Radiology is a special branch of medicine which uses x-ray images to better diagnose and treat disease and injury. Radiologists use a variety of imaging and techniques to monitor and treat diseases. These include: general x-ray, dental x-ray, radiography, ultrasound, CT scan, and nuclear medicine (e.g. Magnetic Resonance Imaging – MRI). A promising facet of this branch of medicine is Interventional Radiology. Interventional Radiology refers to the use of imaging technologies to perform minimally invasive medical procedures to treat conditions such as: varicose veins, peripheral artery diseases and deep vein thrombosis.
A radiologist is a medical doctor who has had specialized training in diagnosis and treatment methods utilizing medical imaging. Radiologists have the knowledge to interpret and clearly explain a patient’s medical condition through the images gathered during examinations, such as: CT scans, x-rays and mammograms.
Radiologists assist other doctors in diagnosing and treating an illness or injury. They can judge when an imaging test is required to answer questions about an illness or injury, also when an imaging test is unlikely to be helpful. When considering an imaging test, a radiologist weighs up the risks and benefits associated with each one and evaluates which test(s) would be beneficial and in which order for the best results.
Radiologists produce a written report for a patient’s referring doctor to communicate test results.
During a radio-graphic procedure such as those mentioned above, an x-ray beam passes through the patient’s body. A percentage of the x-ray is absorbed by the internal structure being examined, with the remainder being transmitted to a detector for the image to be stored for future evaluation by a radiologist or doctor.
Radiography is the preferred technique in examinations and procedures which require a record of a static images.
Some of the procedures which require radiography include:
- Dental examination
- Verification of correct placement of surgical markers prior to an operation
- Orthopedic evaluation
- Fluoroscopy, and
- Chiropractic evaluation
Radiology has many different applications for different diagnostic and treatment purposes. As such, it can be divided into two major categories – diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology. Diagnostic radiology assists radiologists in determining the precise cause of an illness or injury, and helps them pinpoint its exact location. Interventional radiology is an independent specialty which uses minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat disease.
Diagnostic radiology enables radiologists to view your internal structures. Physicians who specialize in the interpretation of these images are referred to as diagnostic radiologists. Using these images allows diagnostic radiologists to:
Diagnose the cause of symptoms, Monitoring how your body responds to treatment, and screen for different illnesses, chiefly cancer and heart disease. The most common diagnostic radiology exams include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Nuclear medicine (e.g. bone scan and thyroid scan)
- PET scan, and
Interventional radiology utilises imaging technology to help guide procedures. This technology includes:
- CT scan
- MRI scan, and