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Merck Manual

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Overview of Imaging Tests


Mehmet Kocak

, MD, Rush University Medical Center

Last full review/revision Jun 2019| Content last modified Jul 2019
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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:

There are some risks of using radiation in medical imaging.

For information regarding imaging tests common for specific diagnoses and screenings, see the following:

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