The Many Medical (and Other Interesting) X-Ray Uses

X-rays are the oldest form of medical imaging. What is surprising is that the scientist who discovered X-rays, William Roentgen, didn’t even mean to discover them! He was experimenting with different light waves and ionizing radiation in 1895 and stumble upon what we know today as X-rays. He had no idea what he had discovered so he named the experiment “X” rays, like in math, X being an unknown variable.

If only Mr. Roentgen could have known the widespread effect that his discovery would have on so many different fields. Today we are discussing the many X-rays uses that we see and experience in everyday life.

Now, we all know that doctors and hospitals use X-rays. X-rays are beams of ionizing radiation that are sent toward the body and absorbed and then reflected back to the machine to form an image. The reason you only see bones when having an X-ray performed is because bones are denser than the tissues and organs surrounding them. These softer structures cannot absorb and reflect the X-rays back, so they aren’t seen. This is fine because there are procedures like CT scans and MRIs to examine those structures. However, on occasion doctors need a way to examine just the bones and X-rays are the best method. X-rays are used most often when doctors need to examine the bones of the body and check for breaks, fractures, deformities and other issues involving the skeleton.

Another kind of doctor that has X-ray uses are dentists. Because teeth are basically calcium, like bones, they can absorb enough of the X-ray in order to make an image. And dental X-rays can help with every kind of dental procedure from cavities to root canals to braces. Thanks to dental X-rays, we can see beyond the mouth and into the jawline and skull, allowing dentists to treat more than just one tooth at a time but actually see the entirety of mouth issues at once. This cuts down on number of infections, pulled teeth, and other dental nightmares.

Another common place you might not realize you are being exposed to X-ray uses is at the airport. Thanks to heightened security measures, airport scanners direct X-rays to travelers’ bodies in order to check for possible weapons or threats. Our luggage undergoes the same treatment. Because metal objects like guns or knives do have enough density to absorb and reflect X-rays, they appear when going through safety scanning systems. This technology keeps our airports and flight safe.

Another unexpected place to find X-rays uses? Fossils! That is right, fossils are bones that have managed to stand the test of time and they often undergo X-ray and MRI scans upon discovery. X-ray technology allows archaeologists to pull all kinds of fascinating and illuminating details about the way that creature, plant or object lived and died. By examining the bones of prehistoric skeletons we can discover everything from age to weight to ethnicity. Truly amazing!

X-ray uses are varied and far-reaching and we at Doctors Imaging hope that continuing research and technology will improve upon an invaluable service. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our X-rays do not even use the same kind of ionizing radiation that most hospitals and previous generations knew. Our X-ray capabilities are entirely digital allowing for the same high quality images without radiation.

Want to schedule your X-ray at Doctors Imaging, you can call our office at 504-833-8111 or you can fill out our Book an Appointment feature or Request a Quote for your X-ray procedure online!

4 Myths About MRI Scans That are Just Plain Wrong

In the medical field, because there is so much research happening and so many different beliefs, there can be a lot of miscommunication. However, in this field, miscommunication can be dangerous because it dissuades people from using certain innovations and trusting physicians. So we are going to help dispel some of the common rumors and myths surrounding MRI scans.

You Can Get Radiation Exposure from MRIs

There is a common concern when it comes to medical imaging about radiation exposure. While this fear might have been substantial years ago, medical imaging has changed a lot. X-rays were the first form of medical imaging and did use radioactive material in order to create images. Today, however, places like Doctors Imaging use only digital X-rays. CT scans also use radiation for their images but the amount is set to the lightest standards to avoid damage. However, radiation exposure is never a concern if you are having an MRI scan performed. MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging use magnetic power and radio waves to transmit information into images. There is no radiation used ever, so never fear your MRI appointment.

Open MRIs are as Good as Closed

A common complaint from those having MRIs performed is the claustrophobic feeling experienced upon entering the chamber. Luckily, low field open MRIs were created to combat this feeling. While it is appreciated that patients have options when it comes to their MRI preference, open or standing MRIs do not offer the same image quality as standard high field MRI machines. As we stated previously, MRIs use a magnetic circumference and radio waves in order to compile images. Because an open or standing MRI has an opening in that circumference, the magnetic field is slightly broken and the radio waves are not completely resounding back to the machine. While you can still get relatively useful images, having a standard MRI is really the better option for the best diagnosis.

MRI Myths

All MRI Machines are the Same

Not all MRI machines are the same. Depending on what kind of facility you are having your medical imaging performed at, the machinery used can vary tremendously. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Siemens 3T MRI. This is the most powerful MRI scanning available in clinical use for every part of the body. 3T stands for 3.0 Tesla, a unit of magnetic measurement. And since insurance companies charge based on the exam being done rather than the cost of the equipment being used, you can have the access to the highest quality exams for the same low cost when you have your MRI performed at Doctors Imaging.

MRIs are Only Good for Body Injuries

When you hear about MRIs in the news, you mostly hear about them surrounding professional athlete injuries. That is because MRIs are particularly good at accessing musculoskeletal injuries like soft tissue, ligaments, tendons and the like. But that isn’t all they can do. With advancements happening every day, MRIs are used for numerous reasons: studying mental conditions like bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, for tracking the brains nerve paths, for predicting certain cancers, and so much more. Doctors Imaging now offers advanced brain imaging for concussion patients with lingering problems after their injury. Not is MRI very safe to use multiple times but the information garnered from MRI scans is s crucial to understanding a variety of diseases and conditions.

So you can see, there is nothing to fear! MRIs are very safe and great for your medical imaging needs. If you have more concerns about  having an MRI performed, feel free to call our offices at 504-883-8111 or take a look at our MRI Service Page for more information. If you would like to schedule an MRI, you can fill out our Request an Appointment form and we will get back to you with scheduling as soon as possible!

Is there a Radiation Related Risk from Medical Imaging Tests?

Medical imaging procedures have come such a long way since the invention of the X-ray. And yet, because of sensational media coverage, many are still afraid to have common imaging procedures performed. Perhaps it is the fear of what can be found, or perhaps folks just don’t like to be poked and prodded. Whatever the reason, ignoring imaging tests that can improve your quality of life is not only unwise, but dangerous. Many worry more about dangers from the testing procedure rather than the possible results to be obtained. One major concern is the amount of radiation used in these imaging procedures and whether the amount has harmful effects on the patient. This article will explore any potential radiation danger with every medical imaging procedure. Discuss with your doctors whether you really need the Xray or CT and if the answer is yes, don’t hesitate. Also ask if there are other tests like ultrasound or MRI that can give the same information.

Ultrasounds are useful in determining the conditions of the internal organs. Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the body’s structures and are also quite painless. Ultrasounds are commonly used in examining an unborn fetus so radiation is never used.  The most uncomfortable aspect of this procedure is the temperature of the ultrasound gel on the skin, which is at its harshest a mild discomfort. An MRI is another imaging procedure that offers no radiation risk. MRIs utilize radio and magnetic waves to produce images, most commonly of the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

X-rays are one of the oldest and most frequently used imaging procedures. They are also one of the most painless procedures used to examine the structural formations of the body, most commonly bone breaks and fractures. X-rays use the lowest doses of radiation possible in order to obtain the clearest image for doctors. Furthermore, facilities which use digital X-rays (which our facility uses exclusively) rather than the traditional X-rays use 80-90% less radiation.

On average, Americans are annually exposed to 3.1 mSv or millisieverts of radiation from various sources like naturally occurring elements and even some fruits and vegetables. Some imaging procedures that contain more than the national average are CT-Scans or computed tomography and PET-CT scans or positron emission tomography. CT scans utilize radiation in concert with computer technology in order to create images of the body.  CT-scans are primarily used for examining the various tissues of the body, especially the chest and abdomen. While the radiation exposure from this procedure is higher than average, not having the procedure could be more harmful to you if you have a family history of cancer or a lifestyle that promotes it. PET-CT scans are a branch of nuclear medicine that uses a higher than average amount of radiation in order to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissues.

The amount of radiation present during these procedures can vary based on the size of the patient or the location of the examined area. The most important aspect to remember when having these imaging procedures performed is that our doctors and technicians will use the lowest possible dosage in order to produce the clearest image. These procedures are designed to be safe enough to perform on children and pregnant women so that no one has to go without a proper diagnosis. Speaking to your doctor or technician about your fears and concerns can help you to become a more informed patient as well as helping your doctors to give you the best quality of care and medical diagnosis possible.

Looking to talk to an imaging expert in the Greater New Orleans or Metairie area? We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Call 504-883-8111 to schedule an appointment, or do it online by clicking here.