Medical imaging uses imaging technology to reveal structures inside the body. This enables radiologists to diagnose diseases and monitor disease progression or a patient’s response to treatment. This is why radiologists are often referred to as the ‘’doctor’s doctor’’, playing a crucial role from diagnosis to care.
Advice For Patients
Healing starts with finding
Finding a disease early on can have a great impact on treatment.
A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury, using a range of medical imaging techniques, including :
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
After interpreting the images, the radiologist shares their recommendation with the treating doctor so that a treatment plan can be developed.
Knowing the importance of an accurate diagnosis, Bayer has been committed to the field of radiology for almost 100 years and develops products and solutions that help enhance medical images and increase diagnostic confidence.
Understanding diagnostic imaging techniques
The type of imaging technique selected will depend on:
- Suspected disease
- The part of the body being examined
- How quickly the images can be produced – this is relevant for example in emergency cases
- Certain patient characteristics that might not permit a particular scan – for example during pregnancy
Computed Tomography (CT)
A CT scan combines several X-ray images taken from different angles, providing more detailed information than a two-dimensional X-ray.
This type of scan can be particularly helpful in emergency situations as the images can be produced very quickly.
A CT scan may be carried out to:
- Find and localize a tumor, infection or blood clot
- Detect diseases and monitor progression of conditions such as cancer and heart disease
- Diagnose muscle and bone disorders, such as bone tumors and fractures
- Guide procedures such as surgery, biopsy and radiation therapy
- Monitor the impact of treatment
- Detect internal injuries and internal bleeding
- Before the scan, you may be given a contrast agent to help improve the quality of the images
- You will generally lie on a flat bed that passes into a scanner, which consists of a ring that rotates around a section of the body at a time. It is important to lie very still to ensure that the images are not blurred
- A CT scan generally takes between 10 and 20 minutes
- During a CT scan, patients are briefly exposed to ionizing radiation. Recent technical advances have contributed to lowering the amount of radiation. The radiologist will ensure that the lowest possible radiation dose is used to achieve a high-quality image.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI is a type of medical imaging that can examine almost any part of the body, including the brain and spinal cord, bones and joints, breasts, heart and blood vessels, and internal organs such as the uterus, liver or prostate gland.
Using strong magnetic field and radio waves, it can produce extremely clear and detailed pictures of inside the body.
- MRI machines are generally large cylinder with openings at both ends. You will lie on a bed that is moved inside the scanner, which is operated by a computer in a separate room
- To ensure the images are clear, you will need to stay still during each scan, which can take from a few seconds to several minutes
- At certain times during the procedure, the MRI scanner will make loud tapping sounds. This is from the magnets inside the MRI scanner being switched on and off quickly
- You will be offered earplugs, or you may choose to listen to music through headphones during the scan
- The whole procedure will last between 15 and 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and the number of images being taken.
A contrast agent is a clear liquid that is sometimes used to improve the quality of images produced by X-rays, CT scans, MRI and sometimes ultrasound, by making parts of the image more visible in the pictures.
Contrast agents are injected into the body before the scan and are generally well tolerated by most patients.
- A contrast agent might be given:
- By injection: A contrast agent is injected through a vein to help certain organs or blood vessels stand out in the scans
- By mouth: If your esophagus or stomach is being scanned, you may need to swallow a liquid contrast agent
- By enema: A contrast agent may be inserted in your rectum to help visualize your intestines
- During the scan, a small amount of contrast agent will be injected, either by hand or by a pump called an ‘injector’
- Sometimes the contrast agent can cause mild side effects such as feeling warmth or being sick, a skin rash, a headache or dizziness
- In rare cases, a contrast agent may cause medical issues or a more severe allergic reaction. Please inform the medical staff in case you are feeling unwell