Diagnostic and Medical Imaging | UC Davis Health

Diagnostic and Medical Imaging

Our world-class imaging and therapeutic procedures ensure you receive the highest quality, timely care.

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Morris, M.D. on Aug. 30, 2023.

Male patient going into a medical imaging machine and a female provider in a white coat starting the scan

Pioneers in Imaging Technology and Procedures

Our specialists have led the development of new imaging instruments and approaches to diagnosing and treating patients. The UC Davis Health Department of Radiology faculty and research teams lead the field in innovations that detect health conditions early.

Our Difference

High-Performance Diagnostic Equipment

We stay at the forefront of imaging technology by developing equipment like high-performance CT scanners. We also created the world’s first full-body PET scanner.

Personalized Imaging and Therapeutic Services

We take a personalized approach to your care, tailoring treatments and exams to your needs. Our team supports you all the way through your test or procedure.  

Renowned Research

Our team works with researchers around the globe to improve imaging technology and procedures. We receive extensive research funding from nonprofit organizations and the National Institutes of Health.


Diagnostic and Medical Imaging Specialties

Diagnostic and medical imaging helps health providers see inside your body. We use imaging to examine how your body’s systems function and to check for possible disorders.

At UC Davis Health, we offer routine imaging screenings, advanced diagnostic studies and interventional radiology procedures. Physicians across Northern California refer their patients to our imaging centers.

Our Specialty Areas:

Abdominal Imaging

Our team uses state-of-the-art technology to examine and diagnose abdominal and pelvic disorders. Our interventional radiologists use advanced imaging guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures like biopsies.

Discover our abdominal imaging capabilities
Breast Radiology

We offer the latest 2D and 3D mammograms for breast cancer screenings. We also provide diagnostic imaging using breast MRI and breast ultrasound technology. 

Learn about breast radiology at UC Davis Health
Cardiothoracic Radiology

Our fellowship-trained cardiac and thoracic imagers diagnose chest disorders using CT, MRI and radiographs. We evaluate conditions that affect your blood vessels, lungs and heart.

Read more about our cardiothoracic radiology services
Musculoskeletal Radiology

Our musculoskeletal experts provide imaging and diagnosis of injuries, arthritis, orthopaedic hardware and other concerns. We work closely with specialists in orthopaedics, rehabilitation medicine, cancer and primary care.

Learn about musculoskeletal radiology at UC Davis Health
Neuroradiology and Interventional Neuroradiology

Our neuroradiology imaging services help identify conditions that affect your central nervous system. This includes your brain, ears, eyes, nose, throat and spine. 

Discover our neuroradiology and interventional neuroradiology capabilities
Nuclear Medicine

In nuclear medicine, we put a small amount of radioactive material into your body. The material can tell us how your organs and tissue function. It can also seek out and destroy cancer cells in your body.

Read about nuclear medicine at UC Davis Health
Pediatric Radiology

Our caring pediatric radiologists take special care of your child. We use the lowest possible radiation in our imaging exams. We make sure you and your child feel comfortable and supported.

Learn more about pediatric radiology at UC Davis Health
Vascular and Interventional Radiology

We perform minimally invasive procedures guided by medical imaging. These procedures require a tiny incision and can remove blood clots and gallstones, destroy tumors, and provide other treatments. You’ll have a much faster recovery than traditional surgery.

Read about our vascular and interventional radiology procedures

Types of Diagnostic and Medical Imaging

We use different types of imaging to identify specific conditions or to examine certain parts of your body. Imaging tests are usually painless. Sometimes, you’ll need to drink a substance or receive an injection before the scan. You may have to lie still for a long period of time, which can be uncomfortable.

Imaging types include:

CT Scans

During a CT (computed tomography) scan, you lie on a table and X-ray equipment takes pictures of your body. Some CT scans use contrast dye to highlight areas inside your body. You may receive contrast dye in a drink, through an injection, or with an enema.


Fluoroscopy makes moving X-ray videos of your bones, tissues and organs. You may also get an injectable contrast dye. We use fluoroscopy to diagnose heart and gastrointestinal conditions. We also view these medical images while performing certain orthopaedic surgeries and procedures.


An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam looks inside your body using a magnet and radio waves. During an MRI, you lie still on a table that slides into a machine. We give you earplugs to wear during an MRI because the machine is noisy.

Nuclear Medicine Scans

We give you a small dose of radioactive material (called a radiotracer) during a nuclear medicine scan. You lie still on a table while a special camera takes images. The camera can detect how your body reacts to the radiotracer. We offer advanced positron emission tomography (PET) scans and single-photon emission CT (SPECT) scans.


Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to take pictures (sometimes called sonograms). Ultrasound tests monitor a baby’s growth during pregnancy. They also help identify conditions that affect your blood vessels, glands and organs.


X-rays take pictures using electromagnetic waves. We use X-rays to check for bone fractures. They can also help us detect conditions like pneumonia and breast cancer.

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Awards and Recognitions
USNWR Best Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, obstetrics & gynecology, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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US News & World Report best Children’s Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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USNWR best regional hospital badge

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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Magnet designation badge

The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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Chime acute badge

“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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Chime ambulatory badge

“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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NCI badge

World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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