What are the different types of radiology equipment?

People who work in the field of radiology operate different types of radiology equipment for the purpose of viewing and taking pictures of the inside of the human body. X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are among those used in radiology. This equipment can be important in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of injuries and conditions. For example, x-rays can be used to diagnose bone fractures and certain lung problems.

One of the most familiar types of radiology equipment is the x-ray machine. An x-ray machine uses x-rays, which are a type of electromagnetic radiation, to produce images of the inside of a person's body. X-ray machines send photons, which are X-ray particles, through a person's body, and special film captures the images. People often get x-rays during routine dental exams, but this technology is also used to give doctors a view of many different parts of the body.

A CAT scanner is another type of radiology equipment that allows doctors to see inside a person's body. CAT scanning equipment produces cross-sectional images of the area under examination, which can be viewed on a special computer monitor or printed for later use and analysis. CT scans are often used instead of X-rays when a medical professional needs to obtain clearer images of a patient's organs, bones, and even blood vessels. These tests provide more detailed images than x-rays.

CT scans work in a similar way to x-rays. With this procedure, many x-rays rotate around the patient along with special electronic detectors. Although these detectors measure the amount of radiation absorbed by the person's body, the exam table moves within the scanner to ensure that the required images are obtained. A computer takes the data produced by the scanner and creates cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.

An MRI machine is another important piece of radiology equipment. This type of machine uses a magnetic field, rather than radiation, to take pictures of the inside of a person's body. With this machine, an electrical current and coils of wire are used to produce a magnetic current. The magnetic field stimulates the water molecules to line up, and the radio waves cause them to emit signals. These radio waves are sent to a computer that processes the images that create the signals.

The high-resolution images produced by this machine present views of a thin portion of the area under examination. This machine is often used to view parts of the body that are more difficult to assess with other types of images. For example, an MRI machine is better at capturing images of the spinal cord than X-ray and CT machines.

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