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What is Diagnostic Radiology?

What is Diagnostic Radiology?


The term Radiology refers to the science of using radiant energy to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Radiology dates right back to 1895 with the invention of the X-Ray. Since then the technology has evolved tremendously, with a wide variety of different techniques and machines offering different levels and types of imaging and access to the body.


Diagnostic Radiology

Diagnostic Radiology refers to technologies that take pictures of the internal body to help identify and diagnose ailments, and aid in creating effective and accurate treatment plans. These non-invasive methods of scanning the body produce detailed images of internal structures that radiologists and physicians can then interpret to inform and diagnose medical illness or injury.


Examples of Diagnostic Radiology

  • Ultrasound

A technique in which soundwaves are transmitted through the body to create images. Ultrasounds can be used to gain images of a variety of internal structures including organs, watch blood flow, musculoskeletal imaging, and is used to monitor pregnancies.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scans 
  • Orthopantomogram (OPG, or Dental X-Rays)
  • Nuclear Medicine Scans


How does radiology work?

When radiology first arrived in the medical world as an X-Ray, a camera like device with an X-Ray tube was used to send electromagnetic waves through the patient's body onto a detector - much like light waves onto the film of an old analogue camera. 

Once the X-Ray had finished the film was chemically developed to produce an image. The films were then physically delivered to the patients doctor or physician who would interpret the image. This process could sometimes take days.

While many traditional X-Ray machines still exist, now, with the advances in technology images are captured on a digital detector and transmitted instantly onto a computer screen. 

The digital progress of radiology means it is an excellent tool for physicians who need to see internal structures to help explore, identify and diagnose illness or injury without invasive procedures. 

It also means in the event abnormal or concerning results are found, radiologists can adjust the images taken to fully capture the issue. In cases where serious conditions are identified such as cancers, treatment can begin almost immediately.