Computerized tomography scans (CT scans) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can both look inside the body without actually having to enter the patient. Therefore, they replace a lot of exploratory surgeries and other diagnostic procedures that were done typically in older fashioned medicine.
Benefits of CT scans
CT scans utilize a computer with X-ray technology to look inside the patient in real time and can see blood vessels filling, organs functioning and metabolic actively. CT images allow radiologists and other physicians to identify internal structures and see their shape, size, density and texture. This detailed information can be used to determine if there is a medical problem as well as the extent and exact location of the problem and other important details. The images can also show if no abnormality is present. A CT scan that shows no abnormality still provides useful data. The information aids a diagnostician by focusing attention away from unnecessary medical concerns.
In an emergency room, patients can be scanned quickly so doctors can rapidly assess their condition. Emergency surgery might be necessary to stop internal bleeding. CT images show the surgeons exactly where to operate. Without this information, the success of surgery is greatly compromised. The risks of radiation exposure from CT scans are very small compared to those of even a well-planned surgery.
What is magnetic resonance imaging?
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is similar to CT scanning. It looks at how the tissues have changed relative to normal, so very often MRI looks at the joints, brain, and full abdominal organs. MRI can now even include cardiac imaging, showing the exam has evolved significantly because of its great tissue contrast and the fact that it has no radiation exposure. MRI has proven valuable in diagnosing a broad range of conditions including cancer, heart and vascular disease and muscular and bone abnormalities.
In pregnancy, MRI can be used to safely monitor your baby. Other body parts and conditions that an MRI can evaluate and diagnose range from organs of the chest and abdomen, pelvic organs, blood vessels, lymph nodes, tumors, diseases of the liver, inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcerative colitis and heart problems. Also, the contrast material used in MRI exams is less likely to produce an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials used for conventional X-rays and CT scanning.
Benefits of MRI
Since MRI machines do not use any radiation at all, they are widely regarded as exceptionally safe for patients. Another advantage of an MRI scan is that it is a noninvasive approach to diagnosis, which means it’s a safer alternative than an angiography for a patient suspected of having heart or blood vessel problems. MRI exams may also be used to explore the possible causes of pelvic pain in women, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis. This really helps physicians achieve quite a lot in diagnosing patients and minimizing patient risk.