Medical Imaging


What is Medical Imaging?
Medical Imaging is the technique and process that is used to create images usually of the human body for clinical purposes to diagnoses, reveal and examine the body. Medical Imaging is often also known as radiology, clinical imaging, doplar imaging, sonogram, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI or ultrasound. Medical imaging is usually not invasive and patients can retain their outer layer of covering in most cases, causing no pain and still be very aware of what is going on.

How does Medical Imaging work?
Medical imaging works by using machines and technology to send high frequency magnetic sound or radio waves through a device that goes through the body/tissue and bounces off of the backing behind your tissue (usually metal). Since different parts of the bodies tissue is thicker than other places the waves bounce off of the body at different rates. A computer then constructs an image based off of the timing of the return of the sound waves producing x-ray images.

Is Medical Imaging Safe?
Medical imaging “will attract iron containing (ferromagnetic) objects and may cause them to move suddenly” which can cause a possible risk to persons containing high levels of iron substances. For example technicians may require that persons remove any objects on their person such as earrings watches, jewelry and other items that may contain iron. Materials such as high iron content item or oxygen tanks are not allowed in medical imaging areas due to the possibility that the magnetic field may be able to pull the object in causing potential harm to those who are involved. There is a possibility that the medical imaging device will also cause harm to external hearing devices, pace makers or similar. You should let your physician know if you have any metal items embedded in your body such as metal joints, plates, bullets, etc. In some instances gadolinium may be injected into the person to help provide a better reading - gadolinium does not contain iodine so it will not interrupt the medical imaging device or reading.

Who preforms Medical Imaging and where may I have gotten it done?
Medical imaging is preformed in many doctors offices and you may have experience a type of medical imaging in your life is you have had: a broken bone, dental x-ray, ultrasound for pregnancy or MRI. You may have many types of medical imaging procedures done on you during your lifetime.

Dental Offices - Images (CT Scan)
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Medical imaging is used to search the body in a non-invasive manner to allow the physician to be able to see into the body to the bones of the body.

1. Used by dentist to see the structure of the bone, teeth and jaw. Dentist are also able to detect lose of bone via X-rays and out of place teeth, chipped teeth, embedded teeth and other dental problems.

2. Doctors and physicians may used scans to determine if you have broken bones, low joint ligament structures, or any other internal problem. MRI's are also widely used to see the inner tissue functions and possible complications.

3. OB/GYN's use ultrasounds to detect fetuses still in the womb. Babies can be see via abdominal or vaginal ultrasounds or sonograms. The scan can assist the physician in determining the approximate age of the fetus, sex, and general health of the unborn infant. In some cases parents find out that they are having more than one baby at a time via an ultrasound.

Web Resources:

RadiologyInfo -
Medical Imaging -
HONmedia - Medical images -
National Alliance for Medical Image Computing -
DICOM - Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine
UTSCSA Library -

Related Terminology:

  • Radiology
  • Clinical Imaging
  • Doplar Imaging
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Sonogram
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • CT Scan


RadiologyInfo -
Medical Imaging -
National Alliance for Medical Image Computing -
DICOM - Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine
Medical Imaging Mag -
Advanded Medical Technology Association -


Patient getting a full body MRI. -

Baby ultrasound at 16 weeks.

3-D Volume Rendering of a CT Angiogram -