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Your Health

Medical Imaging: For The Picture Of Health

Posted: 1/11/2013

maging scans can eliminate exploratory surgeries, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and shorten hospital stays
Imaging scans can eliminate exploratory surgeries, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and shorten hospital stays.

(NAPSI)—Advances in medical imaging science and technology help people in two ways: One, doctors can now diagnose and treat many more conditions. Two, they make the process easier—and less expensive—for patients because they’re noninvasive.

“Medical imaging saves lives,” says George S. Bisset III, M.D., a pediatric radiologist and president of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), “as well as resources and time. Imaging exams generally cost less than the invasive surgeries that they replace and can be used to diagnose illnesses early, when they can be treated most effectively and inexpensively.”

For example, the breast cancer death rate has dropped more than 30 percent since mammography use became widespread. Ongoing radiologic research is working toward similar successes and technological advances in other conditions.

“Millions of people worldwide are alive and many more are enjoying a greater quality of life today because of advances in radiation therapy to treat many of the world’s deadliest cancers,” says Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR, a radiologist and chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Board of Chancellors. Dr. Ellenbogen calls radiology “one of the most successful technological and professional advancements in the history of modern health care.”

He’s not alone in this opinion. The New England Journal of Medicine named imaging among the top 10 medical advances of the past 1,000 years, while the National Bureau of Economic Research directly linked access to medical imaging to greater life expectancy.

To help more people realize the benefits of radiology, the first International Day of Radiology, November 8, 2012, is sponsored by the RSNA, the ACR and the European Society of Radiology.

The RSNA and ACR also co-sponsor www.RadiologyInfo.org, a website where you can learn about radiology procedures, treatments, patient safety, benefits, risks and more. Patients can find out about imaging exams, how to prepare for a scan, relative dose levels used in various types of radiology procedures and other helpful information.

The site can help answer such questions as: Is it safe for my child to have X-rays? What are contrast materials and how do they work? Which imaging studies use anesthesia? How will the scan improve care? At the website, you can type in a condition or symptom, get a brief, simple description and read how imaging is used. To ensure accuracy, the site is reviewed by radiology professionals every year.

A glossary of medical terms explained in easy-to-understand language, a Patient Safety section with information and videos on radiation, pediatric-specific content indicated with teddy bear icons, videos and much more can also be found there.

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