What is radiology?
Radiology is a part of medical science that specialises in the diagnosis of diseases by obtaining and interpreting medical images.
Medical images are obtained in a variety of ways. Some using X-rays or radioactive substances, others by using sound waves or the body’s natural magnetism. Results may be combined with other examinations and tests to help decide on the most appropriate treatment.
The field of Radiology includes diagnosis (and treatment) for all ages and across and inside all parts of the human body. Because there are so many aspects to radiology there can be various ‘sub-specialities’ where doctors and their staff specialise in specific parts of the body or uses of radiological technology.
Radiologists are medical specialists who, after completing their medical degrees, specialise for another four years in the interpreting of X-rays and scans. Training involves learning to understand and interpret images from X-rays, ultrasound, CT and MRI as well as advising referring doctors on the best ways of imaging (getting results and images) for specific problems. Radiologists work in collaboration with referring doctors and specialists, providing advice and are always available to discuss the results of diagnostic tests and examinations with their patients.
Radiographers form part of the diagnostic team by operating the equipment and producing the X-rays and images used by the radiologists to make their diagnosis. An important part of their job is to explain the procedure to the patient and ensure that the equipment is used optimally. Radiographers qualify through formal training of up to four years and may go on to work exclusively in a specialist field of radiology.