Patient Education

Imaging Terms

Diagnostic Imaging at Southern Regional

Southern Regional is dedicated to making sure our patients understand more about healthcare. Here are some commonly-used terms to help you learn about diagnostic imaging procedures.

  • Mammography/Mammogram - A type of X-ray using a low dose of X-ray and high-contrast, high-resolution film that is used to detect breast cancer.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) - Provides high-contrast images of soft tissue. It is used to image the brain, the spine, injured joints, blood vessels and organs in the abdomen and pelvis.
  • X-rays - There are two main types of X-rays. A radiographic X-ray is when a still image is made of a bone or organ. A fluoroscopic x-ray is when a moving image of an organ is viewed on a TV screen or computer monitor.
  • CT or CAT scan (computed tomography) - Combines the use of a computer with an X-ray to create cross-sectional images of bone, soft tissue and organs.
  • Ultrasound - Relatively inexpensive and radiation-free, this method is used to monitor fetal development, as well as to evaluate kidneys, liver, pancreas and blood vessels in the neck and abdomen.
  • DEXA scanning (bone mineral density) - Involves taking dual-energy X-rays of bones in the spine, wrist, arm or leg and comparing the bone density to historical data to determine whether the patient has osteoporosis and to what degree.
  • Nuclear medicine - Shows the anatomy and function of organs and enables faster diagnosis of some diseases and medical conditions.