Medical imaging refers to a range of technologies used to observe the human body for the purpose of diagnosing, monitoring, or treating medical conditions. It allows doctors to better evaluate patients' bones, organs, tissues, and blood vessels through non-invasive means. The procedures help to determine if surgery would be an effective treatment option; to locate tumors to be treated and removed; to find blood clots or other obstructions; to guide doctors on joint replacement or treatment of fractures; and to assist other procedures that involve placing devices, such as stents or catheters, inside the body. Medical imaging quickly developed to play a central role in today's medicine by supporting the diagnosis and treatment of a disease.
Medical imaging encompasses technologies such as ultrasound, x-rays, mammography, computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine. It is the technique and process of obtaining images of the inside of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention, as well as the visual representation of the function of some organs or tissues (physiology). Medical imaging seeks to reveal the internal structures hidden by the skin and bones, as well as to diagnose and treat diseases. It also establishes a database of normal anatomy and physiology to enable the identification of abnormalities.
Advanced medical imaging techniques include computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), digital mammography and ultrasound. These techniques allow doctors to detect diseases at an early stage and, ultimately, help patients live better and longer lives. However, medical ultrasound also has some side effects, such as hormonal change, very infrequent chromosome breakdown, chemical effects, and other health problems. Many of the techniques developed for obtaining medical images also have scientific and industrial applications.
Diagnostic imaging techniques have become a necessary tool for diagnosing almost all major types of medical abnormalities and diseases, such as traumatic diseases, many types of cancerous diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, and many other medical conditions. Other uses of medical imaging include scans to see how well the body responds to treatment for a fracture or illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes ultrasound as an important medical imaging technology. The interpretation of medical images is generally performed by a doctor specializing in radiology known as a radiologist; however, it can be performed by any health professional who is trained and certified in clinical radiological evaluation.
Ultrasound technology can also produce sounds related to blood flow which can be useful for medical professionals depending on their condition. In this restricted sense, medical imaging can be seen as the solution of inverse mathematical problems. In the future, with increasing innovations and advances in technological systems, the field of medical diagnostics will become a field of regular measurement of various complex diseases and will provide health care solutions. Medical imaging may be indicated during pregnancy due to pregnancy complications, a pre-existing or acquired condition during pregnancy, or routine prenatal care.