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What Is Involved in Medical Imaging Analysis?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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Medical imaging analysis is a very important aspect of the medical field, developing rapidly with the presence of the technological boom. Medical imaging analysis allows health care professionals to view areas of the body otherwise not visible, enabling diagnoses that would be impossible under different circumstances. The more information available, the better the odds that a practitioner can formulate the right diagnosis and corresponding treatment. The basic components involved in medical imaging analysis are test administration, gathering of results, and interpretation of data. Each of these steps is equally important, and many are test specific.

There are many different kinds of medical images that can be gathered, and figuring out which one is most appropriate is at the discretion of the health care provider. MRI, for example, stands for magnetic resonance imaging, and it is used primarily to view internal tissues. MRIs may be appropriate for someone with a joint or muscle problem. There are also functional MRIs, which use a radioactive element to view an organ, tissue, or system while it is active.

Doctors use X-rays to analyze more solid structures, typically bones. This is because the frequency of radiation used in X-rays penetrates all bodily structures except for bone, leaving a picture of the bone behind. There are, of course, many other types of medical imaging analysis that are also very important in helping health care professionals draw conclusions about health conditions. CT scans, for example, can paint a picture of a patient's brain.

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The common thread among all of the different kinds of medical imaging analysis is that there are basically three steps. The first step is identifying which type of test is needed and performing the test. Gathering the results is usually next, followed by the interpretation of the medical imaging analysis.

The first step can usually be done by specially trained professionals who exclusively perform this type of activity. The second step does not call for too much expertise as it usually just requires gathering materials in an organized fashion. The actual analysis of a medical image is the most important and also the most demanding, and those capable of performing this step have probably been through medical school or another type of formal training. This is very necessary because misinterpretation can lead to misdiagnosis, which can impact a patient in a negative way. These are the ways in which medical imaging analysis manifests itself in the medical world.

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