7 Types of Imaging Scans and What They are Used For

7 Types of Imaging Scans and What They are Used For

Diagnostic imaging scans are used to help narrow down the causes of an illness or injury, and to ensure the diagnosis is accurate. Here, we will explore the types of imaging scans and what they are used for.


An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a powerful diagnosis tool. This scan uses a strong magnetic field that produces high-quality imagery in multiple directions or planes. Superconducting magnets are used to generate the images, as well as pulsed radio waves. MRI scans have been used for nearly 40 years, with no known side effects.

To take control of your health, a full body MRI can screen for diseases like cancer. Ezra offers a full body MRI scan that can catch potential cancer earlier, which makes it easier to beat. Ezra has saved thousands of people’s lives by serving as an early warning system against problems.


A CT (computed tomography) scan is a sensitive diagnostic tool which uses X-rays to take a variety of 2D cross-sectional images around an axis. CT scans have been used for over 50 years, which can image many injuries and diseases.

The brain is the most performed body part of a CT scan. This is used to establish the cause of a stroke, or to examine serious head injuries. CT scans can also detect abnormalities in the body, like abscesses and tumors.


A PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) is another diagnostic tool that is predominantly used in cardiology, oncology, and neurology. Other areas this imaging scan is used for include inflammation and infection, as well as in organizing surgery and treatment. PET/CT scans involve one scanner which combines two different techniques. This gives the clinician two accounts of related information about the body (structural and functional) in one singular examination.

PET works by using a scanning device that detects gamma rays. The CT scanner takes a multitude of 2D cross-section images around an axis.


X-ray imaging is a diagnostic tool that has been used for many decades. This technique produces images of bones, tissues, and organs. An X-ray is a painless and quick procedure which is very effective at detecting a range of conditions. X-rays are commonly performed in hospital X-ray departments by radiographers. However, they can be performed by other healthcare professionals, like dentists.

Problems that can show up on an X-ray include bone breaks and fractures, lung problems like lung cancer and pneumonia, tooth problems like dental abscesses and loose teeth, as well as breast cancer. X-rays can also be used to guide surgeons or doctors during a procedure.


An ultrasound scan (sometimes known as a sonogram) is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of part of the inside of the body. Ultrasound scans can be used for several reasons. These include monitoring an unborn baby, guiding a surgeon through a procedure, or diagnosing a condition.

Ultrasound scans have been used for many years with no known risks. Some parts of the body an ultrasound can examine include the liver, kidney, pelvic, and organs. Ultrasounds are also highly useful in detecting musculoskeletal injuries in joints like the ankle, knee, or shoulder. This scan can also examine blood flow and check for blocked blood vessels.

Bone Densitometry (DEXA)

A DEXA (bone density) scan uses low-dose X-rays that can determine how strong your bones are. Bone density scans are predominantly used to diagnose or monitor your risk of osteoporosis. This is a health condition that can weaken bones and increase the likelihood of them breaking. Bone density scans are quick and painless and are more effective at detecting low bone density when compared to a normal x-ray.

You may need a DEXA scan if you are over 50 and at risk of developing osteoporosis, as well as if you are under 50 with certain risk factors, like smoking or breaking a bone in the past. Bone density scans are considered very safe. This is because they use a much lower amount of radiation than a standard X-ray.


Fluoroscopy is a kind of medical imaging which shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor. This scan can create images in real-time on areas of the body like the joints, muscles, and bones. Fluoroscopy can also be performed on solid organs like the lungs and heart.

Fluoroscopy is very helpful for surgeons when they are performing a surgical procedure. It allows doctors to see moving structures of the body and helps with diagnosing certain diseases. Because this procedure only requires a tiny incision, there are tons of benefits when compared to an invasive surgical procedure, especially as there is a lower risk of infection and shorter recovery period.

The imaging scans above enable your doctor to ‘see’ inside the body and to get an accurate picture of your muscles, organs, bones, nerves, cartilage, and tendons. Imaging scans help your doctor establish whether there are any abnormalities in the body.


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