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Individuals who work in the radiology field operate different types of radiology equipment for the purpose of seeing and taking images of the inside of the human body. X-ray, computer axial tomography (CAT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are among those used in radiology. This equipment can be important in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of injuries and conditions. For example, x-rays can be used to diagnose bone fractures and certain lung problems.
One of the most familiar types of radiology equipment is the x-ray machine. An x-ray machine uses x-rays, which are a kind of electromagnetic radiation, to produce images of the inside of a person’s body. X-ray machines send photons, which are particles of x-rays, through a person’s body, and special film captures the images. Often, people have x-rays during routine dental examinations, but this technology is also used to give doctors a view of many different parts of the body.
A CAT scanner is another type of radiology equipment that allows doctors to see the inside of a person’s body. CAT scanning equipment produces cross-sectional images of the area under examination, which can be viewed on a special computer monitor or printed out for later use and analysis. Often, CAT scans are used instead of x-rays when a medical professional needs to obtain clearer images of a patient's organs, bones, and even blood vessels. These tests provide more detailed images than x-rays can.
CAT scans work in a similar manner to x-rays. With this procedure, many x-rays rotate around the patient along with special electronic detectors. While these detectors measure how much radiation the person’s body absorbs, the examine table moves inside the scanner to ensure the required images are obtained. A computer takes the data produced by the scanner and creates cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
An MRI machine is another important piece of radiology equipment. This type of machine uses a magnetic field, instead of radiation, to obtain images of the inside of a person’s body. With this machine, an electric current and wire coils are used to produce a magnetic current. The magnetic field then stimulates water molecules to align, and radio waves cause them to give off signals. These radio waves are sent to a computer that processes images the signals create.
The high-resolution images produced by this machine present views of a thin slice of the area under examination. Often, this machine is used to view parts of the body that are harder to evaluate with other types of imaging. For example, an MRI machine is better for capturing images of the spinal cord than an x-ray or CAT scan machine.
Imaging equipment is an important tool for diagnosing the presence or severity of many illnesses and injuries.
However, unfortunately, even the clearest, most fine-tuned images are usually not enough on their own to give a thorough diagnosis for cancer patients.
Once diagnostic radiology procedures detect the presence of a spot or other abnormality, a biopsy will likely still need to be performed to determine whether a tumor is present and, if it is, if it is benign or malignant.
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