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A Information to Medical Imaging for Girls

Medically reviewed by Barry D. Pressman, M.D., Chair of the Division of Imaging at Cedars-Sinai

Medical imaging is utilized by healthcare suppliers (HCPs) to view the physique and collect info to diagnose and deal with medical situations. Understanding the several types of medical imaging will help you recognize what to anticipate.


X-rays use radiation to rapidly and painlessly create photographs of constructions inside your physique. They’re generally used to diagnose bone issues, breast most cancers and infections.

  • One sort of X-ray known as a bone density take a look at (DEXA scan) measures the mineral content material of your bones to see how robust they’re. It’s used to examine for low bone mass (osteopenia) and weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis).
  • One other sort of X-ray, a mammogram, is breast imaging that’s used to detect breast most cancers.
    • Routine mammograms carried out to examine for breast most cancers are known as screening mammograms.
    • Mammograms carried out as a result of a girl is displaying indicators of breast most cancers, or after suspicious outcomes on a screening mammogram, are known as diagnostic mammograms.

What to anticipate:

Relying on the kind of X-ray, you’ll be requested to lie down or stand nonetheless, and probably change positions, whereas the machine takes the photographs. Try to be achieved in 10 to fifteen minutes.

Undecided what to anticipate throughout your first mammogram? Watch “Your First Mammogram: A Step-by-Step Information” >>

Suggestions and methods:

  • Put on unfastened clothes, and don’t put on something with buckles, buttons or zippers. Metallic can intervene with the take a look at outcomes.
  • Don’t schedule a mammogram through the week earlier than your interval. It may be more durable to get a superb image in case your breasts are swollen, and your breasts could also be extra delicate right now.
  • When moving into for a mammogram, don’t put on deodorant, antiperspirant, powders, lotions or fragrance below your arms or round your breasts as a result of they might present up as white spots on the X-ray.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

MRIs use magnetic waves to create detailed photographs of organs and tissue. They can be utilized to diagnose stroke and blood vessel points, spinal twine issues, tumors, a number of sclerosis (MS), aneurysms, joint accidents, and extra.

What to anticipate:

You’ll be requested to take away all of your garments and placed on a hospital robe. Then, you’ll lie on a desk that slides right into a tunnel-like MRI machine, which can make loud noises because the magnets work. An MRI often takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Suggestions and methods:

  • Speak to your HCP about choices for serving to you chill out throughout your MRI, resembling soothing music or a sleep masks.
  • Some assessments require you to be confined in a small area. Speak to your HCP about your choices when you have any issues about claustrophobia.
  • You can not have any metallic within the room with you, since an MRI is a big magnet. You’ll want to alert the technician when you have any metallic in your physique.

PET scan

PET scans present how organs and tissues are functioning. Present process a PET scan entails inhaling, swallowing or getting a shot of radioactive drugs (known as a tracer) so a machine can learn the radiation these tracers give off. PET scans are sometimes used to diagnose most cancers, coronary heart issues, Alzheimer’s illness, epilepsy and Parkinson’s illness.

What to anticipate:

After being given the tracer, you’ll lie on a desk that slides right into a donut-shaped scanner. The complete course of will take round two hours.

Suggestions and methods:

  • You received’t be allowed to eat or drink for six hours earlier than your PET scan (besides plain water with nothing added).
  • In the event you’re breastfeeding, you won’t be able to breastfeed for twenty-four hours after getting your tracer due to the publicity to radiation.

CT scan

Computerized tomography, or CT scans, use many X-ray photographs to create a cross-section of physique elements, resembling bones, blood vessels and delicate tissues. CT scans are generally used to evaluate traumatic accidents, fractures, tumors, infections, coronary heart issues, most cancers and extra.

What to anticipate:

You’ll lie on a desk that slides right into a donut-shaped scanner, the place an X-ray tube will rotate round you whereas taking photographs. CT scans are often fast, lasting solely about 10 to fifteen minutes.

Suggestions and methods:

  • You may most likely maintain your individual garments on so long as you keep away from sporting clothes with metallic zippers or snaps. (Depart jewellery at dwelling, together with metallic piercings.)
  • Keep away from consuming and ingesting for 4 hours earlier than your CT scan.


Ultrasounds use sound waves to seize photographs of constructions within the physique. Along with serving to monitor being pregnant, ultrasounds can be utilized to diagnose gallbladder illness, breast lumps, swollen joints, genital points and extra.

  • One sort of ultrasound, a transvaginal ultrasound, entails inserting the imaging system (known as a transducer) into the vagina. This enables HCPs to see the organs inside your pelvic cavity, together with your cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Throughout being pregnant, transvaginal ultrasounds are widespread through the first trimester (the primary 12 weeks). After that, your HCP will doubtless need to do not less than one stomach ultrasound (additionally known as a sonogram) to examine your child’s growth.

What to anticipate:

An ultrasound technician will apply gel to your pores and skin, then transfer the transducer round to create photographs of what’s occurring inside your physique. The ultrasound will most likely final half-hour to at least one hour.

Suggestions and methods:

  • For some forms of ultrasounds, you could be requested to not eat or drink earlier than the process.
  • For an ultrasound throughout being pregnant, you’ll doubtless want to indicate as much as your appointment with a full bladder to assist the technician get a greater view of your child.

When you have questions on healthcare imaging, discuss to your HCP.

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