Work in a High Tech Medical Imaging Job
Medical imaging technology, in its many forms, plays an increasingly important role in 21st century health care delivery. Individuals with the knowledge and skills required to perform diagnostic imaging procedures are already in high demand and this should only increase over the next few decades.
The modern miracle of the X-Ray machine, which first came into practical use a little over 100 years ago, started a new field of medicine called medical imaging. This involves the use medical equipment to see into the body without having to resort to invasive procedures. In more recent years, major advances have been made in medical imaging and its related fields and as a result, the field of Medical Imaging Technology has taken-off.
Medical Imaging Career Options
“Medical Imaging” sometimes called Radiology actually covers several different specialties. These utilize a wide range of methods and technologies that can help aid physicians and other medical personnel in making diagnoses and developing treatment options. Medical imaging professionals take a different career path than more traditional medical personnel such doctors and nurses. Imaging professionals will work closely with patients but also handle complex, high-tech, computer contolled imaging equipment. The images created by this technology must be studied and analyzed and will help determine patient treatment. This role, the medical imaging technologist, is very important in the process of providing quality patient care. Some common career paths in medical imaging technology include:
Despite more advanced forms of Medical Imaging, Radiography is still of great value to the medical field. Radiography is a profession in which diagnostic medical images are made using X-Rays and other radiations. The technologist, called a radiographer, may work independently or with a physician to create images in the areas of computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), mammography, cardiovascular interventional technology (CIT) and other areas.
Nuclear Medicine utilizes radiopharmaceuticals, special cameras called “scintillation” cameras and computers to make images. These are used to quantify various physiologic processes occurring throughout the body. The Nuclear Medicine Technologist administers radiopharmaceuticals to patients, positions them for images and operates the cameras and computers to produce images and analyze the data provided by those images.
Used primarily in the treatment of cancer, radiation therapy directs radiations at diseased tissues in strictly controlled circumstances to help cure or relieve the symptoms of the disease. The Radiation Therapist works closely with the patient, positioning them for treatment. They then performs mathematical calculations of radiation dosage and operate a variety of different equipment that produces ionizing radiation.
Ultrasound Sonography utilizes equipment that generates a high frequency sound waves to produce images of the human body. Using this medical imaging procedure, the sonographer gathers data for interpretation and evaluation by the physicians. This medical imaging profession includes: abdominal sonography, neurosonography, echocardiography, obstetrical and pelvic sonography, and vascular technology.
Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography (CT), sometimes referred to as a CAT scan, uses special x-ray equipment to obtain many images from different angles. These images are the joined together to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs. CT scanning provides much more detailed information then traditional X-Rays. This can be especially useful for head injuries, stroke, brain tumors and other diseases of the brain. The CT process can also can show bone, soft tissues and blood vessels in the same images.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio frequency (RF) waves and a strong magnetic field to provide remarkably clear and detailed pictures of the internal workings of the body, including organs and tissues. MRI technology has proven very valuable for the diagnosis of a broad range of conditions in all parts of the body, including cancer, heart, vascular disease, stroke, and also joint and musculoskeletal disorders.
Education and Training
Most careers in the field of Medical Imaging will usually require at least a two-year associates degree. Education and training can be found at junior colleges, community colleges and technical schools. After graduation and some work experience, most technologies will become certified within their profession.
If you are technology oriented, like working in a team environment and want to make a difference in the lives of others, a career in the medical imaging field might be right for you. This area of the medical industry offers exciting growth potential over the next decade and beyond.