Radiology is a specialty of medicine in which images of the body’s organs are interpreted to diagnose disease. Radiologists are medical doctors having the specialized training to interpret medical images for diagnosis while radiologic technologists are the medical imaging professionals that use and manage the equipment for making the images. Family physicians and other specialists turn to radiologists for consultation on the safest and most effective exam, and what the results mean for the patient and the treatment options. The radiologist is responsible for interpreting the images acquired through a range of techniques and then communicating their analysis is to the patient’s physician.
Radiology’s role is central to disease management, with a wide choice of tools and techniques available for detection, staging, and treatment. Diagnostic imaging provides detailed information about structural or disease-related changes. Early diagnosis saves lives. Without diagnosis there can be no treatment, there can be no cure.
Diagnostic Radiology’s Medical Images include:
Radiographs: X-rays to image bones, chest, and abdomen
CT: Stands for “computed tomography” in which the patient is advanced on an automatic stretcher through the device from a round-shaped opening. X-rays sent from different sources and angles pass through the patient's body, creating an image based on computer calculations.
MRI: Stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” in which the patient is examined inside a long cylindrical tube. Magnetic fields and radio waves are used with computer processing to create images.
Ultrasound: using sound waves to make moving images on a monitor, with common examples being thyroid, abdominal, breast ultrasound, and fetal ultrasound during pregnancy.
Mammogram: Mammography, which uses low-dose X-rays targeted to the breast tissue, is the best method to detect early breast cancer among all imaging and diagnostic methods.
Fluoroscopy: using X-rays that produce real-time moving images of the body for doing procedures, such as stents for narrowed vessels and drainage catheters, as well as imaging the gastrointestinal tract.