer system. This creates a series of detailed images that are interpreted by a radiologist, a physician with special training in interpreting diagnostic studies.

MRI is used to study many parts of the body including:

• The Brain: to help diagnose stroke, tumor or other neurological conditions
• The Spine: to help diagnose ruptured disks, arthritis, or other causes of back pain
• Joints: (such as the knee, shoulder, ankle, wrist): to look for ruptured ligaments, damaged cartilage, or small fractures that can't be seen on regular X-rays
• The Heart: to look for structural defects and to see how well the heart functions

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a safe, painless, non-invasive imaging test that uses the reflection of sound waves to obtain images of various parts of the body. While most people think of ultrasound as a test that is used to look at a developing baby, it has many other uses in medicine. A small sampling of these include:

• Ultrasound of the abdomen to look for gallstones, kidney stones, an inflamed appendix, tumors or other causes of pain.
• Ultrasound of the pelvis to look for uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, or other causes of pain or bleeding.
• Ultrasound of the legs or arms to look for blood clots in leg veins.
• Ultrasound of the neck to look for causes of an enlarged thyroid gland.
• Ultrasound of blood vessels to look for blockages in arteries.
• Pregnancy Ultrasound at InnerVision includes 3-D capabilities that allow us to better evaluate structures, such as the fetal face.
• Ultrasound of the scrotum to look for tumors or inflammation.

Comprehensive Healthcare in Indiana

Unity Healthcare is a multi-specialty healthcare provider with locations and practitioners throughout North Central Indiana. We’re committed to providing world-class care and faster, more accurate diagnoses and recovery times. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.