While we all try to avoid injury like the plague, chances are that at some point in your life, you may need some form of radiology services.Whether you have a broken bone or just need to get some testing done, you may hear your doctor throwing around a lot of acronyms and medical terms: MRI, CT Scan, X-ray, what does it all mean? Here are a few basics for you of what your doctor is actually saying when talking about radiology services.
MRI: MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI's basically get a very in depth view of whatever a doctor wants to look at. With magnetic resonance imaging, a perfect picture of the inside of someone's body can be examined by a doctor, viewing any abnormalities with absolute certainty of location, and how it may be affecting surrounding structures. While an MRI can be quite expensive, it is one of the most extensive views of the body that can be ordered. Downsides to an MRI are that it takes quite some time to get such a good picture. In fact, MRI's are one of the longer exams that can be ordered. Also, the test itself may cause some anxiety. An MRI machine is basically a gigantic computer, and the patient is basically slid into the computer and kept there until the in-depth picture can be taken. Being in such close quarters with machines whizzing around you can cause one to feel claustrophobic.
CT Scan: CT stands for a Computed Tomography scan. This is basically a high-resolution x-ray that can surround the individual on all sides, instead of just from above, like a normal x-ray. This is performed similarly to an MRI, but instead of being held inside a large computer, you are slid through one, since the CT scanner is just free standing slice of computer. CT scans are quite quick and can give doctors insight as to the density of tissues, though not in as much depth as an MRI.
X-Ray: Unlike being able to see during the day or at night, an x-ray is a wavelength that can only be seen when it bounces off of super dense objects, such as bones or metals. X-rays can see through skin and organs, since the tissue is thin. Due to x-rays being the cheapest and most accessible way to see bone, it is usually the first line of defense. While discomfort may be felt while one's body is being put in strategic positions to get the best picture, x-rays are usually quite harmless.