Radiology

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Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses medical imaging technologies to diagnose and treat diseases within the human body.[1] A medical doctor who specializes in radiology is known as a radiologist.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Interventional radiology A
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HCCH RCW X-ray reading
Radiologist viewing computed tomography
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Radiologists employ a range of imaging technologies including X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine (such as positron emission tomography (PET)), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose or treat diseases.[2] These imaging techniques provide non-invasive, painless methods for visualizing the structure and function of the human body, making it possible to diagnose diseases at their earliest, most treatable stages.

Specializations[edit | edit source]

Interventional Radiology[edit | edit source]

Interventional radiology involves the use of imaging technologies to guide the performance of usually minimally invasive medical procedures.[3] These procedures often replace traditional surgery, reducing patient risk and improving outcomes. For example, angioplasty, stent placement, biopsy procedures, and tumor ablation are commonly performed under imaging guidance.

Diagnostic Radiology[edit | edit source]

Diagnostic radiology involves the interpretation of images to diagnose disease.[4] Radiologists "read" the images and produce a report of their findings and impression or diagnosis. This report is then transmitted to the ordering physician, either routinely or emergently.

Role of Radiologic Technologists[edit | edit source]

The acquisition of medical images is usually carried out by a Radiographer or Radiologic Technologist. They are responsible for positioning the patient and adjusting the imaging equipment to obtain the best quality images.[5]

Glossary of radiology[edit | edit source]

  • 4DCT - A form of * CT scan that captures time as the fourth dimension, allowing for the visualization of organ movements and blood flow, often used in planning radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
  • Acute radiation syndrome - A severe illness that occurs after exposure to high doses of radiation, characterized by symptoms ranging from nausea to, in extreme cases, death.
  • Aidoc - An advanced * computer-aided diagnosis system that uses * AI to assist radiologists in analyzing and interpreting medical images.
  • Anti-scatter grid - A device used in radiography to reduce scattered radiation, improving image contrast and quality.
  • Aortopulmonary window - A region on a chest radiograph or CT scan that is important for identifying certain cardiovascular and mediastinal abnormalities.
  • Bone age - An assessment of the biological and developmental maturity of a child's bones, usually determined through X-ray analysis of the hand and wrist.
  • Bone scintigraphy - A * nuclear medicine imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers to visualize bones and identify abnormalities such as fractures, cancer, or infection.
  • CT scan - Short for * Computed Tomography scan, a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body.
  • Caldwell's view - A specific radiographic projection used in skull radiology to evaluate the frontal sinuses, orbits, and nasal cavity.
  • Collimator - A device used in radiographic and radiotherapy equipment to narrow a beam of radiation, focusing it on the area of interest while minimizing exposure to adjacent tissues.
  • Companion shadow - A radiographic sign often associated with pleural effusions, where the shadow of the lung edge is paralleled by a shadow of fluid.
  • Computational human phantom - A digital model of the human body or parts of it used in computational simulations to study the interaction of electromagnetic fields or ionizing radiation with the body.
  • Computed tomography enterography - An imaging procedure that uses CT technology and a contrast material to visualize the small intestine, often used to diagnose conditions like Crohn's disease.
  • Computer-aided diagnosis - The use of computers to assist radiologists in the interpretation of medical images, aiming to improve diagnostic accuracy.
  • Computer-aided simple triage - A system that utilizes computer algorithms to prioritize the review of imaging studies based on the likelihood of findings that require urgent attention.
  • Contrast-induced nephropathy - Kidney damage that can occur after the administration of contrast material during imaging procedures, particularly in patients with pre-existing kidney problems.
  • Digital X-ray radiogrammetry - A technique used to measure bone mineral density from radiographic images of the hand, useful in the assessment of osteoporosis.
  • Dose area product - A measure of the total amount of radiation delivered to a patient during a radiographic procedure, factoring in both the dose and the area exposed.
  • Dual X-ray absorptiometry and laser - A technology that combines DXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) with laser measurement to assess bone density and body composition with high precision.
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) - A standard imaging technology used to measure bone mineral density, critical in the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis.
  • EOS (medical imaging) - A low-dose, bi-planar X-ray imaging system that captures simultaneous frontal and lateral images of the whole body, used particularly for assessing spinal and skeletal conditions.
  • Echocardiography - An ultrasound imaging technique used to visualize the heart, assessing its structure, function, and blood flow.
  • Effective dose (radiation) - A measure of the radiation dose to which a person has been exposed, taking into account the type of radiation and the sensitivity of different tissues and organs.
  • Electron resonance imaging - A less common term possibly confused with * Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the body's internal structures.
  • Empty delta sign - A radiological sign seen on contrast-enhanced brain scans, indicative of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.
  • European Day of Radiology - An annual event celebrating the contributions of radiology to medicine, commemorating the discovery of X-rays.
  • F-factor (conversion factor) - A coefficient used in radiology to convert between different units of radiation exposure, such as from air kerma to personal dose equivalent.
  • Focal spot blooming - An effect observed in radiographic imaging where the focal spot of the X-ray tube appears larger due to increased exposure time or tube current, potentially affecting image resolution.
  • Forensic radiology - The application of radiological techniques and imaging for legal purposes, including identification of remains, determination of cause of death, and detection of foreign objects.
  • G-arm medical imaging - An advanced imaging system that combines multiple radiological technologies, including fluoroscopy and digital X-rays, in a single device, often used in surgical settings.
  • GXMO - An acronym for General X-ray Machine Operator, a certification for healthcare professionals who operate X-ray equipment under the supervision of a radiologist or other licensed practitioner.
  • Global radiology - Refers to the international efforts and collaborations in the field of radiology to improve access to imaging services and education around the world, particularly in underserved areas.
  • Hirtz compass - A historical radiological tool used to determine the position of foreign bodies within the body by using two-dimensional X-ray images taken from different angles.
  • Hounsfield scale - A quantitative scale used in computed tomography (CT) imaging to measure the radiodensity of tissues, where water has a value of 0 Hounsfield units (HU) and air is -1000 HU.
  • Incidental imaging finding - An unexpected discovery found on an imaging study that was not related to the original reason for which the study was ordered.
  • International Day of Radiology - Celebrated on November 8th each year to mark the anniversary of the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895. It aims to highlight the importance of radiology in diagnosing and treating patients.
  • John Thomas sign - A radiographic sign indicative of a urethral injury, seen as an abnormal positioning of a urethral catheter on pelvic X-rays.
  • Limited radiology technician - A healthcare professional with certification to perform a limited range of radiographic procedures, often in specific settings like urgent care or orthopedic offices.
  • Lubberts effect - A phenomenon observed in radiology where there is an apparent increase in bone density on X-rays due to overlying soft tissue, which can mimic pathological conditions.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - A non-invasive imaging technique that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate detailed images of the internal structures of the body, particularly soft tissues.
  • Mean glandular dose - The average radiation dose received by glandular breast tissue during a mammography procedure, an important consideration in assessing the risk-benefit ratio of breast cancer screening.
  • Neuroimaging - The use of various imaging technologies to directly or indirectly image the structure, function, or pharmacology of the nervous system.
  • Nuclear medicine - A medical specialty that uses radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, including imaging techniques such as PET and SPECT scans.
  • Owl's eye appearance - A characteristic radiologic finding seen in certain conditions, such as cytomegalovirus infection, where cells have large inclusion bodies that resemble an owl's eyes.
  • PI-RADS - Prostate Imaging-Reporting and Data System, a structured reporting scheme for evaluating the prostate for prostate cancer on MRI.
  • Paediatric radiology - A subspecialty of radiology focused on the imaging and diagnosis of diseases and injuries in infants, children, and adolescents.
  • Paleoradiology - The study of ancient diseases and conditions through the examination of skeletal remains, mummies, and artifacts using radiological techniques.
  • Peak kilovoltage (kVp) - The maximum voltage applied across an X-ray tube, which determines the energy and penetrating power of the X-ray beam produced.
  • Plesiotherapy - A form of radiation therapy where the radioactive source is placed close to the surface of the body or within a body cavity, to treat localized areas of cancer.
  • Radioactive tracer - A radioactive substance used in nuclear medicine imaging and in medical research to track the movement of substances within the body.
  • Radiodensity - The ability of a substance to block or attenuate X-rays, visible on radiographic images as varying levels of brightness or darkness.
  • Radiogenomics - The study of how an individual's genomic information affects their response to radiation therapy, including the risk of developing side effects.
  • Radiographer - A healthcare professional trained to perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, under the direction of a radiologist.
  • Radiological information system (RIS) - A networked software system for managing medical imagery and associated data in radiology departments, facilitating patient scheduling, image tracking, reporting, and billing.
  • Radiology - The medical specialty that uses imaging to diagnose and treat diseases within the body. Techniques include X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine.
  • Radioscope - An older term for a device or system used in radiography to view and analyze X-ray images, now largely replaced by digital imaging technologies.
  • Rectilinear scanner - An early form of nuclear medicine imaging equipment used for scanning the thyroid gland, utilizing a moving detector to map the distribution of a radioactive tracer.
  • Reed's rules - A set of criteria used to interpret the significance of lymphoid populations in bone marrow samples, often referred to in the context of hematological imaging and diagnosis.
  • Reid's base line - A standard anatomical reference line used in cranial radiology, extending from the lower border of the orbit to the upper margin of the external auditory canal.
  • Schuller's view - A radiographic projection angle used primarily to evaluate mastoid air cells and the middle ear space, part of the diagnostic process for conditions affecting the temporal bone.
  • Stenvers projection - A specific type of radiographic projection used to visualize the internal structures of the ear, including the auditory ossicles and inner ear canals.
  • Surgical planning - The process of using images from CT, MRI, or other modalities to plan the approach for surgical procedures, often involving 3D reconstruction and simulation techniques.
  • Teleradiology - The transmission of radiological patient images, such as X-rays and CTs, from one location to another for the purposes of sharing studies with other radiologists and physicians.
  • Thrombus perviousness - A radiological assessment of a blood clot's density and heterogeneity, particularly in the context of stroke, to evaluate the likelihood of successful endovascular treatment.
  • Tomographic reconstruction - The computational process used in CT scans and other imaging modalities to generate a three-dimensional image from a series of two-dimensional projection images.
  • Vaginogram - An imaging study of the vagina, often performed with contrast material, to evaluate the anatomy and function of the vagina and surrounding structures.
  • Waters' view - A radiographic projection used primarily in facial radiography, especially to assess the maxillary sinus areas, orbits, and nasal septum.
  • X-ray tube - A component of X-ray machines that produces X-rays. It consists of an anode and a cathode enclosed in a vacuum tube, where high-voltage electricity is used to generate X-rays.

List of Radiologists (USA)[edit | edit source]


See Also[edit | edit source]


  1. ARRT. "What Does a Radiologic Technologist Do?". The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
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