Diagnostic Testing

Imaging tests provide a picture of the body’s interior—of the whole body or part of it. Imaging helps doctors diagnose a disorder, determine how severe the disorder is, and monitor people after the disorder is diagnosed. Most imaging tests are painless, relatively safe, and noninvasive (that is, they do not require an incision in the skin or the insertion of an instrument into the body).

Imaging tests may use the following:

  • Radiation, as in x-rays, computed tomography (CT), and radionuclide scanning
  • Sound waves, as in ultrasonography
  • Substances that are swallowed, injected, or inserted to highlight or outline the tissue or organ to be examined (called contrast agents or dyes).
  • Substances that are swallowed, injected, or inserted to highlight or outline the tissue or organ to be examined (called contrast agents or dyes)



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