Imaging and radiology
Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses imaging technology to diagnose and treat disease.
Radiology may be divided into two different areas, diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology. Doctors who specialize in radiology are called radiologists.
Interventional radiology; Diagnostic radiology; X-ray imaging
Diagnostic radiology helps health care professionals see structures inside your body. Doctors that specialize in the interpretation of these images are called diagnostic radiologists. Using the diagnostic images, the radiologist or other physicians can often:
The most common types of diagnostic radiology exams include:
Interventional radiologists are doctors that use imaging such as CT, ultrasound, MRI, and fluoroscopy to help guide procedures. The imaging is helpful to the doctor when inserting catheters, wires, and other small instruments and tools into your body. This typically allows for smaller incisions (cuts).
Doctors can use this technology to diagnose or treat conditions in almost any part of the body instead of needing to directly look inside of your body through a scope (camera) or with open surgery.
Interventional radiologists often are involved in treating cancers or tumors, blockages in the arteries and veins, fibroids in the uterus, back pain, liver problems, and kidney problems.
The doctor will make no incision or only a very small one. You rarely need to stay in the hospital after the procedure. Most people need only moderate sedation (medicines to help you relax).
Examples of interventional radiology procedures include:
Mettler FA Jr. Introduction. In: Mettler FA Jr, ed. Essentials of Radiology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 1.
Watson N. General notes. In: Watson N, ed. Chapman & Nakielny's Guide to Radiological Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 1.
Zenman EM, Schreiber EC, Tepper JE. Basics of radiation therapy. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 27.
Review Date: 9/26/2017
Reviewed By: Jason Levy, MD, Northside Radiology Associates, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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