Radiography, or an X-ray, as it is most commonly known, is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. Discovered more than a century ago, X-rays can produce diagnostic images of the human body on film or digitally on a computer screen when we use low-dose digital X-rays. X-ray imaging is the fastest, easiest way for a physician to view and assess broken bones, such as skull fractures and spinal injuries. We take at least two images, from different angles, and often three images if the problem is around a joint: knee, elbow or wrist. In addition, X-rays play a key role in guiding orthopedic surgery and in the treatment of sports-related injuries. X-rays may uncover more advanced forms of cancer in bones, although early screening for cancer findings requires other methods.
Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs and enable physicians to see blood flow and heart valve functions. This can help us diagnose a variety of heart conditions and assess damage after a heart attack or other illness.