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Atlas Imagistica - Medical Terminology Glossary

Discover the medical terms used in radiology and medical imaging

A

  • Angiography

    Angiography is an essential imaging technique for examining blood vessels. The procedure involves injecting an iodinated contrast substance directly into the vascular system, followed by the rapid capture of radiological or CT images. This method is commonly used to identify abnormalities such as aneurysms, stenoses, or occlusions in arteries and veins, providing vital data for planning surgical interventions or evaluating the risk of heart attack or stroke.

  • Arthrography

    Arthrography uses contrast substances injected into joints to obtain detailed images of internal structures, such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It is often used in cases where patients present with unexplained joint pain or symptoms of soft tissue deterioration, which are not visible on standard x-rays. This procedure can be performed using x-rays, MRI, or CT, depending on the required details.

B

  • Bone Densitometry

    Bone densitometry is a specific technique used to evaluate the mineral density of bones, often for diagnosing osteoporosis or other conditions affecting bone mass. The procedure uses a very low dose of X-rays to measure bone density, especially at the spine and hip, areas susceptible to fractures. It is particularly recommended for postmenopausal women and individuals at risk for osteoporosis.

C

  • Calcification

    Calcifications are deposits of calcium salts that can occur in various body tissues and are often detected through radiologic imaging. They can indicate pathological processes such as chronic inflammation or age-related degenerative changes, but can also be signs of more serious conditions such as vascular diseases or malignant tumors. Standard radiography is frequently used to identify and monitor these calcifications.

  • Contrast, Substance

    Contrast substances are used in radiology to enhance the visibility of internal structures on images. These are often based on iodine or gadolinium and are administered by injection or orally before imaging procedures such as CT, MRI, or angiographies. These substances help in clearly delineating organs, blood vessels, or tumors from surrounding tissues, facilitating a more accurate diagnosis.

  • CT (Computed Tomography)

    Computed tomography is an advanced imaging method that provides detailed images of the body through a combination of X-rays and computer technology. It can provide sectional images of any part of the body, offering vital details about the condition of bones, organs, and other structures. CT is frequently used in emergencies to rapidly diagnose trauma, infections, tumors, and other acute medical conditions.

D

  • Differential Absorption

    Differential absorption is a key principle in radiography that allows differentiation between tissue types based on their ability to absorb X-rays. This enables the identification of tissues with varying densities in radiological images, crucial in diagnosing conditions such as bone fractures, calcifications, or various types of tumors.

  • Digital Radiology

    Digital radiology represents a technological evolution of traditional radiographic methods, allowing for the digital capture and storage of radiological images. It offers significant advantages, such as reduced radiation exposure, improved image quality, and facilitated rapid access and distribution among specialists.

  • Digital Tomosynthesis

    Digital tomosynthesis is an advanced form of mammography that creates three-dimensional images of breast tissue. It improves the detection and characterization of breast lesions, including those that might be hidden in a conventional mammogram. The procedure is particularly valuable in breast cancer screening, especially for women with dense breast tissue.

  • Doppler, Effect

    The Doppler effect is fundamental in Doppler ultrasound, which is used to examine and visualize blood flow in arteries and veins. This technique is valuable for diagnosing conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, arterial insufficiency, and varicose veins. Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to assess the speed and direction of blood flow, helping to detect blockages or narrowing of vessels that could lead to severe complications.

  • Doppler Ultrasonography

    Doppler ultrasonography is a special ultrasound technique that uses the Doppler effect to assess blood circulation through blood vessels, allowing for the detection of flow abnormalities. It is often used to diagnose vascular diseases, including thrombosis, aneurysms, or stenoses, and is essential in planning treatments for these conditions.

F

  • Fluoroscopy

    Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that allows the visualization of internal structures in real time, using X-rays. It is commonly used in medical procedures to guide the placement of catheters, stents, or to assess joint and intestinal motility. It provides a valuable perspective during surgical interventions and is crucial in minimally invasive procedures.

  • Functional MRI (fMRI)

    Functional MRI is an extension of magnetic resonance imaging that measures and maps brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. It is used in neuroscientific research and in the preoperative assessment of patients with brain tumors or epilepsy, providing a detailed map of essential brain functions.

G

  • Gadolinium

    Gadolinium is a contrast agent used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to enhance the visibility of tissues and blood vessels. This contrast agent is particularly useful in detecting brain injuries, tumors, and in assessing inflammatory diseases, as it accumulates in areas with increased vascularization or in pathological tissues.

I

  • Image-guided Biopsy

    Image-guided biopsy is a minimally invasive technique that uses medical imaging to precisely locate the suspicious areas from which tissue samples are taken for pathological analysis. This method is essential in diagnosing cancer, allowing for the sampling of tumors located in difficult-to-access areas, such as the lungs, liver, or lymph nodes, without requiring major surgery.

  • Interventional Radiology

    Interventional radiology is a field where minimally invasive imaging techniques are used to perform various treatments. Procedures range from angioplasties for opening narrowed arteries to embolizations for stopping bleeding. This specialty combines diagnostic imaging expertise with precise therapeutic skills, offering alternatives to traditional surgery for many conditions.

M

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

    Magnetic resonance imaging is a powerful technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs and internal structures, without using X-rays. MRI is extremely useful in diagnosing neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular conditions, providing high-resolution images that can reveal subtle details of soft tissues.

  • Mammography

    Mammography is a specialized radiographic technique for examining breast tissue. Using low doses of X-rays, mammography can detect tumors or calcifications before they are palpable. Mammography is recognized as the gold standard in breast cancer screening, recommended for women over 40 for early detection of the disease.

  • Mammotomy

    Mammotomy is a minimally invasive procedure used for the biopsy of breast lesions under imaging guidance. This type of biopsy is performed with an automated device that extracts multiple tissue samples from a nodule or a suspicious area identified in mammography. It is particularly useful for clarifying the nature of non-palpable lesions, contributing to an early and accurate diagnosis of breast conditions.

N

  • Neuroradiology

    Neuroradiology is a subspecialty of radiology focused on diagnosing and evaluating conditions of the central and peripheral nervous system, using MRI, CT, and angiography. It plays a crucial role in diagnosing conditions such as brain tumors, strokes, and cerebral vascular malformations, providing detailed images that help guide treatment.

O

  • Osteodensitometry

    Osteodensitometry, or the measurement of bone mineral density, is crucial in diagnosing and managing osteoporosis. The procedure uses a special technology, called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), to assess fracture risk. It is particularly recommended for elderly individuals or those with increased risk factors for bone deterioration.

P

  • PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

    PET is an advanced form of nuclear imaging that detects the metabolic activity of cells using radioactive substances called radiotracers. It is extremely valuable in oncology for detecting and monitoring the spread of cancer, as well as in neurology and cardiology for assessing tissue function. PET can provide details about the biological activity of tissues, often before structural changes are visible through other imaging methods.

R

  • Radiographic Plate

    The radiographic plate is an essential element in traditional radiography, where photosensitive films capture images after exposure to X-rays. In the digital era, radiographic plates are often replaced with digital detectors that provide high-quality images and allow for easy data manipulation.

  • Radiography

    Radiography is one of the oldest and most widely used medical imaging methods. Using X-rays, it can provide valuable images of bones, lungs, and other internal structures. It is a rapid and efficient diagnostic tool, frequently used in assessing lung conditions, bone fractures, and other acute medical conditions.

S

  • Scintigraphy

    Scintigraphy is a form of nuclear imaging that uses radioactive isotopes to assess the function of various organs and systems. It is frequently used in diagnosing cardiac, bone, and glandular problems, providing functional images that help identify dysfunctions at the molecular or cellular level.

  • SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)

    SPECT is a nuclear imaging technique that allows for the functional and metabolic visualization of organs. This process involves the injection of radioactive isotopes that emit photons. Special cameras capture these photons, creating three-dimensional images. SPECT is valuable in neurology to assess cerebral blood flow and in cardiology to determine myocardial viability after a heart attack.

T

  • TAC (Computed Axial Tomography)

    TAC, also known as axial CT scanning, is a specialized form of CT in which images are obtained in axial planes of the body. It is extremely useful in quickly detecting injuries in cases of severe trauma and is often used in emergency rooms for the immediate assessment of patients with critical injuries.

  • Teleradiology

    Teleradiology allows for the digital transmission of radiological images, such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI, from one location to another, for remote diagnosis and consultation. This facilitates access to radiological expertise in rural or isolated areas and allows for more efficient resource management within large health networks, optimizing diagnostic response time.

U

  • Ultrasound

    Ultrasound is a non-invasive, radiation-free imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and internal structures. It is frequently used in obstetrics for monitoring fetal development, as well as in diagnosing conditions in the abdomen, such as liver, kidney, or gallbladder issues. Ultrasound is also valuable for precise guidance in biopsy procedures.

  • Ultrasound 3D/4D

    3D ultrasound provides detailed three-dimensional images, while 4D ultrasound adds the element of time, offering moving images. These advanced technologies are commonly used in obstetrics to provide detailed images of the fetus, as well as in the complex study of organs to assess structural abnormalities or tumors. 3D and 4D ultrasounds are also useful in surgical planning and complex diagnostic procedures.

V

  • Videofluoroscopy

    Videofluoroscopy is a fluoroscopy technique used to study how liquids and foods move through the pharynx and esophagus. It is predominantly used in evaluating patients with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and other swallowing disorders. This test provides valuable real-time images that assist in diagnosing conditions affecting swallowing function and in planning appropriate therapeutic interventions.