About Diagnostics and Imaging
Imaging tests provide a picture of the body’s interior - of the whole body or part of it. Most imaging tests are painless, relatively safe, and non-invasive (that is, they do not require an incision in the skin or the insertion of an instrument into the body).
Imaging tests may use the following:
- Radiation, as in x-rays, computed tomography (CT), and radionuclide scanning
- Sound waves, as in ultrasonography
- Magnetic fields, as in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Substances that are swallowed, injected, or inserted to highlight or outline the tissue or organ to be examined
Medical imaging encompasses different imaging modalities and processes to image the human body for diagnostic and treatment purposes and therefore plays an important role in initiatives to improve public health for all population groups. Furthermore, medical imaging is frequently justified in the follow-up of a disease already diagnosed and/or treated.
Medical imaging, especially X-ray based examinations and ultrasonography, is crucial in a variety of medical setting and at all major levels of health care. In public health and preventive medicine as well as in both curative and palliative care, effective decisions depend on correct diagnoses. Though medical/clinical judgment may be sufficient prior to treatment of many conditions, the use of diagnostic imaging services is paramount in confirming, correctly assessing and documenting courses of many diseases as well as in assessing responses to treatment.
With improved health care policy and increasing availability of medical equipment, the number of global imaging-based procedures is increasing considerably. Effective, safe, and high quality imaging is important for much medical decision-making and can reduce unnecessary procedures. For example, some surgical interventions can be avoided altogether if simple diagnostic imaging services such as ultrasound are available