What Are the Main Types of Diagnostic Testing?

Diagnostic testing is important. It’s estimated 46% of those with Type 2 Diabetes don’t know it, and that’s just the start.

Having proper diagnostic testing done can mean the difference between life and death. Almost everyone who goes to the doctor undergoes some kind of test. What are the main diagnostic tests used in modern medicine, and how can they help you?

Let’s look at the tests that you are most likely to have done or need.

What Is a Diagnostic Test?

A diagnostic test is anything done to help determine what is going wrong inside the body. These tests can take many forms, including blood tests and imaging. Modern medicine uses diagnostic testing that is less invasive than once believed possible.

The X-Ray

One of the oldest and most useful forms of diagnostic testing known to modern medicine. X-Rays can see through soft tissue, revealing everything from broken bones to fluid in the lungs. Modern X-Rays have high contrast and can reveal many conditions to a doctor.


An MRI can peer inside of you, seeing organs and physiological functions as they occur. To do this, an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses magnetic fields, field gradients, and radio waves. MRIs are on the cutting edge of medical technology and can help for a variety of diagnoses.

MRIs continue to revolutionize medicine, as the ability to see processes as they occur is invaluable in determining what might be going wrong inside the body.

CT Scan

A CT scan, or cat scan, is a type of computer controlled X-Ray. It processes the data received and produces a picture that doctors can look at. This technology has been around longer than the MRI, but is still used in your diagnostic testing center.

CT scans are useful for detecting problems that are developing inside the body. Sometimes they are easier to read than other diagnostic tests. The technology around CT scans is well developed and understood.


A biopsy is when a procedure occurs to collect a biological specimen for testing purposes. Often, this test can determine if a tumor is cancerous. It is an invasive test, often requiring outpatient care but sometimes in-patient care.

Biopsies are important because they can show not just the kind of disease, but also the extent of it in the body. Modern biopsies are often done by collecting nothing more than a few cells for testing.


As we get older, the kinds of diagnostic testing we undergo increases. Colonoscopies help so that doctors can determine the condition of the bowels. This test can catch diseases like Crohn’s, as well as cancers like colon cancer.

Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 40 has a colonoscopy done. One of the key benefits of a diagnostic test like this is it can catch treatable diseases early in their development. This makes recovery and successful treatment far more possible.

Electromyography Tests

These tests analyze the way electrical signals move through nerves and muscle tissue. A high-quality advanced diagnostic testing center can use this to determine the cause and origin of muscle pain and weakness. These tests often involve sending signals through the skin.

Regular electrical traffic is normal in the body, but an EMG test can help to determine if a disease is causing you trouble. Many people suffer in pain for a long time before they get an EMG test, not realizing it could help solve their problem.


While most famous for pregnant women, sonograms are used for many purposes. These tests, done by sonographers, involve using high energy sound waves. These waves go into the body and reflect off structures to produce images.

Sonograms can also help in a therapeutic sense, which is often used by physical therapists or chiropractors. Another common name for the procedure is an ultrasound.


An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is often used to diagnose heart problems. It works by recording the electrical activity that is occurring in your heart. This gives doctors a chance to analyze the information and figure out what is causing your heart trouble.

ECGs are often done when people complain of chest pain or of a rapid heartbeat. They are an important part of the diagnostic process when determining what condition a patient’s heart is in.

Our hearts, like all muscles in our body, need steady electrical signals, so understanding them is critical.

Physical Exam

You might not think of a physical exam as a diagnostic test, but it is. The oldest type of diagnostic test, physical exams, can reveal a great deal about symptoms and complications. In most doctor’s offices, a physical exam is done before any other test is undertaken.

Physical exams can cover anything from checking for a hernia to listening for fluid in the lungs. Part of the physical exam is usually done by a nurse, who checks blood pressure and heart rate.

Blood Panel

Testing blood is nothing new, and the most common blood panel is a CBC. A complete blood count can determine levels of white and red blood cells, as well as other compounds in the blood. It can even diagnose many blood diseases that a patient might have.

For these tests, a simple vial of blood is all you have to give. This test is so popular because it covers the entire spectrum of regular blood composition and any deviations.

Diagnostic Testing at Injury Care Center

As you can see, there are a lot of tests, even among those that are common. Having the proper diagnostic testing can mean the difference between an untreated condition and one that is handled. If you have any questions about diagnostic testing, please contact us.

We’d love to help you recover from any injury or issue you’re having, and we can help determine what is going wrong with our state-of-the-art equipment.