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High-Tech Medical Imaging

High-Tech Medical Imaging

The world of medical imaging is vast and very advanced. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, medical imaging has come a long way from X-rays. We now have machines that are capable of capturing detailed pictures of the inside of a human body. The use of medical imaging devices are employed not only to help save lives but also to prevent medical emergencies.

Ultrasound Machines: For medical purposes the typical ultrasound machine emits sound between 2 to 18 megahertz. A sonogram, another name for the ultrasound machine, is used in medicine to visualize subcutaneous body structures such as tendons, joints and internal organs for possible pathology or lesions. In the world of obstetrics this is commonly used to monitor a baby’s health and development inside the mother’s womb.

Ultrasound machines are also used for diagnostic purposes. Sonographers are medical practitioners that are trained to “read” ultrasound scans. Organs that are situated deeper inside the body, examples of which are the liver and kidney, require frequencies between 2 to 6 megahertz. The lower frequencies produce a higher resolution giving sonographers and other medical professionals a clearer view of the patient’s organs.

Other purposes of the ultrasound machine are for interventional procedures like biopsies and fluid collection. With the help of this technology it is now easier for surgeons to perform surgery without having to fully cut open their patients. Instead they make use of ultrasound technology to insert catheters and probes through small incisions in strategic locations inside the body. Sonograms can detect tubal pregnancy early on and have saved countless women because of this.Paragraph 4

Perhaps the best advantage of a sonogram over X-rays is that it is completely safe. A sonogram uses sound waves instead of radiation. It can provide more details that a conventional X-ray can't.

Portable ultrasound machines are now available. The Aloka SSD-900 Portable Ultrasound System or the Sonosite Titan Portable Ultrasound System, to name a few, are very good examples. These devices can be brought in the field or in hard-to-access locations giving people access to this wonderful piece of technology.

CT Scan & MRI Machines: The CT (short for Computerized Tomography) scan is a special kind of X-ray machine. It uses several simultaneous X-ray beams at different angles to produce images. These images are captured and processed by a computer, and presented as high-resolution, 3D cross-sectional images of organs, tissues and other parts of the human body. The images help medical experts to diagnose or prevent diseases. Full body scans are also performed for general purposes.

A CT scan to the head is used to detect infarctions, tumors, hemorrhage and other forms of brain trauma. For the heart, a CT image can give a cardiologist a very good picture of the coronary arteries. A scan of the lungs can detect pulmonary embolisms. When performed on the abdominal areas it can reveal diseases such as appendicitis and renal stones.

MRI (short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines, as the name implies, use magnets to align magnetic fields in the body to produce images. MRI produces contrast in the soft tissues of the body making it useful when diagnosing diseases in the heart, brain and muscles. What makes MRI different from traditional X-rays and CT scans is that it does not produce ionizing radiation. This makes it safer for patients who undergo MRI scans. Compared to X-rays, MRI is relatively a newer technology. X-ray imaging came as early towards the end of the 1890s, while the MRI was only developed in the late 1970s.

These specialized medical imaging machines are big and expensive. Popular brands of CT and MRI scanners are GE, Philips, Toshiba and Siemens. The Toshiba Asteion VF Single Slice CT scanner for example has been around since 2001 and is still in use up to today.

Other examples of medical imaging is the HD (high definition) digital capture systems, mini cameras and endoscopic probes that can be swallowed to take pictures of our internal organs.