What is medical imaging?
Medical imaging is the visualization of body parts, tissues, or organs, for use in clinical diagnosis, treatment and disease monitoring. Imaging techniques encompass the fields of radiology, nuclear medicine and optical imaging and image-guided intervention.
Radiological methods provide the anatomical and physiological detail of the human body at very high spatial and temporal resolution. Images can be enhanced by the use of contrast agents. This discipline covers methods such as ultrasound, CT, X-ray and MRI.
Nuclear imaging techniques such as PET and SPECT display remarkable detail in the body’s physiology, metabolism and molecular function through the use of radioactive tracers.
Optical imaging techniques such as Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) can display real-time structural and functional information of most hollow organs at the cellular level. The high resolution of these images can reveal abnormalities, for example by using optical tracers specific for tumor cells. This technique is still in early stages of development.