Medical Physics and Ultrasound (Further Additional)

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  • Medical Physics and Ultrasound
    • X-rays are used for medical imaging
      • X-rays are high energy EM waves - get absorbed by dense material like bone and metal.
        • Their properties are used to take x-ray photos - diagnose bone fractures.
          • They are a type of ionising radiation - there is a health risk to people who are exposed to them.
    • CAT scans use x-rays
      • X-rays are used to produce a two-dimensional slice through the body.
        • CAT scans use intense beams of x-rays that are strongly ionising. - they can be used to image soft tissue as well as bones.
    • Endoscopes use optical fibres to see inside the body.
      • Visible light is a type of non-ionising radiation.
        • Endoscopes reflect light along optical fibres.
          • They investigate problems without the need for invasive surgery - used for keyhole surgery.
    • Ultrasound is sound with a higher frequency (above 20kHz).
      • Ultrasound is a non-ionising method of medical imaging. (It's much safer for the patient)
        • It can be used to break down kidney stones (hard masses that block the urinary tract).
          • An ultrasound beam concentrates high energy waves at them so they turn into sand-like particles. Then they pass out of the body in the urine. - good because its relatively painless and you don't need surgery.
        • Pre-natal scanning of a foetus.
          • It can be used to diagnose soft tissue problems and perform pre-natal scans of a foetus in the womb.
            • Ultrasound waves are reflected off the different tissue boundaries and the times and distributions of the echoes are processed by a computer to form an image on a screen.
        • Measuring the speed of blood flow.
          • Ultrasound works in real time - it can show things changing and moving.
            • Useful for investigating problems with blood flow - particularly in the heart and the liver,
              • Special ultrasound machines can measure the speed of blood flow and identify and blockages in the veins and arteries.


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