Understanding your whole health calls for a deep understanding of your body, mind and spirit. One important way for your doctor to accurately assess your physical health and detect any potential illnesses and conditions is with imaging tests.
Advances in technology have allowed doctors to offer minimally invasive tests and procedures that give a crystal-clear picture of your health. Your doctor will work with a team of specialists — including radiologists and technicians — to perform tests, interpret results and map a plan that’s right for you. Today, imaging can be used in a variety of ways from diagnosing a health condition to delivering minimally invasive treatments.
Diagnostic imaging allows your doctor to accurately diagnose health conditions and create a treatment plan tailored to your unique health needs. The type of imaging procedures you need depend on your age, risk factors, medical history and symptoms. Usually, one or two types of imaging are enough for proper diagnosis.
Bone Densitometry (DEXA)
DEXA scans use X-rays to diagnose osteoporosis and fractures.
Computed Tomography (CT)
CT scans use X-rays to make multiple detailed or 3D images of organs, bone, tissue and blood vessels.
Echocardiogram is an ultrasound image of the heart for diagnosing conditions such as valve problems, congestive heart failure and heart attack damage.
Using a continuous X-ray beam, your care team can take real-time images of internal organs in motion.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses a magnetic field to make highly detailed 3D images of bone, muscle and soft tissue.
Mammograms use low-dose X-ray to see inside the breasts to diagnose breast cancer. Digital mammography uses electronic images in place of film, and can detect breast tumors too small to feel.
Ultrasound (sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. This includes soft tissue, organs such as the heart (echocardiogram), blood flow and unborn children. Ultrasound also helps guide procedures like breast biopsy.
Using radiation, your doctor can take detailed images of any bone in your body, but not soft tissue like organs and muscles. Typically used to diagnose broken bones and fractures, X-ray imaging is the oldest and most used type of medical imaging.
A specialized branch of radiology, nuclear medicine uses small amounts of a radioactive substance (radiotracer) and a detection device (gamma camera) to diagnose or treat conditions.
Nuclear medicine can detect molecular activity and find disease in its beginning stages, allowing early treatment. Imaging procedures include:
Bone scans can show the severity of bone diseases and conditions, including fractures, infection and cancer.
Positron Emission Technology (PET)
PET scans examine bodily functions like blood flow and oxygen use. By identifying body changes at the cellular level, PET may detect the early onset of disease before it’s evident on other imaging tests.
Thyroid Scan and Uptake
Using a specialized CT scan and radiotracers to make images of your thyroid, your doctor can measure its function to diagnose conditions like cancer.
Interventional radiology combines imaging tests with minimally invasive procedures, giving your surgeon a clear image of your body, anatomy and internal organs. This radiology specialty combines a catheter (a flexible hollow tube about as thick as a spaghetti noodle) with advanced imaging procedures. These include X-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound to guide the catheter to the affected part of your body.
Interventional radiologists, neuroradiologists and cardiologists work with doctors and care teams to provide minimally invasive treatment options for any area of the body. For example, they repair brain aneurysms, place stents in blood vessels, remove blood clots, and make angiography images of blood vessels. Interventional radiology can treat conditions such as:
- Cancer of the Colon, Kidney, Liver and Lungs
- Golfers and Tennis Elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Spinal Fractures
- Uterine Fibroids
Get the Inside Story on Imaging
Imaging tests help your doctors get the big picture of your current health, so they can make accurate recommendations for your care and even guide some of those procedures. If you need imaging tests to diagnose or treat a health condition, your doctor will work closely with you to recommend the procedure that’s right for you. Learn more about AdventHealth imaging services.