Diagnostic imaging services can help all patients and their doctors get a better idea of what their care and treatment options should be. Whether you are a college soccer player looking for your fastest recovery options, or you a recent retiree waiting to get the pain in your knee figured out so you can get back to swinging your golf club, diagnostic imaging services often provide the answers. Whether you are an anxious new mother waiting for the results of a breast biopsy, or you are a grandfather waiting for a lung cancer diagnosis, the power of today’s imaging services is impressive in helping doctors make long term care plans.
Many Diagnostic Imaging Centers Provide a Variety of Services
Understanding the use and application of the wide variety of diagnostic imaging services is often the first step toward understanding what to expect of your, or a loved one’s, upcoming appointment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a whole body scanning option. Perhaps most commonly known for its use in scanning the brain, it is also used for a variety of other parts of the body as well, including:
- organs located in the chest and abdomen, including the pancreas, liver, stomach, and kidneys.
- bones throughout the body to get a more detailed picture of possible fractures or breaks.
- lymph nodes in many of their various locations.
- pelvic area, including men’s and women’s reproductive organs.
MRI costs have often been in the news because depending on the region of the country, the prices can vary greatly. In fact, a National Public Radio 2013 report indicated that in the state of California, the MRI prices charged to insurance companies can range from $225 to $6,000. And while the prices insurance companies get charged can vary, it is difficult to deny the benefits of this diagnostic imaging procedure.
More than 30 million MRI scars are performed in the U.S. every year. Of these 30 million, 22% are head scans. The MRI procedure can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. The main benefit of the machine is that it can create 3-D images from a variety of different angles.
Many people know about the ultrasound process from a pregnancy. Used as a way for doctor’s to monitor the baby’s growth and development, an ultrasound provides images in real time. MRI results, on the other hand, have to processed and read before they are presented to a patient. Additionally, the ultrasound machine is portable. In the simplest terms, an ultrasound machine can be brought to the patient, while a patient must go to an MRI scanning machine.
The images produced by an ultrasound machine are called sonograms and are less expensive than MRIs. Although the ultrasound process is less expensive, portable, and immediate, this scanning technology has some disadvantages. this procedure has difficulty finding images behind bones and air, and its effectiveness is often limited by the skill of the operator.
Ultrasounds have recently been in the news for a couple of different reasons. A some what controversial suggestion by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s law that requires an ultrasound before abortions in that state. On an international level, ultrasound images are one test that Johns Hopkins doctors have been able to use to share images with mothers who are concerned about the fetus damaging Zika virus. Unlike an MRI, which is almost never ordered for a pregnant woman, an ultra sound is safe enough to use for exams even in the middle of pregnancies.
Cancer Concerns and Other Medical Issues Depend on Diagnostic Scanning Devices
Early detection is often the key to treating many cancers and other diseases. A radiologist can help doctor’s determine the presence of tumors, bone damage, and other conditions. With these images doctors are often able to pinpoint exact areas that need to be treated. Following treatments like radiation and different kinds of chemotherapy, images presented by MRIs, ultrasounds, and other scanning procedures can help doctors monitor the progress of a treatment.
Simply looking at one type of cancer, it is easy to see the impact a technology like medical imaging has. If, for example, you are one of nearly one in eight U.S. women who develops invasive breast cancer over the course of your lifetime, you will be grateful for the imaging technology detecting your condition early.