CT Scans and MRIs: What’s the Difference?

CT Scans and MRIs Video

CT vs MRI: questions about these two types of medical scans are some of the most common ones heard by medical imaging professionals. Both of these options can be used to diagnose a wide range of injuries, abnormalities, and illnesses in the body, but they work using unique technologies and can provide different results. The time available and the purpose of the scan are two primary factors that lead doctors to order either a CT scan or an MRI. If you have questions about CT scans and MRIs, take a look at this infographic from Concord Imaging in San Antonio, TX . Please feel free to share this information with your family and friends.

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Common Questions About Ultrasound Imaging

Diagnostic Equipment

Patients who have never had an ultrasound in San Antonio might have some questions about what they can expect. Your best sources of information are your doctor and radiology provider. You should feel free to voice your concerns or ask any questions you may have about the ultrasound exam when you arrive at the imaging center. ultrasound - imaging

Does ultrasound technology emit radiation?

Several medical imaging tests use ionizing radiation in the form of X-rays, but ultrasound is not one of them. Instead, the equipment uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed, real-time images .

I’m claustrophobic. Will I have problems getting an ultrasound?

No, an ultrasound doesn’t require you to lie on an exam table that is inserted into the scanner. Instead, you’ll be positioned comfortably on the padded table and the radiologist or sonographer will apply a water-based gel to the skin over the area that is to be examined. A hand-held device, known as a transducer, is positioned on the skin and moved around until the desired images are obtained.

Is prenatal testing the only use for ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging plays an important role in prenatal care, since it allows providers to check on the development of the baby. An ultrasound can also be used to determine whether the baby is male or female. However, there are many other uses for ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound can be used to look for signs of breast cancer and to guide breast biopsies. It’s useful for evaluating heart conditions, including heart valve problems, congestive heart failure, and post-heart attack damage. Ultrasound images even allow for the detection of blood clots and blood vessel narrowing.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

For all medical imaging appointments, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. Some patients may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for a period of time prior to the exam. Other patients may need to have a full bladder for the test, which requires them to drink lots of water and avoid urinating.

Is an ultrasound exam painful?

Ultrasound exams are painless. Most patients experience no discomfort at all, although you may be slightly uncomfortable if you need to have a full bladder for the test. Minimal discomfort may occur if the transducer must be inserted into an opening in the body.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a DEXA Scan?

Doctor Talking to Patient

A DEXA scan is an advanced form of radiology that is used to detect bone loss and is the current standard when it comes to measuring bone mineral density. If you’re wondering if you could benefit from a DEXA scan in San Antonio , then you should know that several factors can make someone a good candidate for this type of bone density test.

Your physician may have you visit a radiologist for a DEXA scan if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your X-rays show a vertebral fracture, you’re a post-menopausal woman and not on estrogen therapy, or you’re a post-menopausal woman who weighs less than 125 pounds or is under 5’7” in height. Also, you may be a good candidate for this type of bone density test if you have a parathyroid or thyroid condition, high collagen levels in urine samples, type 1 diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease. Finally, your doctor may order a DEXA scan if you have a medical condition known to cause bone loss or a history or family history of hip fractures or smoking.

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What Is CT Angiography?

Medical Image

Has your doctor asked you to visit a radiology center to get a CT angiogram? If so, then you may have questions about this procedure and what to expect. Continue reading to learn about this type of angiography before your CT scan in San Antonio . ct - angiogram

What It Is

CT angiography makes use of the latest CT technology and involves taking images of the body. Combining thin section reconstruction with fast scanning, CT angiography can provide exceptional detail of organs and blood vessels. Some of the conditions that doctors use CT angiography to diagnose include coronary artery disease, renal artery stenosis, and thoracic aorta aneurysm.

What to Expect

During the procedure, you will be given an I.V. line, and contrast dye will be injected. This step will take about 10 to 30 seconds and may cause you to experience a funny taste in your mouth or a warm sensation. As the CT scan is performed, you will need to hold your breath for a short time.

How to Prepare

To get ready for your CT angiogram, you should not eat within 3 hours of your appointment at the imaging center. However, you should drink plenty of fluids, ideally water, while avoiding caffeinated beverages. Also, wear clothing that is comfortable and will allow easy access for the I.V. line. Before the scan, inform the nurse or radiologist of any allergies that you know of and do not hesitate to ask questions or express any concerns that you may have about the CT angiogram.

After Your Scan

Following your CT angiogram, you can resume your normal activities, eat normally, and should continue to drink plenty of fluids over the next 24 hours. If you experience any issues or have questions, then contact your physician or radiologist.

Interpreting the Results

A CT angiogram may include as many as thousands of axial slices, which are thin, individual CT scans. In combination with 3D imaging tools and other methods of analysis, these images are reviewed. After the information is analyzed, your referring physician should receive a report of any significant findings about a day after your scan.

Answering Questions About Cancer Staging

Doctor Speaking to Patient

For individuals diagnosed with cancer, visiting their imaging center in San Antonio for radiology tests like MRIs and ultrasounds can play an important role in their ongoing treatment and determining the cancer’s stage. Read on to learn the answers to common questions about cancer staging. cancer - staging

What is a cancer stage?

The stage of your cancer refers to the extent of its growth in your body, such as whether it has spread and the tumor’s size. A person’s cancer will always be referred to by the stage that it was at the time of diagnosis, even if it spreads or worsens. Although information regarding your cancer may change over time, its stage will not.

Why do physicians use cancer staging?

Knowing the stage of your cancer benefits your doctor in several ways. First, it can help her determine the best course of treatment for your situation. Also, knowing the stage of your cancer can alert your physician to how serious your condition is and help her estimate your chances of survival.

How is someone’s cancer stage determined?

If you have symptoms that suggest you might have cancer or received screening results indicating that you may have this condition, then your doctor will order any of several types of tests, such as X-rays, blood work, or MRIs. These tests can diagnose your cancer and allow your physician to determine its stage.

What is the cancer staging system?

There are quite a few staging systems used by doctors. Some of these systems are used for a broad range of cancers, and others are employed only for specific types of the disease.

What is the TNM cancer staging system?

The TNM system is the most widely used cancer staging system. The T in this system refers to the extent of the patient’s main tumor, which is commonly called the primary tumor. The N describes the number of lymph nodes near the primary tumor that have cancer. Finally, the M refers to whether the cancer has metastasized and to what extent.