Modern technology gives doctors many options when it comes to diagnosing a patient’s condition. Some techniques are invasive, others exploratory, and others are minimally or non-invasive. Diagnostic radiology refers to a group of methods that utilize non-invasive techniques to identify and monitor certain diseases.
Diagnostic radiology refers to the field of medicine that uses non-invasive imaging scans to diagnose a patient. The tests and equipment used sometimes involves low doses of radiation to create highly detailed images of an area.
Examples of diagnostic radiology include:
- Radiography (X-rays)
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scans
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans
- Nuclear Medicine Scans
Diagnostic radiology can be used to identify a wide range of problems. Broken bones, heart conditions, blood clots, and gastrointestinal conditions are just a few of the problems that can be identified by diagnostic imaging.
In addition to identifying problems, doctors can use diagnostic radiology to monitor how your body is responding to a current treatment. Diagnostic radiology can also screen for diseases such as breast cancer and colon cancer.
Technology Used in Radiology
The technology and machinery used in radiology varies from method to method. Some use radiation while others do not.
The most common machines used in radiology are:
- X-ray Machine: Uses X-rays, a type of electromagnetic radiation, to produce images of the interior of the body without having to make any incisions.
- CT Scanner: Uses X-ray equipment to create a sequence of cross-sectional images of the body. Often used when a doctor needs highly detailed images to study in order to identify the source of a problem, especially on soft tissue.
- MRI Machine: Uses a magnetic field instead of radiation to produce images of the inside of a body. Used for parts of the body that CT scanners cannot produce clear images of, such as bones.
Some of the diagnostic tests may require compounds to be ingested or chemicals to be injected for a clear view of your blood veins. Other tests may require anesthesia and a scope in order for a doctor to clearly determine the problem.
Interventional radiology uses imaging technology such as CT scans, MRI, and Ultrasounds to help guide medical procedures. This technology eliminates the need for surgery and scopes to diagnose and treat certain conditions. Instead, patients are often awake during the procedure or under very mild sedation.
Common uses for interventional radiology include:
- Treating cancers
- Treating blockages in arteries or veins
- Treating back pain
- Treating liver and kidney problems
Interventional radiologists are highly specialized radiologists who have extra training and experience to safely and accurately perform these procedures.