What do various scans show or not show?
Modern medicine has seen continuing advances in diagnostic scanning over the last 40 years. Collection of facts about symptoms from the patient (medical history), along with physical examination, will always remain the most important factors in making a preliminary diagnosis.
The use of scans helps in establishing the diagnosis along with extent of the condition and has become commonplace in many areas of medicine. Standard X-rays are most useful in showing bone problems and for information about the lung and chest. Ultrasound scans are used to reveal information about soft tissues e.g. a kidney or liver stone, a fluid swelling within the abdomen or pelvis, and increasingly for diagnosing musculoskeletal injuries. CT scans use larger amounts of X-rays to form images and will give very detailed information about bone but also many other areas e.g. brain and other internal organs. MRI scans use magnetism rather than X-ray to form the most detailed images of most soft tissues, so are being increasingly used in diagnosis and staging of all areas of medicine.
Answered by Dr A Wright.
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