The History of Medical Imaging

The first X-RayMedical imaging is a form of technology that has revolutionized the medical field in the past century.  With these new innovations, doctors were able to elevate the standard of practice and the experience of the patient. Now, areas of pain or trouble can be non-invasively examined and treatment can begin without the patient even needing to go under. But when did the innovation of medical imaging begin?

Read below to take a trip down memory lane and find out how the medical field and the technology industry have been working together to build a better, healthier world.

Röntgen performs X-Ray in 1895

Professor Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovers the ability to look through the skin and see the bones of the body while performing experiments on another project. While working with a cathode ray generator, he noticed an image that was left when the cathode rays came into contact with the vacuum tube. He performed the first X-ray on his wife’s hand and even gave the technology the name we use today, calling this discovery “X” rays because they were unsure what exactly they were. This invention was eventually standardized by William Coolidge and his X-ray known as the “Coolidge tube” is what all modern X-ray machines are based from.  The first X-rays required at least 11 minutes of exposure to produce a quality image. Now X-rays take only a few seconds and they use about 2% of the radiation amount seen in the early 20th century machines.

Scientists Use Ultrasounds in the 1960s

The basics of sonar had been discovered and utilized during World War II as a form of maritime warfare. In the early 1960s, scientists discovered that sending sound waves into the body would bounce off the internal structures and then returned to the ultrasound machine to be reformatted into images for doctors to see. This allowed doctors to non-invasively search for tumors and other growths.

Damadian Discovers MRI in 1970

Dr. Raymond Damadian discovers that different animal tissues emit different signals, as well as that cancerous tissues, take much longer to return the signal sent through them. This is the basis for magnetic resonance imaging. In 1977, Dr. Damadian created the first full-body MRI machine which he named the “Indomitable.”

Hounsfield Invents CT Scans in 1972

The 1970s showed the first instance of computer technology mixing into the medical field with Sir Godfrey Hounsfield’s invention of the CT machine. He theorizes that you could see into an object if you took X-rays from different angles of the object through a machine that would appear as “slices” which could then be put together to form an image. With his idea, he formed the first “axial tomography” machine which we now know as the CT machine. In 1979, he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and was later knighted by the British Royal Family.

Since then, all of these machines have entered into the digital age and are now updated with the latest technology available. This means that there is less potential risk for patients as well as a greater ability to diagnose and treat.

Looking for medical imaging in Louisiana? At Doctors Imaging, we’re Radiologists concerned with patient care. Meet our Radiologists or request your next medical impaging appointment online.

What Can I See With My 4-D Ultrasound?

The advancements made in ultrasound technology have come such a long way in the last ten years. Where we could only make estimations concerning sex, congenital deformities, or health risks before, now with the advent of the 4D ultrasound, doctors and expectant mothers can learn so much more. With 4D ultrasounds, the question shifts from what can you see into what can’t you see?

The traditional two-dimensional ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to create slices of a fetus and then shade them to make the image easier to see. Technicians and parents could only view the one slice of the image at a time and for some parents, the exhilarating feeling of finally seeing your child was dampened because of the low-quality images. While this technology was sufficient for determining the proper growth, placement, and sex of an unborn child, there are other conditions that could not be determined until the child was born.

Today, however, with the use of 3D and 4D ultrasounds (like the ones in use at our facilities), doctors are better able to diagnose certain conditions and features. 3D ultrasounds take a catalog of echoes using sound waves produced by the transducer (ultrasound wand) and then combine the images in a digital bank to create a more detailed image. With 3D ultrasounds, doctors can determine so much more than just the sex of a child. Facial features like eyes, nose, and lips can be seen. Mothers can count the fingers and toes of their child. But most importantly, physicians can see conditions like cleft lip, the possibility of Down’s Syndrome or other external abnormalities in the fetus.

The difference between a 3D and 4D ultrasound is that a 3D ultrasound is just a singular photograph. A 4D ultrasound combines the image as well as movement so it becomes similar to a short movie for the mother and doctor. With 4D ultrasounds, mothers can see their child’s movements in real-time.

3D ultrasounds allow patients to see their babies or bodies in higher definition and even see movement.

Perhaps it is the clarity of the image or just finally seeing your child’s face, but having these imaging procedures done may promote healthy bonding for the mother and the health of the child.

If you’re looking for ultrasound services in the New Orleans or Metairie, Louisiana area, get in touch with us at Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. To make your appointment, either call 504-833-8111 or use our online scheduling form.

Pregnancy and Ultrasounds: Benefits and Innovations

Pregnancy is a joyful time in any woman’s life and also one of the most nerve-wracking. By reading all the books and heeding all suggestions from your doctor, you can help to ensure the safe delivery and future of your unborn child. One tool that your obstetrician will recommend often is an ultrasound procedure. Ultrasounds are effective for examining unborn fetuses because of the non-invasive nature of the procedure as well as the extent of what ultrasounds can reveal. Ultrasound may be done frequently, at the beginning of every trimester. If you have a pre-existing or gestational condition that requires additional medical attention, you’ll want to talk to your specialist concerning your specific situation.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of the interior happenings of the body. Ultrasounds are useful in determining pregnancy as well as in diagnosing infertility problems. There are several types of ultrasounds that can be performed. If you believe you may be pregnant or are having difficulty becoming pregnant, your doctor may order a transvaginal ultrasound to be performed. A transvaginal ultrasound is useful in examining the reproductive organs such as the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and observing processes like ovulation and implantation. Ultrasounds can also determine abnormalities like ovarian cysts or uterine tilting. If you are currently pregnant, your doctor will most likely perform a traditional, exterior ultrasound on the pelvic region.

Traditional ultrasounds display the interior of the body in flat, darker sections. Now, there are more innovations in the field of pregnancy, and ultrasounds have been upgraded so much that an expectant mother can even determine the facial structures of her baby. Mothers are offered three-dimensional ultrasounds that can translate sound waves to a higher degree into 3-D images. There are even four-dimensional ultrasounds that offer 3-D images in motion. Learning a child’s sex or determining size has never been easier.

Having these ultrasounds performed can be extremely helpful for nervous, expectant mothers. Now doctors are better equipped to give medical advice, determine any pre-natal deficiencies, congenital disease as well as foresee difficult pregnancies and deliveries. Ultrasounds are relatively non-invasive and are often the first line of defense your doctor will recommend if there is any concern or question you have regarding your pregnancy. If you are a high-risk pregnancy, regular and detailed ultrasounds can be the best tool in keeping the health of baby and mother monitored. If you are hoping to become pregnant, ultrasounds are a great feature of medical imaging facilities to help determine any problem areas or conditions that may be preventing pregnancy. Knowing your body and being aware of the progression of your pregnancy can help to calm nerves and increase the excitement for the new addition to your family.

Looking for ultrasound procedures in the New Orleans or Metairie, Louisiana area? Click here to schedule your ultrasound procedure appointment today, or you can always make an appointment by calling 504-883-8111.

What Should I Expect From my First Ultrasound?

What to expect what you’re expecting is fairly laid out and, well, expected.  Books available to expecting parents tell you all you need to know about having a child, whether it is how to prepare yourself physically and mentally or how to set up the baby’s room.  Certain aspects of pregnancy, however, can be a little scary as well as exciting.  It helps to know exactly what will happen at certain milestones in your nine-month journey.  Of these milestones, one of the most significant is your first ultrasound.  It’s the first glance you get at your baby.  It’s an intimate experience that can leave you speechless.  It can also be wonderfully intimidating.  To help you get through, here’s what you should expect from, and how to prepare for, your first ultrasound.

About Ultrasounds

Obstetric ultrasonography is the technical term for ultrasounds.  It sounds a lot more complicated than what it actually is, though.  To put it simply, a machine creates a sound wave, it then receives the echoes produced by the sound wave, and finally it creates an image.  You may have your first ultrasound at around 6 to 10 weeks, or at the standard mid-pregnancy.

Ultrasounds provide a lot of useful information for both you and your primary doctor.  Ultrasound technicians check for the possibility of twins, the location of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, the baby’s heartbeat, sex and size.

How to prepare

Knowing how the procedure takes place is helpful beforehand.  Research the possible abnormalities that can be detected by ultrasound, so you can know what to expect if that comes up.  If possible, take a supportive person with you.  This can be the other parent, or one of your relatives or friends.  It helps to have someone else there.

What to Expect

While ultrasounds may be performed vaginally, they are usually administered through the abdomen.  The National Institute of Health explains how you lie on the examination table with your belly exposed.  The administrator of the ultrasound will then rub a gel you’re your stomach.  A little caution, the gel may be cold.  The purpose of the gel is to improve the sound conduction.  A probe, the device that sends and receives the sound waves, is then gently slid across your stomach.

As the machine translates the sounds into images, you begin to see your baby with your own eyes.  Your baby and their bone material will show up as white on the screen, with amniotic fluid showing up as black.  Technicians examine the whole stomach, taking videos and still images to be shown to your doctor.

In some cases, you may be asked to drink a glass or two of water, to ensure you have a full bladder.  This pushes the uterus up, allowing for a much clearer image.

While the procedure is taking place, you may ask questions, but they are more likely to be answered by your doctor later.  If you prefer not to know your baby’s sex, make sure to tell the technician before.  The procedure itself can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  The more advanced screenings, however, can take up to an hour.

Overall, the experience of getting an ultrasound is a positive one.  It’s fast, easy, painless, and very informative.  This is one of the key parts of pregnancy, so make it memorable!

If you’re looking for an Ultrasound service in the Louisiana area, come to Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is easy, results are available on-site, our rates are below hospitals, and we accept every major insurance.