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Radiology is the field of medicine that uses imaging techniques (such as X-rays) to diagnose and treat disease. It may be used diagnostically in order to determine if a medical condition is present or not (such as finding a lung cancer), interventionally as a procedure (such as removing a blood clot in an artery), or as a treatment. such as giving radiation therapy to treat cancer.

Here’s a look at the different uses for diagnostic imaging, conditions that may be treated with radiologic techniques, cautions and warnings about potential adverse effects, and the medical professionals you may encounter when you have a radiological test or procedure.

  • X-ray Imaging: X-rays are used to create images of the body’s internal structures, primarily for detecting bone fractures, lung infections, and other abnormalities.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: CT scans provide detailed cross-sectional images of the body, allowing the diagnosis of various conditions, including injuries, tumors, and vascular disorders.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate high-resolution images of soft tissues, helping diagnose brain and spinal cord disorders, joint injuries, and more.

  • Ultrasound Imaging: Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of organs, blood vessels, and developing fetuses. It is commonly used for pregnancy monitoring and evaluating abdominal and pelvic structures.

  • Mammography: Mammography is specialized X-ray imaging of the breast tissue, primarily used for breast cancer screening and diagnosis.

  • Fluoroscopy: Fluoroscopy is a real-time X-ray imaging technique used during procedures like barium enemas, swallowing studies, and cardiac catheterization to visualize moving structures.

Therapeutic radiology was developed just a few years after X-rays were discovered in 1895 and radium in 1898. The first cure of cancer by radiation was reported in 1899. It involved a case of skin cancer. Radiation oncology became a medical specialty in 1922.

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside your body, as with x-rays of your teeth or broken bones. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) Volumetric modulated radiation therapy (VMAT) Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)

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