Malaysia Healthcare Chronicles

Visualising Wellness: 5 Types of Diagnostic Imaging Tests

diagnostic imaging tests

A picture paints a thousand words. Similarly, an image could provide a clearer picture on your wellbeing

Therefore, diagnostic imaging enables doctors to accurately identify and make precise decisions that could save lives.

Imaging plays a significant role in diagnostics, providing insights into the structure and function of our bodies.

Your doctor can determine the appropriate modality based on the clinical problem at hand, utilising these five types of imaging tests:

1. Plain Radiograph

Also known as X-Ray, is a health diagnostics test, capturing images of specific organs in your body.

Chest X-Rays are the most common plain radiographs done to check for any abnormalities in the chest.

X-Rays are also used to detect fractures. One dose of radiation in a Chest X-Ray is equivalent to three days’ worth of background radiation.

X-Rays are administered at a low dose when necessary for patient treatment purposes.

2. Ultrasounds

Using high frequency sound waves, ultrasounds are health diagnostics tests commonly done on the abdomen, pelvis, breast, neck, and blood vessel to detect:

  • Liver Diseases
  • Stones in parts such as Kidney or Gallbladder
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Abnormalities of the urinary bladder, uterus, ovaries, appendix, prostrate
  • Size of organ

Unlike plain radiographs, ultrasound is radiation free. Patients need to fast overnight when abdominal ultrasounds are done.

Pelvic ultrasounds will require the patients to have a full bladder, which provides a good acoustic medium to see the pelvis organs.

3. Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

CT scan takes slices of the body to clearly visualise the internal structure on multiple planes. It is useful to detect bleeding, tumours, and infections.

The radiation dose is high – close to 200 times in comparison with a Chest X-ray. For CT chest scans, scans are done when information is required to treat a patient.

4. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI uses a strong magnet for imaging diagnostics to detect illnesses in the human body. There is no radiation involved and it is useful for areas like the brain, bones, and joints.

5. Angiograms

Angiograms are the gold standard in imaging diagnostics, evaluating blood vessels in search of any blockages, aneurysms, or malformations of blood vessels in any part of the human body.

A dye or contrast medium is injected into the blood vessels, and pictures, or real-time video recordings are taken using the fluoroscopy machine. Patients may experience allergic reactions to the dye.

Though this is rare, the reactions are easily remedied with medications. 

In conclusion, understanding the various types of diagnostic imaging tests empowers both patients and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment.

Whether it’s X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds, each imaging test plays a vital role in modern healthcare, contributing to the ongoing pursuit of precision medicine and personalised patient care.

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