Ah, modern medical imaging. You can bet your car payment that I get a lot of mileage out of medical imaging as the Washington editor for Medical Device Daily. All those cuts under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 have just littered the Washington roundup practically since the day I took this job. What's not to like?
Still, imaging is not just another pretty face or another bunch of pretty pictures, as the doctors like to say. There's some real substance to modern imaging technology beyond providing the occasional nutcase at the Transportation Security Administration with a cheap thrill. So read on for my top five reasons to love modern medical imaging.
Number five: What other branch of science gives you a PET that can help you get well without dumping a lot of veterinarian bills in your lap (as you can tell, I deliberately started with the weakest of the five)?
Number four: Speaking of pets, aren't we glad they removed the A from CAT scan? I got more than a bit weary of hearing those jokes about felines and canines testing your health. “Your CAT scans and your labs came back okay!” Groan. That joke wore me out the first time I heard it.
Number three: In this line of work you have to know acronyms, which allows you to say things that make you seem really smart. For example, you may find yourself explaining to a rapt audience that SPECT stands for single photon emission computed tomography. One little caveat: This works on the neighbor kids in second grade, but don't expect the middle school kids to be impressed.
Number two: In this one, I'm thankful for the cut-and-paste feature in word processing because my fingers start to spasm every time I have to spell out fluoroscopy and fluorodeoxyglucose all by myself. On the other hand, I do like the fact that fluorodeoxyglucose is also known as F-18 because I use that as an excuse to look at YouTube videos of the F-18 Super Hornet blowing things up.
And the number one and very best reason to love modern imaging is: It's probably the one thing in life other than sheer luck that can keep your proctologist's equipment at a safe distance.