Medical imaging technologies have quite literally changed the way we view the human body and significantly advanced the medical field. No longer do diagnosticians have to guess, nor do patients have to suffer through needless exploratory surgeries. And, in 2018, medical imaging options are more advanced than ever! Each medical imaging modality works slightly differently and is more useful for different things. So, before you decide on your final imaging machine purchase, let’s review some of the different options available.
Discovered in 1895, the x-ray is the oldest, and still one of the most commonly used medical imaging types! X-rays use wavelength and frequency to penetrate through the skin to create a picture of what is happening underneath. X-rays are used to visualize skeletal issues and can be used to detect some cancers and digestive issues when barium swallows and enemas are used.
X-ray machines are available in a multitude of options to include classic table x-rays, mobile c-arm, and complete mobile x-ray machines. They are also available in options that are designed for a specific use, such as stand-up chest x-ray, targeted dental x-ray, and vertical veterinary x-ray machines.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI scans use giant magnets, instead of traditional radiation to produce images. MRIs are used to see inside or through other bodily structures to isolate the desired body part. Because of the mechanics of how an MRI creates an image, it is able to distinguish between different body tissue types to better identify abnormalities. MRI is commonly used to detect and diagnose tumors, spinal cord injuries, aneurysms, brain function, and strokes.
MRI machines are available in a variety of sizes and options to suit your facility’s needs. Some popular options include the open MRI that helps prevent anxiety caused by claustrophobia. Larger options are also available for bariatric patients and even large animals for veterinary practice. Check out some of the available options here.
Computed Tomography (CT)/ Computed Axial Tomography (CAT)
CT or CAT uses cross-sectional x-ray images to produce a 3D picture. The process, from the patient perspective, is similar to MRI but uses radiation to produce several snapshots from various angles that are collated into a single image or images to create a 3D image of internal structures. The benefit of CT over x-ray is that they provide much more clarity than x-ray and is used to visualize internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels.
A PET-CT scan machine combines the technology of CT with positron emission tomography (PET) into one machine. PET-CT scans use a dye that is swallowed, inhaled, or injected to leave radioactive tracers that are picked up in the images to help identify abnormalities.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that are transmitted from a probe through the soft tissues of the body using a conducting gel. The waves bounce back when they hit structures, which allows the ultrasound machine to produce an image. Because ultrasound uses sound waves, it is the safest of all imaging modalities and is often one of the first resorts for patients. Ultrasound is useful for viewing internal organs, cardiac tissue, breast masses, pregnancy, and spine.
Ultrasound machines are available in a variety of sizes and options to fit your patient’s needs, including intra-cavity probe ultrasound, wand ultrasound, and mobile ultrasound. Ultrasound technology is available in 2D and 3D options.
Bone Densitometry (DEXA)
Bone densitometry, also referred to as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), uses a low-dose x-ray beam to calculate bone density. The machine works by using two different energy levels to penetrate the body, one that is absorbed in soft-tissue, while the other is absorbed in the bone. The measurements are then subtracted from each other to calculate the density of the bone.
In just under 100 years, nuclear medicine and radiology have seen dramatic advancements that early x-ray technicians couldn’t even fathom. The future of medicine and medical imaging promises to offer answers to the inner workings of the human (and our animal counterparts) bodies. To keep your practice offering the best diagnostic options for your patients, consider your current medical imaging equipment and where you could stand to improve.
If you are in the market for new medical imaging equipment for your medical clinic, chiropractic office, women’s clinic, veterinary practice, zoo, or hospital in the Miami area, browse our selection at Bravo Imaging. We have all the latest medical imaging equipment available for sale. We also provide the installation and routine maintenance you’ll need to get and keep your new machine operational. We are available for repairs on your current imaging machines or anything you purchase from us. Contact our knowledgeable staff to upgrade your practice today!