Types of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy
Medical imaging facilitates the internal aspects of the working human body to produce 2-D and 3-D digital images for clinical examination. These medical imaging modalities aim to assist physicians in the diagnosis and pathology of the disease state. Medical imaging incorporates a broad range of disciplines including radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation physics and tomography. In the clinical setting, medical imaging is implemented by the radiology department and radiologist are responsible for interpreting the images.
Artificial Intelligence is assisting radiologists to evaluate the complex megapixel images obtained from medical imaging modalities such as x-rays, computed tomography scanning, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound scanning, nuclear medicine technology and theranostics.
X-ray computed tomography scanning
The foundation of diagnostic medical imaging modalities derives from X-rays using ionising radiation to generate images of the internal structures of the body. The mode of action involves the attenuation of X-ray beams as they transverse through the body. These devices are used in computed and digital radiography, computed tomography and mammography.
Medical Imaging Modalities include computed tomography scanning of the human body by reconstructing 3-D images from the multiple x-ray projections. These CAT Scans are used in conjunction with other diagnostic imaging tools to help in the diagnosis of disease states.
Nuclear medicine technology
The nuclear medicine technology positron emission tomography (PET) is used to obtain functional information on tissues and organs. PET can be combined with CT imaging to produce a robust diagnostic scanner to enable a trace amount of the radiopharmaceutical to be injected into the patient allowing for the generation of images within the human body. The PET and CT images can be superimposed to evaluate delineation of tumour volumes, staging and personalised treatment plans. Another application of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging is to show how blood flows to tissues and organs.
Radiation Therapy devices utilise X-rays, gamma rays and electron beams including proton beam therapy to treat specific cancers. The non-surgical procedure stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) utilises radiation for the management of brain tumours. The objective of stereotactic radiosurgery is to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumour site in comparison to other radiotherapy treatments.
Theranostics is an emerging field of medicine which combines specific targeted therapy based on individual targeted diagnostic tests. The theranostic approach utilises a personalised and precise approach towards the treatment of the disease state. During the design of theranostic radiopharmaceuticals based on nanoscience, diagnostic imaging with therapeutic applications are united to produce a single target agent. The theranostic imaging approach allows for diagnosis and treatment planning including the development of new drug delivery systems.
MRI and ultrasound scanning
The non-radiation medical imaging techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which utilise radio waves and a strong magnetic field to enable the formation of detailed images of organs and tissues. This powerful medical imaging tool can differentiate between healthy and diseased soft tissues within the body. Also, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) assists in the treatment planning stage for a patient undergoing image-guided surgery (Gamma Knife).
Furthermore, ultrasound scanning also known as ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce internal images of the body. The principle of the ultrasound scanning is to send sound waves into the body converting the returning sound echoes to generate anatomical pictures.
Future of medical imaging
Future developments in the visualisation and modelling of diagnostic imaging will result in early detection of the disease state and contribute to the patient’s treatment plan. This personalised approach will encompass PACS (picture archiving and communication system) image storage and transfer using DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) systems. These systems combine with emerging web technologies to deliver PACS throughout the world to provide access to medical images, interpretations and other related data. In the future, other technological advances will be in ultrasound imaging, image-guided procedures, extending to digital pathology and applications towards biomedical imaging.
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The Journal of Diagnostic Imaging in Therapy publishes open access peer-reviewed research articles, letters, case reports, perspectives, commentaries, mini-reviews and full-length reviews. This is in addition to guest edited issues on all aspects of nuclear medicine, radionuclide therapy, molecular imaging, radiology and radiotherapy including basic research. The published article can be transformed into a friendly search engine optimised SEO blog article to enable the further promotion of the journal article through social media platforms.