Imaging in Gastroenterology
Imaging is the science of seeing the unseeable. Its application in medicine is to both diagnostic procedures and the evaluation of the effects of treatment, as well as to education and communication. Imaging makes use of radiation not visible to the human eye; when directed towards the patient’s body by means of the appropriate device, this produces a result that is directly perceptible. In gastroenterology, imaging techniques are employed at various levels. At one level this is represented by methods such as abdominal echography and abdominal X-ray, which are often requested immediately after hospital admission for diseases of the biliary tract, pancreas, or intestine. Endoscopy, conventional radiology with contrast media, microscopy, and radioisotope imaging belong to a second level. Computed axial tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance represent a third level of investigation. The great interest among gastroenterologists in imaging techniques is also shown by the inclusion of a special heading, “Imaging in Gastroenterology,” in the new journal Gastroenterology International.