Radiology is the medical discipline that uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases within the bodies of animals and humans. A variety of imaging techniques such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography (PET), fluoroscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose or treat diseases. Interventional radiology is the performance of usually minimally invasive medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies such as those mentioned above.
Radiology, also known as diagnostic imaging, is a series of tests that take pictures or images of parts of the body. The field encompasses two areas — diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology — that both use radiant energy to diagnose and treat diseases.
Types of 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:
Diagnose the cause of your symptoms
Monitor how well your body is responding to a treatment you are receiving for your disease or condition
Screen for different illnesses, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, or heart disease
The most common types of diagnostic radiology exams include:
Computed tomography (CT), also known as a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, including CT angiography
- Fluoroscopy, including upper GI and barium enema
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
- Nuclear medicine, which includes such tests as a bone scan, thyroid scan, and thallium cardiac stress test
- Plain x-rays, which includes chest x-ray
- Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging, PET scan, or PET-CT when it is combined with CT
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:
- Angiography or angioplasty and stent placement
- Embolization to control bleeding
future of radiology:
Molecular imaging and genomics
Molecular imaging and genomics are growing areas of radiology. Molecular imaging allows biological processes within the body to be viewed at a cellular and molecular level. These techniques allow doctors to detect diseases at the earliest stages and can be used to diagnose and manage many different diseases and conditions. Genomics is the study of the body’s genes, their functions and their influence on the growth, development and working of the body. These new forms of diagnostics will revolutionise and wider healthcare, allowing doctors to predict and more accurately diagnosis disease and to develop personalised treatments.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will also have an important role to play in the future of . AI will become part of radiologists’ daily practice, helping clinicians improve efficiency and diagnostic capacity. AI has the potential to sift through a huge quantity of imaging data in seconds, assisting radiologists by helping to prioritise worklists and diagnoses. This in turn will give radiologists more time for direct patient care and vital research. As AI develops, its role in radiology will become more widespread and important.
Advancing interventional radiology
Demands for interventional radiology procedures are growing year-on-year across the UK and we will need to train more doctors in interventional techniques. For example, the NHS England Long Term Plan has ambitious aims to expand the provision of stroke thrombectomy and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence now recommends artery embolisation for men with enlarged prostates – both types of procedure depend on hospitals having enough interventional radiologists.
Radiology is now the key diagnostic tool for many diseases and has an important role in monitoring treatment and predicting outcome. It has a number of imaging modalities in its armamentarium which have differing physical principles of varying complexity.