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Diagnostic imaging exams explained

Ever wonder why your doctor recommended that you see a radiologist to get a diagnostic imaging exam? Providers order these procedures whenever they want to understand better what is happening inside a patient’s body—without doing surgery.

If your physician thinks that you might have a specific condition, disease, or injury, sometimes they can use your imaging results to strengthen their diagnosis. With this added information, your care team can provide a more personalized treatment plan to help you.

Doctor using ipad to look at medical imaging exam results

The type of imaging exam that most people are familiar with is an X-ray, but there are many other varieties, and each is used for different purposes.

Read on to find out more about X-rays and other common types of imaging exams. Plus, learn the typical reasons why doctors order them.


X-rays use a form of radiation that uses a wavelength to show bones and teeth, aka the hard or solid parts of your body.

Your provider may recommend an X-ray to safely detect if you have an injury, abnormal growth, or tumor.

Did you know ... Wilhelm Röntgen discovered what we now call X-rays on November 8, 1895? His finding revolutionized the world of medicine and earned him the very first Nobel Prize in Physics.

CT scans

CT scans, or computer tomography scans, amplify the power of X-rays to build cross-sectional pictures from inside your body. They provide an unobstructed view of organs and other things that standard X-rays won’t detect.

Your physician may recommend a CT scan to diagnose conditions such as bone and muscle disorders or to pinpoint the location of a suspected blood clot, infection, or tumor.


MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a technology that helps doctors view what’s happening inside a joint or ligament. Instead of radiation, MRIs use radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create images from inside the body that X-rays and CT scans can’t visualize.

Your care team may order an MRI if X-ray or CT scan results don’t provide enough information about your possible condition, injury, or disease. They can be used to spot tumors or signs of multiple sclerosis, stroke, developmental anomalies, infection, traumatic brain injury, and even the cause of headaches.


Mammography is a type of X-ray used specifically to exam breasts. As part of your breast health care routine, your provider will use this form of imaging to check for any abnormal growths that are too small or too deep to be noticed during normal breast self-exams.


Ultrasounds are a done using a handheld device that transmits sound waves conducted through a gel placed on your body. These bounce back and forth, creating 3D pictures from inside your body. These images are called sonograms.

Most of the time, doctors use ultrasounds to view a baby in a mom-to-be’s womb.

Why choose the imaging exam experts at Logansport Memorial Hospital

Technology is ever-evolving, but you don’t have to travel to a big city to get the best diagnostic imaging exams.

Right here—close-to-home at Logansport Memorial Hospital—our experienced, board-certified radiologists use state-of-the-art equipment to provide cutting-edge imaging exams that can help your doctor detect conditions early.

Although most exams are performed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., we offer flexible, convenient scheduling. If you need to plan your visit outside of normal hours, let us know. Our team work with you to meet your needs.

Learn more about our medical imaging services

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TOPICS: General surgery, Health