What’s the Difference Between X-rays, CT Scans, and Ultrasounds?
Have you ever broken a bone playing sports, gotten into an automobile accident, or slipped and had a hard fall? If so, your doctor probably ordered an imaging test.
Medical imaging tests are performed multiple times a day all across the world. They are crucial in helping your doctor understand the full extent of your injury and detect any structural or disease-related changes happening inside your body.
“Knowing what is inside can be a great help to the doctor in diagnosing, treating, or curing diseases,” said Ross Peele, Imaging Supervisor for Iredell Imaging at Mooresville.
There are several different types of medical imaging tests. Your doctor will recommend the right test for you based on the goal of your test, your specific condition, and the part of your body being examined.
Unfortunately, according to Peele, the thought of an imaging test may make some patients feel nervous. To relieve some of this anxiety, it may be helpful to understand more about the different types of medical imaging and what to expect from each.
To help you feel more comfortable and informed, below are some of the imaging services offered at Iredell Imaging at Mooresville and the key differences between them.
Being one of the most commonly used and widely available types of imaging, you may have received an X-ray before. From stomach pain to a twisted ankle, X-rays are very versatile and give doctors a better look at what’s going on inside your body through two-dimensional images.
Iredell Imaging at Mooresville utilizes an Optima XR646 HD digital X-ray system — the newest system General Electric has to offer. It produces quality X-rays with little radiation.
What can I expect from an x-ray?
According to Peele, X-rays at Iredell Imaging only take a few minutes with little to no preparation.
“As you are receiving an X-ray, you can expect to hold still for a short time while we obtain the image. In most cases, there is very little involvement for the patient,” said Peele.
Computed Tomography (CT)
Different than an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans are more sensitive and detailed. They combine a series of X-rays to create cross-sectional images, or “slices,” of a person’s bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels.
“You may need a CT for a number of reasons. These could include finding a reason for a persistent cough or ruling out a stroke. It all depends on what your doctor thinks is best for your treatment,” said Peele.
Iredell Imaging has a 64-Slice Revolution CT Scanner. This state-of-the-art technology produces fast and optimal images at the lowest radiation dose possible.
What can I expect from a CT scan?
A CT unit is a large machine with a round hole through the center, and scans are usually painless and noninvasive.
When receiving a CT, you can expect to lay on a small table for a few minutes while the machine scans sections of your body and captures images. You may also have to hold your breath for a few seconds since even the slightest movement can blur the image.
Depending on the study requested by your doctor, your test may include a contrast agent, or dye, to highlight specific areas inside your body. These may be given by mouth as a drink or injected into your vein.
Unlike CT scans and X-rays, ultrasounds do not produce radiation. Instead, they use high-frequency sound waves to create live images of working structures in your body.
“Ultrasounds can be used to monitor a fetus during pregnancy or to find a blood clot in your legs, among other reasons,” said Peele.
Iredell Imaging at Mooresville’s ultrasound machine, the LOGIQ E10, uses new artificial intelligence-based tools to produce fast, precise, and high-quality images.
What can I expect from an ultrasound?
During an ultrasound, you can expect to lay on an exam table while the radiology technologist uses a probe to scan the area. It is painless and usually takes no more than 30 minutes.
Iredell Imaging at Mooresville is located at 653 Bluefield Road in Mooresville. In addition to X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds, Iredell Imaging at Mooresville also provides 3D mammography services.
If you would like to receive your imaging studies at Iredell Imaging at Mooresville, please speak with your physician about a referral. To learn more, call the imaging center at 704-360-6460.
Pictured: The CT Scanner at Iredell Imaging at Mooresville.