A radiologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis of disease and injury by interpreting medical imaging, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radiography, ultrasound and X-ray.
Radiologists often work closely with colleagues from nuclear medicine and oncology.
Advances in technology have expanded this field in medicine; applying for residency in radiology has, in turn, become progressively competitive. Schooling consists of prerequisite undergraduate education, a 4-year medical school, a 1-year internship and residency training for 4 years.
An additional 1 to 2 years of specialty fellowship training may be pursued after residency, including:
• Cardiovascular radiology: Diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
• Emerging radiology: Diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of trauma and non-traumatic emergency conditions.
• Breast imaging: Diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of breast diseases and conditions.
• Musculoskeletal imaging: Diagnostic imaging and diagnosis of the muscles and the skeleton.
• Interventional radiology: Imaging, diagnosis and treatment of patients that utilizes minimally invasive interventional techniques.
• Radiation oncology: The treatment of cancer with radiation.
Radiologists are often board certified by either the American Board of Radiology (for a medical physician) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopathic physician).
There are various careers within radiology, including diagnostic radiologists, veterinary radiologists and radiologist technicians.
Veterinary radiologists are certified in either diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology by the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Similar to their counterparts, veterinary radiologists specialize in imaging techniques that help diagnose and treat a myriad of diseases in animals using the same imaging techniques used on humans.
Diagnostic radiology helps physicians see structures within the body using X-rays, radionuclides, ultrasound and electromagnetic radiation in order to diagnose and treat a disease. There are various subspecialties within diagnostic radiology, including:
• Neuroradiology: Focuses on disorders of the brain, sinuses, spine, spinal cord, neck and the central nervous system.
• Nuclear radiology: Uses trace amounts of radioactive substances to produce images and provide information to make a diagnosis.
• Pediatric radiology: Involves imaging and interventional procedures focusing on abnormalities present at birth, as well as diseases specific to infants and children.
• Vascular and interventional radiology: Uses minimally-invasive procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system in the body.
A radiologic technologist, or radiographer, is trained to perform diagnostic imaging with X-ray. At larger institutions, a radiologic technologist performs imaging and submits results to the radiologist. In smaller hospitals or clinics, a radiologist usually performs both tasks. The median annual salary for a radiologic technologist was $57,450 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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