Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Importance of Medical Imaging

For general practitioners in Vancouver, British Columbia like Dr. Ali Ghahary, medical imaging plays an important role in helping to determine certain diseases, cancers, and other health problems that cannot be immediately detected, and has immense benefits for both physicians and patients. Medical imaging has been a revolutionary part of health care for many decades and can detect certain health conditions at an early stage, thus providing patients and their families with the most appropriate and effective treatment, and the best outcomes possible.

Below is a look at some of the different types of medical imaging procedures.

The most common form of medical imaging, an X-Ray produces a detailed 2D image of internal body structures such as bones. Depending on which part of the body is being scanned, you may be asked to stand up or lie down for an X-Ray. You will also be asked to remove any jewellery or other items containing metal prior to the scan, as these can cause inaccurate scans or “ghost images.” In certain cases, a contrast agent may be administered to the patient via IV. Contrast helps to enhance the visibility of the structures being scanned. When contrast is being given, patients may notice a sensation of warmth or the feeling of having to urinate – this is not uncommon. There may be delayed side effects to IV contrast such as skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches, but these are rare. X-Rays are fast, taking no longer than 15 minutes in most cases, and they are also non-invasive. While X-Rays are generally safe during pregnancy, they are not recommended for women who are or may be pregnant due to the high exposure to radiation, the possibility of cell damage, and the risk of developing cancer, therefore in cases of pregnancy it is only recommended that X-Rays are done if it is an emergency. 


CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
CT scans, also referred to as a CAT Scan, are another common form of medical imaging, and are used to produce 3D images of your body’s structures. This includes bones, organs and blood vessels. Soft tissue, however, is less visible on CT scans, and may require an MRI to be seen properly.

CT Scan

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
MRI’s are often the preferred choice of medical imaging in comparison to X-Rays and CT Scans, as they do not use ionizing radiation. Instead, your body is exposed to a magnetic field and radio waves, which then produce 3D images. MRI’s are used to diagnose various health conditions and can produce photographs of internal body structures such as bones, joints, the brain, spinal cord, heart, blood vessels and other organs. On average, an MRI can vary from 30 to 60 minutes dependent on the part of the body that is being scanned. Similar in look to a CT scan, an MRI is a circular, tunnel-like machine, about 1.5 metres in length. Some patients may find an MRI to be claustrophobic, resulting in panic attacks, and may need to take anti-anxiety medication approximately half an hour before the procedure. This medication can be prescribed by your family physician. In rare cases, especially in children who tend to move around more, general anesthetic may also be administered.


Ultrasound / Sonogram
An ultrasound is a safe test that uses high-frequency sound waves, rather than radiation. Ultrasounds can capture images of your body’s soft-tissue structures such as the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas and bladder, and can also determine blood flow and detect blockages in arteries. For women who are pregnant, an ultrasound is commonly referred to as a sonogram. A sonogram is typically administered anywhere from 18 to 20 weeks, but can also be done earlier to determine a baby’s due date. They are a great test to ensure that you are having a healthy pregnancy. In the first trimester, a sonogram can let you know how many babies you are carrying, as well as the baby’s heart rate, and show the umbilical cord and placenta. Sonograms are more detailed in the second trimester of pregnancy, showing images of the head/face, heart, limbs, spine and abdomen.


1 comment:

  1. Radiant Sage was established in 2006, privilege of winning building a clinical imaging platform & having world's top Pharmaceutical companies with products of Core-Lab-in-a-Box™ and RadVista