If you’re thinking of a career in medical imaging or you simply want to understand more about it, then here’s a quick guide that covers what medical imaging is and the most common medical imaging types.
A Definition of Medical Imaging
Medical imaging offers a range of high-tech tests that enable surgeons, doctors and other medical professionals to gain a better understanding of the condition of a patient. Imaging allows specialists to see what’s going on inside the body without the need for invasive surgery merely to investigate.
Some of the things medical imaging can highlight and reveal include broken bones, illness, inflammation of organ tissue, monitoring the development of an unborn child and more.
Let’s now take a look at the different types of medical imagery for clarification.
Although it seems like a more recent medical imaging procedure, ultrasound technology has actually been used since 1956 and was first used in Glasgow in Scotland. Since those early days of the prototype, ultrasound technology has advanced enormously.
With the application of a special gel, a probe is used to examine specific parts of the body. Images then appear on a screen as the probe is moved around and the ultrasounds penetrate the tissue. It’s a totally non-invasive procedure that is most often used to monitor the health and development of unborn children and pregnant mothers.
The MRI Scan
MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging”. The good news about MRI scans is no radiation is used in the process. Instead, detailed internal images are produced by combining radio waves with a strong magnetic field.
MRI scans can produce detailed images of both soft tissue and organs, as well as the examination of bones and joints. In fact, MRI scanning is most successful when used to diagnose an injury to a joint or bone structure. Even ligaments can be examined with a MRI scan.
While MRI scanning is both painless and non-invasive, scanning can take up to one hour to complete. However, the results are a clear picture of the problem area.
X-rays are the best known and also the oldest form of medical imaging today. Since the inception of X-ray technology in 1895, it has been used to successfully examine things like brain tumours, broken bones, joint injuries and other areas of dense matter.
Even today, the X-ray is the procedure of choice when it comes to obtaining images of broken bones or other issues that are related to bone structure and joints. If a child swallows a foreign object, X-rays are also employed to locate that object.
Although X-rays do use radiation to create the internal image, these radiation doses are very small and would only prove harmful if a patient were to undergo numerous X-rays during their lifetime.
A CT scan is a computed tomography scan. This technology has been around for some time and is predominantly used to diagnose issues in areas such as organs, blood vessels, bone structure and more.
The procedure uses a series of X-rays to create a more detailed picture than what a standard X-ray can give. While CT scanning does use radiation, CT scans allow medical professionals to more accurately diagnose a condition or a problem and devise a solution.
A PET scan, or “positron emission tomography scan”, is generally painless. It’s more invasive than other medical imaging procedures though, as it involves injecting the patient with a radioactive tracer. These tracers may also be inhaled or ingested. The scans produce detailed images of both bones and organs.
Finding Medical Imaging Jobs In Australia
For people who are either training for job roles in the medical profession, or you’re already qualified in medical imaging, one of the best ways to find work is to enlist the help of a specialist medical recruitment agency.
You can find specialist recruitment agencies by searching online, either Australia-wide or in your area. Try search terms like:
- Medical imaging jobs in Australia
- Medical recruitment agency
- Sydney medical imaging jobs
- Employment agencies in Sydney
- And so on…
The five most commonly used types of medical imaging have been mentioned in this article, but exciting new technology is in the wings, so keep an eye out for that.