Fort Myers Imaging & Radiology
What is Radiology?
Radiology is an aspect of medicine that examines and treats patients using imaging technology. There are two basic areas of radiology namely; diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology. This article will be discussing exclusively on the diagnostic aspect of radiology.
Diagnostic radiology is the critical examination and interpretation of structural images of the body. This is an important field of medicine that uses imaging exams such as computed tomography, x-trays, fluoroscopy, mammography, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and ultrasound to diagnose diseases, malfunctions, and injuries of the body.
What Conditions Can Diagnostic Imaging Diagnose?
Diagnostic radiology has been helpful in diagnosing different health issues which includes:
- Cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and bone cancer
- Heart diseases
- Bone fractures
- Neurological disorder
Cancer is an abnormal cell growth that has the potential to affect and spread to other parts of the body. Because of the nature of cancer, laboratory test alone is not enough for diagnosing it. Imaging compliments lab test in cancer diagnosis and treatment. It helps to know the level of cancer, how far it has spread and also to check the efficacy of the treatment. An imaging test could be used for cancer in many ways such as
- Imaging can be employed to detect cancer in its early stage while it’s still small and yet to spread to other parts of a person’s body with the individual showing no signs relating to cancer. This may be called early detection or cancer screening tests.
- If a person shows some signs which indicate the presence of a tumor, imagining test can then be used to find the lump. They can also help find out if the symptoms are caused by cancer or by some other type of disease.
- Sometimes, Imaging helps predict if a tumor is likely to be cancerous or not. This can assist health care providers to determine if a biopsy is required. (In a biopsy, a little portion of the tissue is taken out and carefully observed under the microscope.) A biopsy is virtually required so as to be convinced that a change is cancer.
- They are also used to locate the tumor, even its located far in the inner parts of the body. This helps if a biopsy is required.
- They can help find out the stage of cancer (figure out if and/or how far cancer has spread).
- They can be used to strategize and adjust treatments, like indicating where radiation therapy beams are required to be more concentrated.
- They can show if a tumor has reduced in size, remained as it was, or grown larger even after treatment. This gives cancer care team an idea of how effective the treatment is.
- They also help to discover the reoccurrence of cancer even after being treatment.
NOTE: Many different kinds of scans are used to get images of what’s happening inside the body depending on the type of cancer found.
Bone is a framework that supports the body. It makes up the skeletal system. Bones are mostly hollow that is, they have a hole within them. Cartilages sometimes develop to bone then the body covers them up with calcium to make them strong and hard. Bone has two types of cells namely; osteoblast and osteoclast. Osteoblast forms new bone cells, and osteoclast gets rid of the old bone. Hollow in the bones contain marrows, plasma cells, fibroblast, reticuloendothelial cells and blood generating cells. Blood generating cells can produce red blood cell (erythrocyte), white blood cell (lymphocyte), and blood platelets.
Bone cancer is a health situation whereby, there is a malignant growth in the bone cell. Cancer is mostly called a mad and uncontrollable growth of tissue. Bone cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that starts in the bone. Some Cancer starts in a particular tissue and spreads to others. These are called metastatic cancer. Advanced cancer in the breast, lung, and prostate do develop to metastatic cancer. Cancers are named by where they originate from, therefore; bone cancer originates from bone tissue. Sometimes, bone cancer originates from bone marrow (multiple myelomas). Leukemia originates from bone marrow but it is regarded as blood cancer instead of bone cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Bone Cancer
These are the general common signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Some bone cancers do not exhibit early visible signs but it is advisable to visit your doctor and radiologist for any discomfort in your bones and body.
- Swelling of the affected area
- Weight loss
Possible Causes of Bone Cancer
The actual causes of bone cancer are unknown but there are certain risk factors that can contribute to the development of bone cancer. These are enumerated bellow;
- Radiation therapy
- Mutation in gene
- Using alkylating agents drug in chemotherapy
- It can be hereditary such as hereditary retinoblastoma
- Treatment of bone fracture using metal implantation
Bone cancer is classified into two:
Primary bone cancer starts and originates from the bone cell. This can either be a benign bone tumor or malignant bone tumor. A benign tumor doesn’t spread to other cell and it develops due to trauma, infections, inflammations, and neoplastic which is abnormal cell growth. The benign tumor occurs in the following;
Osteosarcoma, Osteoid Osteoma, chondrosarcoma, Osteoblastoma, enchondroma, and fibrous dysplasia of bone.
Osteosarcoma occurs in the osteoid cell in the bone. This tumor commonly occurs in the arm and knee.
This tumor occurs in the cartilage. Cartilage is found at the end of bones and in joints.
Ewing Sarcoma is cancer which is very common amongst children within the range of 5-15years of age. It originates from the primitive nerve tissue and occurs in the soft tissues or bone located in the long bone of the arm and leg.
Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma
This is otherwise known as Pleomorphic sarcoma. This cancer can be found anywhere in the body, it originates from soft tissue, not bone so it is typically not regarded as bone cancer but they sometimes arise from the bone and spread to other tissue of the body.
Secondary bone cancer does not start in the bone cells, they spread from other cells to the bone.
Diagnoses of Bone Cancer
Physical examinations, laboratory and diagnostic test are performed to detect the presence of cancer or to check the development and response to treatment. Imaging radiology is used to diagnose bone cancer effectively. Tests and examinations to diagnose bone cancer are as follows;
- Computed tomography
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Positron emission tomography
- Blood test
Heart failure is a clinical syndrome in which the heart fails in its duty to pump blood at the rate which is required by the metabolizing tissues or in which the heart can do so only with an elevation in filling pressure.
Cardiovascular radiology uses imaging techniques to diagnose diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans, x-rays, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography, nuclear medicine scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose heart and blood vessel (vascular) disease. Using all these diagnostic tests, heart disease or other blood vessels diseases can be screened, causes of symptoms can be determined, the disease can be carefully monitored and checked if treatment is working.
Bone is living, growing tissue that constitutes part of the vertebral skeleton. Bones support and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals and also enable mobility.
Bone fracture is a break in the bone. If the broken bone punctures the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture. There are 4 anatomical kinds of bones, which are; short, long, irregular and flat bones. The type of bone fracture is determined by the kinds of bone and the direction of the fracture line.
Basic Techniques in Imaging Radiology
Imaging radiology requires series of methods and operations. Such operations are listed and explained bellow.
X-ray is a highly powered light used to penetrate object or body placed under it to show the inner structure without cutting or making an incision. X-ray is used to diagnose, check, and treat different health issues.
Examples of medical tests that require X-ray:
- Gastrointestinal track test using barium enema
- Bone fracture
- Heart and blood vessels problems
- Lung problems
Note: Visit your doctor or radiologist for advice before going for any X-ray and radiology process. Radiology involves the use of radiation, so doctor and radiologist’s advice should be strictly adhered to.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI is a scanner that forms pictures of the inner structure of a body using strong radio waves and magnetic fields. MRI is preferable to X-ray because it does not use ionic radiation to operate. MRI is widely used in medical imaging to diagnose and manage these health issues:
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Liver disease
- Musculoskeletal disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological cancers
MRI is very useful in medical imaging but caution should be taken and doctor’s directory should be followed.
This is a specialized radiology that deals with the diagnosis of the abnormalities in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, head, neck and spinal cord using imaging and radiology techniques.