What Scan Is Used For Lungs: The 4 Major Modalities?

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What Scan Is Used For Lungs: The 4 Major Modalities?

What Scan Is Used For Lungs: The 4 Major Modalities! 

There lay four imaging studies to prominently arise with the question – What scan is used for lungs? The four scans are CT scan or Computed Tomography, Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.

While a chest CT is superior in identifying injuries and bleeding, an MRI is more accurate in detecting abnormalities in the soft tissues. Similarly, an ultrasound is a real-time imaging method to diagnose your baby’s lungs; and yours in case you have an underlying cardiovascular problem! Whereas a PET scan gets used for the lungs to screen cellular activities and measure the metabolic rate.

If you want to see when your doctor is likely to recommend either of these lung scans, why hesitate to read?

Chest CT (Computed Tomography): The Primary Option; The Gold-Standard For Emergencies!

A lung or chest CT is an imaging study where healthcare experts screen your lungs and the surrounding through a machine holding many x-ray beams. This process helps doctors fetch images from multiple angles; of the entire anatomical structure precisely!

Well, CTs are quick and non-invasive processes! They are available outpatient in healthcare centers.

Doctors use CT scans to diagnose congenital (birth) defects in the lungs, and interstitial lung disease, i.e., a group of diseases affecting your lungs simultaneously. CT scans can reveal tumor growth, differentiate between benign and malignant tumors, and examine the size, shape, and location.

Advancement in CT technique enables them to use a low-cost CT to detect lung cancer at its early stage. This technique is way more accurate than conventional CTs! Your doctors also use CTs to plan radiation therapy and check cancer treatment responses.

A CT scan can help your doctor examine lung conditions like tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, bronchitis, or other lung infections. It can even help your doctor identify cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder where thick sticky mucus damages your lungs.

A CT scan can show blocked blood flow to your lungs, enlarged lymph nodes, narrowed or inflamed blood vessels, blood clots, and many more.

Chest Ultrasound (US) – For Safety, For Fetal Lung Checkup!

Undoubtedly, CTs are a superior modality for lung screening. But it is not always for all! Similar to X-rays, CT scans involve radiation. Such exposure can be harmful to your health and create other health complications, especially when pregnant or below 18. That is where chest ultrasound becomes more relevant and prevalent!

A chest ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize your or your baby’s lungs in detail. It is minimally invasive but painless! It requires no hospital stay!

Chest or lung ultrasounds can diagnose pneumonia, asthma, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, i.e., the inflammation obstructing airflow from the lungs. Few medical research shows that a chest ultrasound is 93.4% sensitive and 97.7% specific in diagnosing community-acquired pneumonia.

An ultrasound can locate pulmonary embolism (blood clots obstructing blood supply to the lungs). It can show a collapsed lung ( what doctors call pneumothorax). It can show whether any abnormal, excessive fluid buildup exists in your lungs, called Pleural Effusion.

Doctors use this scan to detect blood leakage, excess fluids in the lungs or other areas in your chest, and inflammations. It can detect tumors but is not as sensitive as a CT or MRI.

Chest MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) To Diagnose Deeper Hidden abnormalities!

Doctors use a chest MRI as a primary scan or secondary, depending on your pathological condition! MRIs are non-invasive test that involves powerful magnets in image extraction. They are the most efficient diagnostic modalities to detect abnormalities located in the soft tissues and supposedly the most precise technique for lung cancer diagnosis.

MRIs are safer than CT or PET scan because it does not expose patients to radiation. Although, it may get a bit lengthy, taking an hour or so to extract clear & accurate cross-sectional images of your lungs.

Doctors use MRI scans to find out the characteristics, composition, and location of an abnormal mass in your lungs. Yes, MRI scans are vital for complex cases. It can show the stage and extent of lung cancers. It can help doctors monitor a needle biopsy to collect cancer cell samples.

An MRI can highlight the blood supply to your lungs and locate tumors in the soft tissues even when they are too small!  Likewise, your doctor may ask for a chest MRI to see how chemotherapy work.

However, as per National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a CT is way more accurate than an MRI in assessing calcification for the enlarged lymph nodes screening.

Also, not everyone can get MRI! It is too expensive and not that easily available! People having metal implants in the body, like pacemakers or aneurysms clips, may not secure precise imaging in the MRI technique.

PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan – The Functional Diagnosis of Lung Tissues and Cells!

When it comes to the question of what scan is used for lungs functional screening, a PET scan is the most recommended option. Why not? A PET scan is essential to assess cellular metabolic activities in your lungs to detect if there is a deeper problem. Although the test is non-invasive and painless, it does involve radiation dosage. Therefore, it may not apply to all.

A PET scan takes around 90 minutes to offer accurate pictures of your lungs. The radioactive tracer it involves helps trace differences in the tissues on their molecular levels.

Doctors use PET scans to measure and determine various lung infections and inflammations. PET scans are highly accurate in detecting a cancerous mass by measuring the cell’s glucose intake. Perhaps, PET scans wipe out the need for unnecessary biopsies. It can show the cancer stage and extent of spread.

Doctors typically pursue a PET scan alongside a lung CT scan. In doing so, your doctor can extract three-dimensional images assimilated from the PET and CT screening. A combination that acts as an alternative to patients with metallic implants!

Doctors also use PET scans to determine the course of cancer treatment and check responses to cancer therapy.

Bottom Line:

While most lung diseases reflect almost similar symptoms, your alerts aren’t enough to get a suitable scan. You need a doctor’s recommendation no matter which scans you avail of. Your doctor can analyze your pathological conditions and medical history and prescribe the most suitable scan for you!

For a lung or chest MRI in Chandigarh, go to www.mrichandigarh.com. Here, you can get to book your test from the top diagnostic centers in the city at a discounted quote. You can book your test as per your schedule!

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at MRIChandigarh.com. Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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