Our quick guide to the different types of Diagnostic Imaging

Different Types of Imaging

What is an Ultrasound?

An Ultrasound scan uses sound waves which are transmitted through the skin to then bounce off internal structures and produce an echo. Computer software is then used to analyse the echoes of the sound waves and display the images on a screen. The images are captured in real-time so can, therefore, show any movement, such as organs and blood flow. Images are then reported on by trained Sonographers. At Pall Mall Medical, the reports will also be reviewed by a GP or consultant to determine an appropriate treatment plan if needed.

The Ultrasound Procedure

You will lie on the examination table and a clear gel is applied to the area which is to be scanned. The transducer is then firmly pressed against the skin by the Sonographer and moved around the focus area.


  • No radiation
  • Non-invasive
  • Best imaging method for soft tissue
  • Captured in real-time (meaning reports can be created instantly)
  • Safe to use for pregnancy scans


  • Cannot detect gas
  • Images are in grey shades and are not clear

More about Pall Mall Medical Ultrasound scans.

What is a CT Scan?

A Computerised Tomography Scan (CT) uses multiple x-ray beams and computers to generate comprehensive images of the inside of the body. The scan can produce images of bones and soft tissue which normal x-rays don’t do.

X-rays are ironising, which means they can damage tissue and the DNA within cells, making them unsafe to use for baby scans.

The CT Scan Procedure

You will lie flat on a bed with the large doughnut-shaped machine (CT scan) over the part of the body which is being scanned.


  • High-resolution images
  • Relatively quick scanning time


  • May be required to hold your breath in order to keep still for imaging
  • Some levels of radiation (exact amounts depend on the number of areas or type of scan)

More about Pall Mall Medical CT Scans.

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI) uses magnetic fields to produce images of inside the body or monitor blood flow. You may need to be injected with a contrast agent, to monitor things such as blood flow.

The MRI Scan Procedure

You will be positioned in a large tube (the MRI scanner) and told to keep very still. The radiographer will usually be in another room in order to not affect the magnetic waves of the scan.


  • No radiation
  • Images in fine detail


  • Some patients may feel claustrophobic
  • A longer procedure can take half an hour or longer, depending on the number of areas
  • The scanner may be noisy

More about Pall Mall Medical MRI scans.

Benefits of Private Scans

When booking private imaging you will benefit from the comfort of private facilities and quicker experience, often coming in and out on the same day, with the results available in as little as 3 days. There is no need for an NHS GP referral and scans can be booked at short notice. Your results are reviewed and explained to you by highly qualified private GP or Consultant. So if you have any concerns or family history, you can have the peace of mind with the scan you need.

Private MRI scans start at as little as£3400, contact us for more information.

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