What Is Radiology?

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Even if you didn’t realize it, you’ve probably benefited from the field of radiology at some point during your life. Radiology includes a variety of imaging services used for diagnostic and treatment purposes, ranging from simple x-rays to more complicated interventional radiology procedures. Still, you might not be aware of all that the field of radiology encompasses. Below, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of radiology including what it is, what a radiologist does, and some of the most common procedures found in the field of radiology.

What is Radiology?

Radiology is a specialty of medicine in which images of the body’s organs are interpreted in order to diagnose or treat disease. Radiology is vital for nearly every sector of health care, including surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, oncology (cancer treatment and diagnosis), trauma-response, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, and much more. 

What does a radiologist do?

Radiologists are medical doctors that have specialized training—including additional education—on how to interpret medical images for diagnosis. Radiologists work as part of a team in providing medical care, interpreting these images from a patient’s scan and giving diagnostic reports to referring clinical doctors ranging from surgeons, pediatricians, obstetricians, etc. Many people believe that the radiologists are the people operating the machine while you receive your imaging procedure, however those are actually radiologic technologists. Radiologists work “behind the scenes”, interpreting the results of the scan. 

Common Radiology Procedures

  • CT Scan: Stands for “computed tomography,” in which multiple angles of X-rays from a machine are sent to a computer to create detailed images.

  • MRI: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” uses giant magnets and radio waves connected to a computer to provide images of one’s organs.

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to make moving images on a monitor, resulting in a “movie-like” image.

  • Fluoroscopy: Fluoroscopy is a form of basic X-ray that uses a special piece of equipment called a fluoroscope. The radiologist and a specially trained technologist use this instrument to observe organs in real time.

  • Nuclear Medicine:  Nuclear Imaging is a specialized area of radiology that creates images of organs and body functions through small doses of radioactive materials that are ingested by the patient before the imaging.

The field of radiology has truly changed the way we are able to live. With advances in screening and diagnostic imaging, we can detect dangerous diseases earlier than ever before. If you need a radiology procedure in northern California, contact the board-certified radiologists at BICRAD who strive to provide the highest-quality imaging with innovative technology and specialization.