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Radiology: Exploring the world of medical imaging and intervention

Team AckoJul 4, 2023

Radiology, an essential procedure for diagnosing an illness, includes a number of tools and strategies for detection, analysis, and treatment of a disease. Furthermore, it is the method by which the doctor obtains thorough information regarding disease-related structural modifications. Early detection can save lives in many circumstances. Without diagnostic imaging, doctors today cannot manage their patients. Your family doctor and emergency care professionals rely on Radiology findings to decide your medical diagnosis and treatment plan for many disorders. This is why Radiology diagnostic imaging comes into the picture.




What is Radiology?

Radiology is a field that uses imaging procedures to diagnose and treat disease. The procedure consists of several examinations that require visualising and imagining various regions of the body. Radiology is essential in a variety of diagnostic procedures such as CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and ultrasounds. It can be divided into Diagnostic Radiology, such as diagnosing cancer, and Interventional Radiology, such as removing a blood clot in an artery. 

Diagnostic Radiology procedures

There are various methods for obtaining images that help in the screening, diagnosis, or monitoring of medical disorders. Here are some examples.

1. X-rays

X-rays are high-energy electromagnetic waves that can penetrate through most objects, including the human body. They can be used to identify fractures, certain cases of pneumonia, and intestinal problems.

2. Computed tomography (CT)

Here, a narrow beam of X-rays is targeted at a patient and quickly spun around the body, producing signals that undergo processing to create cross-sectional images or "slices" of the body. These slices, known as tomographic pictures, provide more precise information about the interior organs than traditional X-rays.

3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

This is a non-invasive imaging technique. Magnetic resonance imaging creates images of the inside of the body by combining powerful magnetic fields with radio waves.

4. Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a type of acoustic energy, or sound, with a frequency greater than the range of human hearing. 

5. Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy creates moving images of the body by using X-rays. 

6. Nuclear medicine scans

This assesses body functioning and diagnoses and treats disease using radioactive tracers (radiopharmaceuticals). 

Interventional Radiology procedures

A wide range of interventional Radiology techniques are now offered. In many circumstances, these "minimally invasive" techniques can be utilised instead of more invasive measures (such as surgery) that were previously used. As a result, these treatments may have fewer complications, smaller incisions, cause less discomfort, and allow individuals to recover faster than in the past. The following are some of the conditions that may be treated in this approach.

1. To detect and open a blocked blood vessel

Interventional techniques may be used to treat blood vessels (either arteries or veins) that are clogged in the heart, legs, or lungs.

  • Coronary artery blockages: Angiography, angioplasty, and stent implantation can all be used to address narrowing or blockages in the coronary arteries. A wire is inserted into the artery, and a balloon is then used to open the narrowing in the artery. In order to open the artery, a thrombolytic medication may be injected instead.

  • Deep vein thrombosis: Thrombolytics can be injected via imaging through a catheter implanted in a vein. The insertion of a balloon or stent may then be used. Stents can also be inserted in blood vessels that have been squeezed by a tumour, causing difficulties.

  • Pulmonary emboli: When blood clots develop in the legs or pelvis, they could break off and go to the lungs (pulmonary emboli). A Radiologist sometimes inserts a catheter into an artery to break up a big clot in the lungs.

2. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (commonly known as radiotherapy) is a type of cancer treatment in which strong doses of radiation are used to negate cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation is used in X-rays at low dosages to see inside your body. At high dosages, it destroys cancer cells or inhibits their progression by destroying their DNA. 

Benefits of Radiology

Radiology has many kinds of advantages. The following are some of the primary benefits of Radiology.

  • When compared to other surgical or medication-based processes, it is a less expensive method of treatment.

  • It can easily treat blood vessel problems such as narrowing of arteries, haemorrhage, blood clots, and vein obstruction.

  • It can treat both malignant and benign tumours. It eliminates tumours in situ (their initial location of growth) as well as tumours that have migrated to other sections of the body due to metastasis.

  • Its procedures can also be used to insert a feeding tube into the body of a patient or to drain fluids from the abdominal cavity or chest.

  • It is an important method for treating various stone conditions, such as kidney stones and gallstones.

  • It is used in assessing diseases like breast cancer (mammography), with early detection lowering death rates.

Safety considerations in Radiology

Before undergoing any Radiology procedures, it is crucial to prioritise safety by following specific considerations. Firstly, it is essential to ensure that each radiation exposure is necessary and justified, minimising unnecessary exposure. The goal is to keep the patient's exposure to a minimum while still achieving the desired diagnostic or interventional outcome. Additionally, continuous efforts are made to develop and enhance techniques for more accurate and effective diagnostic and image-guided interventional procedures.

Safety also includes providing guidelines for managing radiation exposure in specific patient groups, such as pregnant women and paediatric patients who may be more sensitive to radiation. Special precautions and protocols are implemented to safeguard their well-being. Furthermore, in the event of any radiation incident or accident, a medical viewpoint is essential to assess and mitigate potential risks or consequences. By adhering to these safety considerations, Radiology practices can prioritise patient well-being and ensure the highest standards of care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to Radiology.


What is Radiology done for?

Radiology is an essential procedure for diagnosing an illness. It is used for the detection, analysis, and treatment of an illness. Furthermore, it is the method by which the doctor obtains thorough information regarding disease-related structural modifications.

What are the future trends in Radiology?

The future trend in Radiology includes artificial intelligence adoption, moving to web-based enterprise imaging systems and off-site cloud storage, photon counting CT, 3D mammography, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) technology, and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS).

Why do I need a Radiology scan?

Radiology allows doctors to observe structures inside your body. Using diagnostic pictures, radiologists and other professionals can:

  • Determine the origin of your symptoms

  • Keep track of how effectively your body is responding to treatment for your disease

  • Check for diseases such as colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, and other conditions

Who is a Radiologist?

A Radiologist means a physician who specialises in Radiology.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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