Magnetic resonance imaging does not use any X-rays, but a strong magnetic field and radio waves. An electromagnet weighing several tons with a tubular opening into which the patient bench is pushed constitutes the heart of the magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Tomograms of any region of the body can be realised in a short time. A computer uses the digital data to calculate views of the region of the body examined that the radiologist evaluates afterwards.
Computed tomography (CT) is a modern "imaging" method that allows a detailed look into the human body. An X-ray tube rotates around the patient and, at the same time, emits a small beam of X-rays. A detector system opposite the tube rotates around the patient as well. This is how images of organs of the body can be realised in every section from nearly one thousand directions. This adds up to hundreds of thousands of measuring values that are processed further by a computer. The results are cross-sectional images of the region of the body under examination free from overlying structures. The time of measurement of every region of the body is a few seconds only.
Mammography is the special X-ray examination of the breast. It aims at detecting breast cancer early. Especially tumours that are not palpable yet can be detected using mammography. Even tiny calcifications can be found in breast tissue. These so-called microcalcifications often indicate breast cancer. Small tumours can be seen from a diameter of 5 millimetres. Prospects of healing are explicitly good at this early stage.
The number of cases of breast cancer has increased by more than 20% in the last 25 years with more than 58,000 new cases every year in Germany. No other type of cancer has spread that drastically during the last years. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chances of healing.
Diagnostic X-ray examinations still constitute one of the pillars of diagnostic radiology. Chest radiography, that is the X-ray examination of the chest organs, still constitutes the most frequent examination performed in the context of conventional X-ray examinations. The skeleton is examined frequently as well.