Radiology is a specialty in medicine that uses medical imaging techniques to diagnose a disease or an injury. Medical experts who offer radiology services are referred to as radiologists. They undergo specialized training to interpret medical images and give reports that are used by doctors to diagnose an injury or a disease. Radiology is essential for almost every sector of health care including pediatrics, surgery, infectious diseases, cancer care and much more. This article looks at the elements of radiology service and its use in the identification and monitoring of diseases, trauma, and other health conditions.
Categories of Radiology Service
- Diagnostic Radiology
Healthcare professionals use diagnostic radiology to see specific structures inside your body. Doctors and other physicians diagnose the cause of your symptoms using the images from diagnostic radiology. It also helps to determine whether your body is responding to the type of treatment recommended for your disease or health condition. Diagnostic radiology can also be used to identify chronic illnesses such as heart disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Some of the common types of tests done in diagnostic radiology include mammography, CT scans, plain x-rays, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, positron emission tomography, and nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine involves different tests such as thyroid scan, bone scan, and thallium cardiac stress test. Other types of diagnostic radiology exams include magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Interventional Radiology
Interventional radiology is broader than diagnostic radiology as it can be used to diagnose or treat various conditions in nearly any part of the body. This type of imaging test is useful to a doctor when inserting foreign instruments in your body such as wires, and catheters. Interventional radiology allows for smaller incisions or cuts where doctors can look directly inside your body using a scope. Interventional radiologists help to treat a wide variety of health conditions such as tumors, cancers, kidney and liver problems, fibroids, and blockages in the veins or arteries. The most common examples where interventional radiology service is used are feeding tube placement, angiography, vertebroplasty, breast biopsy, venous access catheter placement, and tumor ablation. It is also used in cancer treatments, which includes tumor embolization through Y-90 radioembolization or chemoembolization.
What to Expect During a Radiology Exam?
Some types of radiology services require detailed preparation of the patient before the examination can be performed while others require little or no patient preparation. You will be asked to lie down on a cushioned table that is then positioned into the center of the magnet or radiology equipment. The radiologist will move to the other side of the wall next to the magnet room but will be in contact with you via headphones during the entire exam. It is important to relax when the scan begins as it ensures the clearest radiological images. During scanning, you should experience no other sensation other than sound.
Personal Safety Measures
Before the exam, it is important to inform your radiologist if you have a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, an artificial heart valve, an intrauterine device (IUD), or any other metallic implant. It is also necessary to discuss your medical history with your physician especially if you are pregnant or a metallic object has ever wounded you. The radiology equipment has a powerful magnetic field that can attract ferromagnetic objects causing them to move suddenly leading to extensive damage. It could also alter the images or cause signal loss making it difficult for your radiologist to see images. Avoid wearing jewelry, hairpins, or anything metallic during your appointment to help your radiologist make the best diagnosis.
What You Need to Know About Quality and Safety in Medical Imaging
Radiologic procedures such as MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasound are medically prescribed and need to be performed by certified and properly trained physicians under medically necessary circumstances. Radiologists are medical doctors who undergo post-medical training in the interpretation of medical images, ideal performance of radiological procedures and radiation safety. The use of medical imaging equipment by unqualified personnel may expose you to high levels of radiation that could be harmful to your health.
Radiology services can improve access to life-saving health care by addressing many of the growing challenges people face today. Doctors can now analyze radiology images to detect diseases and epidemics more quickly and accurately. Radiology is an essential component in the field of medicine as it influences several medical decisions that affect patient care. It helps doctors and physicians to offer appropriate treatment for a specific type of disease or health condition.