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Imaging and radiology

Interventional radiology; Diagnostic radiology; X-ray imaging

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.

Information

DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGY

Diagnostic radiology helps health care providers 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 RADIOLOGY

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 detect or treat conditions in almost any part of the body instead of directly looking 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:

References

Mettler FA. Introduction. In: Mettler FA, ed. Essentials of Radiology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 1.

Spratt JD. Technical aspects and applications of diagnostic radiology. In: Standring S, ed. Gray's Anatomy. 41st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 7.1.

Watson N. General notes. In: Watson N, ed. Chapman & Nakielny's Guide to Radiological Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 1.

Zeman EM, Schreiber EC, Tepper JE. Basics of radiation therapy. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 27.

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Review Date: 6/24/2019  

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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