Types of Imaging

Imaging Types

Most types of medical imaging use types of radiation to produce the images. Radiation is simply a way of moving energy from one place to another. Radiation is all around us every day and we use radiation for radios and microwaves. There is even radiation (ultraviolet and visible light) in sunlight.

The type of medical imaging used is selected by doctors based on the information needed. We can group imaging by the effect of the radiation on the body.


This video discusses the types of imaging used in medicine.

Take away points

  • Types of imaging can be split into ionising and non-ionising radiation.

  • Exposure to ionising radiation can lead to cancer later in life.

  • The risk is small and is discussed here.


There are a large number of staff involved in imaging. Each has a role for which they are highly trained. We all work together to ensure that the risks to you are as low as possible. This means, for example, that a Radiographer may take an image but cannot give feedback on the image at the time of the appointment. A doctor called a Radiologist has to view the image and look at your case before a report can be issued.

The video on this page introduces you to some of the staff who may look after you during your imaging.

You can find out more about the risks associated with radiation on the 'Radiation risk' tab or clicking on the button below: