More and more, medical advances are cutting down on cutting people open. Improved imaging procedures make diagnostic and even surgical procedures less invasive.
Medical imaging enables a wide range of less-invasive, highly targeted medical therapies that translate into better and more comfortable care for patients. Because they are less invasive, these treatments mean fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and, in many cases, no incisions or surgery.
Physician specialty groups, independent organizations and peer-reviewed journals agree that medical imaging is one of the most important parts of modern medical care. In fact, many renowned medical experts believe that without imaging to guide diagnosis and treatment, patient safety would be compromised and quality of care diminished.
Doctors have long used surgery for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes, looking inside a patient to see what’s causing his or her symptoms. Now, improved imaging procedures mean this is often unnecessary, saving patients discomfort, time and money. Here are some of the ways imaging has improved health care:
- Image-guided biopsies allow doctors to remove a small piece of tissue for testing through a tiny incision, while still being able to see exactly what they’re doing.
- CT scans can reduce the need for invasive procedures and additional imaging tests in helping physicians diagnose pulmonary embolism.
- Microcoil stents are used to repair brain aneurysms, reducing a patient’s chance of death by almost a quarter. Placing stents would be impossible without the use of video X-ray imaging technology.
- The preferred therapy for reopening blocked arteries and permitting blood flow to the heart is a procedure called coronary angioplasty. Again, only through the use of imaging technology can doctors see where the blockage is and how to get there.