Since Wilhelm Röntgen's discovery that X-rays can identify bony structures
over 100 years ago, X-rays have been developed for their use in medical
imaging. Radiology is a specialized field of medicine. This is the most
common use of X-ray technology. X-rays are most useful in the detection
of pathology, like broken bones. Some notable examples are the very common
chest X-ray, which can be used to identify lung diseases such as pneumonia,
lung cancer or pulmonary edema, and the abdominal X-ray, which can detect
an ileus (blockage of the intestine), free air (from visceral perforations)
and some kidney stones.
An ultrasound procedure is a non-invasive (the skin is not pierced) diagnostic
procedure used to assess soft tissue structures such as muscles, blood
vessels, and organs. Ultrasound uses a transducer that sends out ultrasonic
sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is
placed at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move
through the skin and other body tissues to the organs and structures within.
The sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer.
The transducer picks up the reflected waves, which are then converted
by a computer into an electronic picture of the organs or tissues under study.
CT / FLASH CT SCAN
CT or CAT scan; Computed axial tomography (CAT) scans are special X-ray
tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and
a computer. These images allow the radiologist, a medical doctor who specializes
in interpreting images of the body, to look at the inside of the body.
This type of special X-ray, in a sense, takes pictures of slices of the
body so the doctor can look right at the area of interest. The CT scanner
looks like a large doughnut with a narrow table in the middle. Due to
the speed of this advanced imaging procedure, claustrophobia symptoms
tend to not be an issue. Patients are not placed inside a tunnel; but
rather moved in and out of the opening as the scanner takes the pictures.
Depending on the exam you are having, you will lie on your back or stomach
and move through the scanner either head first or feet first.
Boca Regional the first hospital in South Florida to offer patients “Flash
CT,” which reduces imaging time to three to four seconds and radiation
exposure up to 90 percent.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive way to image the body.
Unlike X-rays and computed tomographic (CT) scans, which use radiation,
MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create images. The magnetic
field forces hydrogen atoms in the body to line up in a certain way (similar
to how the needle on a compass moves when you hold it near a magnet).
When radio waves are sent toward the lined-up hydrogen atoms, they bounce
back, and a computer records the signal. Different types of tissues send
back different signals. For example, healthy tissue sends back a slightly
different signal than abnormal tissue. Single MRI images are called slices.
The images can be stored on a computer or burned on a CD.
Boca Regional offers the most advanced imaging available including 3T and
Nuclear medicine uses radioactive substances to image the body and treat
disease. It looks at both the physiology (functioning) and the anatomy
of the body in establishing diagnosis and treatment.
Nuclear medicine imaging techniques give doctors another way to look inside
the human body. The techniques combine the use of computers, detectors,
and radioactive substances. These techniques include:
All of these techniques use different properties of radioactive elements
to create an image.
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) / (CT)
PET produces images of the body by detecting the radiation emitted from
radioactive substances. These substances are injected into the body, and
are usually tagged with a radioactive atom, such as Fluorine-18, that
has a short decay time. In a PET scan, the patient is injected with a
radioactive substance and placed on a flat table that moves in increments
through a doughnut shaped housing. This housing contains the circular
gamma ray detector. The computer generates images. PET provides images
of blood flow or other biochemical functions, depending upon the type
of molecule that is radioactively tagged. For example, PET can show images
of glucose metabolism in the brain, or rapid changes in activity in various
areas of the body.
SPECT, CARDIOVASCULAR IMAGING AND BONE SCANNING
SPECT is a technique similar to PET. SPECT can provide information about
blood flow and the distribution of radioactive substances in the body.
Cardiovascular imaging techniques use radioactive substances to chart the
flow of blood through the heart and blood vessels. One example of a cardiovascular
imaging technique is a stress thallium test, in which the patient is injected
with a radioactive thallium compound, exercised on a treadmill, and imaged
with a gamma ray camera. After a period of rest, the study is repeated
without the exercise. The images before and after exercising are compared
to reveal changes in blood flow to the working heart. These techniques
are useful in detecting blocked arteries or arterioles in the heart and
other tissues. Your cardiologist is required to be present during the
exercise portion of the test.
Bone scanning detects radiation from a radioactive substance that, when
injected into the body, collects in bone. The substance accumulates in
areas of high metabolic activity, and so the image produced shows "bright
spots" of high activity. Bone scanning is useful for detecting tumors,
fractures, and infections, which generally have high metabolic activity.
In nuclear medicine imaging tests, injected radioactive substances do not
harm the body. The radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine decay quickly,
in minutes to hours, have lower radiation levels than a typical X-ray
or CT scan, and are eliminated in the urine or bowel movement