What is Medical Imaging?

What is Medical Imaging?
Career & Course Selection

What is Medical Imaging?


Medical Imaging is a discipline that utilizes techniques and processes to create images of the human body for clinical processes. Some of the prominent applications of medical imaging include radiology, endoscopy, thermography and microscopy. The field of medicine applies this technology for the diagnosis and successful examination of diseases.

As a science, it is considered to be a sub-discipline of biomedical engineering or medical instrumentation and involves the application of procedures such as x-rays, radioisotopes, ultrasound or magnetic fields to produce an image. A CT scan, MRI scan, ultrasound and nuclear medicine are just some of the prominent procedures of medical imaging science. These procedures identify the various body systems and a correct diagnosis of injury or illness can be made.

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen discovered electromagnetic radiation commonly known as x-ray. This development made conventional radiology one of the most widely used medical imaging technique. Gradually, sonar technology (echo detection) was developed in the 1940’s and later on, this technology was adapting to medical imaging to develop ultrasound.

Ultrasound techniques were widely applied in the field of medicine from 1970’s onwards. The 1970’s also saw a great deal of innovation taking place in the medical imaging industry. Positron emission tomography {PET} and x-ray computed tomography (CT) were developed during this period. In the 21st century, medical imaging is dominated by X-ray, Ultrasound, CT and MRI technologies. 

Innovations in other areas of medical imaging are also taking place at a fast pace. Notable among them are thermal imaging, electrical impedance tomography and scanned probe techniques. The research emphasis in the future would is more likely to be in the areas of functional and metabolic information simultaneously with structural image information. 

Students who are interested a career in medical imaging research are required to have a background in physics or in the health sciences, although these are not mandatory. Some of the good programs in MI are conducted by the University of Virginia, the school of medical imaging at the John Hopkins institute.

Interested candidates can search for a good medical imaging program from the following database. 

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The salaries offered in the field are also quite good. An ultrasound technologist can earn in the range of $54,857 to $63,782. A radiology technologist earns in the range of $58,099 to $74,714. Salaries vary according to the skills level and the place of employment. An extensive list on salaries is available here. 


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