Specialisms within radiology

April 4, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Radiology is a medical speciality in which a wide range of radiologic methodologies are employed in the diagnosis and treatment of different diseases. Diagnostic radiology encompasses the use of a variety of diagnostic and image-guided therapeutic techniques, including all aspects of radiological diagnosis ranging from diagnostic ultrasound, nuclear radiology and interventional procedures to computed tomography, magnetic resonance and other forms of radiant energy.
Physicians specialising in diagnostic radiology primarily work in hospitals and can specialise in areas as diverse as abdominal imaging and intervention, nuclear medicine, vascular intervention, chest and cardiac imaging, paediatric imaging, neuroimaging and intervention and mammography. A diagnostic radiologist is essentially the eye of medicine, helping the primary care physician diagnose and treat diseases. Research and technological innovations are rapid in this field. In recent years the radiologist’s role has grown tremendously because of the huge technological developments that have been made.

Subspecialties of diagnostic radiology

Vascular & Interventional Radiology: Vascular and interventional radiologists help diagnose and treat diseases by employing various radiologic imaging modalities including sonography, computed tomography, digital radiography, magnetic resonance and imaging fluoroscopy. They use their expertise in reading ultrasound, X-rays, and other medical images to guide small instruments such as catheters through the blood vessels or other appropriate pathways in order to treat disease percutaneously. Common interventional radiological procedures include thrombolytic therapy for blood clots, needle biopsy, angioplasty infection and abscess drainage. When compared to traditional surgery, these procedures are typically less invasive and cheaper too. Practice options include academic medical centres, community hospitals, and group private practices.
Neuroradiology: A neuroradiologist is a specialist who is responsible for diagnosing and treating diseases using imaging procedures as they relate to the brain, spine and spinal cord, head, neck and organs of special sense in adults and children.
Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology: Endovascular surgical neuroradiology is a subspecialty that uses radiologic imaging, catheter technology and clinical expertise to diagnose and treat diseases of the central nervous system.
Cardiothoracic Radiology: Cardiothoracic radiology involves the application and interpretation of imaging examinations and interventional procedures related to the lungs, chest wall, heart, pleura, pericardium and the thoracic vascular system in the adult. Imaging methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, computed tomography (CT), routine radiography, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and interventional techniques.
Musculoskeletal Radiology: Musculoskeletal radiology specialists are responsible for the interpretation and application all imaging procedures and examinations as they relate to the analysis of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This includes the bones, joints, and soft tissues. Imaging methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, routine radiography, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance, computed tomography arthrography, and image-guided percutaneous biopsy techniques.
Abdominal Radiology: Abdominal radiology involves the application and interpretation of diagnostic radiology as they apply to diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary tract, and the intraperitoneal and extra peritoneal abdominal regions.
Paediatric Radiology: A radiologist who is proficient in all forms of diagnostic imaging as it pertains to the treatment of diseases in the newborn, infant, child, and adolescent. A paediatric radiologist specialist has knowledge of both imaging and interventional procedures related to the care and management of diseases of children. A paediatric radiologist must be highly knowledgeable of all organ systems as they relate to growth and development as well as congenital malformations, diseases peculiar to infants and children, and diseases that begin in childhood but cause substantial residual impairment in adulthood.
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