Diagnostic imaging, AKA medical imaging, is the process and technique of creating visual representations of the inside of the body and/or the function of some tissues or organs for clinical analysis and medical diagnosis which eventually leads to medical intervention or treatment.
Diagnostic imaging is a part of biological imaging and incorporates radiology which includes X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, mammography, nuclear medicine imaging (positron emission tomography, or PET, and single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT), fluoroscopy, bone density testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, elastography, endoscopy, thermography and medical photography. Many of these technologies allow for non-invasive procedures.
However, there is a medical specialty known as interventional radiology or vascular and interventional radiology (VIR) which delivers minimally invasive image-guided diagnosis for a variety of diseases in different areas of medicine. Its main purpose is to apply minimally invasive techniques and image guidance to reduce risk to the patient. It includes the following diagnostic procedures:
Angiography: images of the blood vessels, using a variety of contrast media (including gadolinium-based contrast agents, iodinated contrast and CO2 gas) to identify abnormalities such as stenosis, obstruction or leakage.
Cholangiography: imaging of the bile ducts inside and outside the liver to identify areas of blockage.
Biopsy: taking a tissue sample from the body tissue or organ of interest for its macroscopic and microscopic evaluation through a transvenous or percutaneous approach.