The basic diagnostic tool is an X-ray examination. X-ray imaging is a diagnostic test also known as radiography, X-ray photography or just X-ray. It is an imaging test yielding a two-dimensional image. It involves irradiation of a selected body region with a Roentgen radiation beam. X-rays are produced by a device called an X-ray tube; they partially pass through the patient’s body and fall on an X-ray film, which is a type of a photographic film sensitive to X-rays. The image is created due to the fact that various tissues absorb the Roentgen radiation, also called X-radiation, to a varying degree.
No special preparations are required before the X-ray examination. The course of examination involves an appropriate position of the X-rayed body part.
The examination is completely painless and lasts short.
Magnetic resonance, also called MR or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), is one of the imaging diagnostics techniques widely used in medicine. Magnetic resonance is a non-invasive method for examination of all internal anatomical structures of the body (bones, soft tissues, brain, heart, skeletal system).
Magnetic resonance imaging is a painless examination. Depending on the examined region, the procedure lasts approximately from 15 to 45 minutes. The need to lay in a still position inside a scanning apparatus may be a discomfort, especially for those with claustrophobia. The patient is being watched over by a medical personnel and has a continuous contact with them. The examination should be performed in fasting conditions – the patient should not eat or drink for four hours before the examination. Regular medications or insulin are not contraindications for this examination and may be taken as usual. In some cases, a contrasting agent is administered before the MR examination.
A computed tomography examination consists of acquiring several images with the use of X-rays. The X-ray tube moves around the area of particular regions of the patient’s body, emitting radiation. This allows for the acquisition of many images in various planes and layers. The acquired image is then transferred to a computer with specialist software. The patient’s body parts may be visualized by 2D or 3D technique.
It is worth noting that the patient must remain still during the computed tomography examination. Otherwise, the artefacts caused may impact the appropriate assessment and thus the examination result.
For the CT scan to be performed correctly, appropriate preparations must be made. Patients undergoing tomography scanning should eat the last meal at least six hours before the examination. What is more, the day before the tomography scanning the patient should drink large amounts of fluids. For the examination, the patient should bring current test results, including results of the previous tomography examinations.
The examination itself doesn’t last long – most often 10–15 minutes.