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Radiology is an integral part of the healthcare field that impacts every patient. It’s used by:

  • Emergency rooms
  • Infectious disease departments
  • Obstetrics
  • Oncology departments
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgical teams
  • Trauma response teams

Also called diagnostic imaging, radiology is used to both diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. The most common types of diagnostic imaging are:

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • PET scan
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray

Although a radiologic technologist usually takes the image, it’s usually interpreted by a medical doctor who’s often a radiologist.

Origin of Radiology

Radiology originated in 1895 in Germany through the efforts of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who made an energized CRT, or cathode ray tube, fluoresce when it was near fluorescent paint. He postulated that unknown rays in the room caused the interaction and termed the rays “x-rays.” This procedure developed into the modern x-ray.

The Important of Radiology

Early diagnosis is often facilitated by x-rays, which means a better prognosis for the patient. This is particularly vital when the disease is cancer because many types of cancer metastasize quickly. An accurate, quick diagnosis can literally make a life-or-death difference.

Uses for Radiology

Radiology is used in all phases of life, from before birth to the senior years. Typical uses for radiology include:

  • Computed tomography: A CT scan uses a doughnut-shaped machine to create images that are processed by a computer.
  • Fluoroscopy: Often used for gastrointestinal tract issues, fluoroscopy makes real-time, moving x-rays of the body.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: An MRI uses radiography to create still images.
  • Mammogram: Special x-rays reveal the condition of breast tissue.
  • Nuclear medicine: A short-acting radioactive substance generates light that is computer-processed and converted into an image.
  • Radiograph: This is an x-ray of the abdomen, the bones, or the chest cavity.
  • Ultrasound: Often used during pregnancy, an ultrasound uses sound waves to display movement, which is viewed on a computer screen.

Often, radiologic procedures are the only way to detect rare or complex issues, so doctors use various radiologic tools to determine the best course of treatment for their patients.