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Imaging Systems and Their Role in Medicine

With the tremendous leaps that the medical field makes each year it is evident that a lot of medical diagnoses and treatments are going to be made easier and faster in future. For several of its feats in fighting diseases, medical field owes to technology. Digital imaging system is one such result of the use of technology in medical field. It is the creation of detailed and descriptive images of body parts and internal organs for medical diagnosis, analysis and treatment.

Today medical imaging has become an important part of medicine and clinical practices. In fact, in medical institutions, this has become one of the major sub-disciplines for courses like biomedical engineering, medical physics or even general medicine. Not that all, the techniques used in medical imaging has become useful for scientific and industrial research and study as well.

Today there are different types of imaging systems for different clinical purposes. Ranging from the X-ray to the more complicated scanning procedures, medical imaging has different intricacy levels and gives you results in studying and deciding on treatments. Here are a few of the common examples of medical imaging:

• Radiography (X-ray)

Due to its affordability and high resolution, radiography is one of oldest and most common forms of imaging systems today. Here X-rays are sent through the body to check the intactness of the bone structure. Any fracture or damage to the bones is found through radiography.

• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

The MRI scan, as it is commonly called, is used to detect issues with spine and brain mainly. It uses electro-magnetic fields and radio frequency signals to create an image on a connected computer. An MRI scan is comparatively healthy as it does not involve ionizing radiation and therefore has no related health hazards detected so far. It creates images in 3D blocks so that a more detailed diagnosis of the photographed body part is possible.

• Thermography

Thermography imaging system works on the principle that a cancer affected part of a body would have higher temperature that the remaining parts of the body. Through extremely accurate cameras, this digital imaging system detects these variations in temperature and thus detects presence or probability of cancer.

• Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography, or CT scan as it is widely known, creates 2D images of a thin section of a body using X-ray technology and a connected computer. Here the patient has a higher risk of health hazards as he or she is surrounded by a ring of detectors that is used to diagnose the disease. It is commonly used for anatomical images and during plastic surgeries.

• Ultrasound

As its name suggests, ultrasound or sonography is an imaging system that uses sound waves of high frequency to emit echoes on a particular part of the body which are then made to an anatomical image that is displayed on a connected video screen. Its common use is to check the growth of a foetus in the mother’s womb and to detect growth in the gall bladder and kidneys.

• Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine uses isotopes and radioactive materials to diagnose diseases or growths. It is also known as molecular imaging and is used in oncology, cardiology and neurology divisions of medicine. Activities that are not normal inside the body are detected with gamma rays and cameras. It is used to find tumours in the body.

Today, digital imaging systems are used by doctors across the world to detect and treat diseases. These systems help in the accurate study of maladies and thus help in the correct treatment and speedy recovery of the patient. Yet another boon from the field of science and technology, imaging systems have become ubiquitous and saved the lives of many people.