Radiologists – What they Do & Why You Need One

Who is a Radiologist?

Radiologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing injuries and diseases using medical imaging procedures and radiology tests such as X-rays, CT Scans (computed tomography), MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), nuclear medicine, PET Scans (positron tomography), and ultrasounds. 

Doctors today require the help of diagnostic imaging to manage patients. For many diseases, your general physician and your treating doctors rely on radiology test results to confirm your diagnosis and the course of your treatment. Radiologists are the doctors who specialize in interpreting the results of these radiology tests. Primary care physicians and other specialists turn to radiologists for a consultation to determine the safest and most effective exam, what the results mean for the patient and the treatment options.

In most cases, you don’t get to meet the radiologist who is working on your case, but don’t worry, you can trust they possess the knowledge and expertise to help you and your doctor make informed decisions about your health care treatment.

When To Visit a Radiologist?

You’ll likely have to visit a radiologist after a recommendation from another physician or doctor. These referring doctors can be your primary care doctors or a specialist like an orthopedic surgeon.

Some reasons you might need to visit a radiologist include:-

  • Blocked arteries or other vessels
  • Broken bone
  • Foreign objects in the body
  • Infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Screening for cancer or tumors
  • Torn muscle
  • Trauma and accidents

If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned complications, search for a “radiologist near me”, and consult one immediately.

What to Expect on Your First Visit?

Depending on your procedure, your appointment to the radiology department can take just minutes or last up to 2 hours or more. You usually don’t need to prepare for your radiology department appointment, but some radiology tests may require you to avoid certain foods, medications, and drinks beforehand.

Always tell the doctor if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. In such cases, X-rays and CT Scans can be performed using a radiation cover or with low-dose radiation. Also, sometimes your doctor may want to use a different imaging test if possible in order to completely avoid radiation exposure to your baby.

Below are some of the most common radiology tests performed by doctors:-

  • X-ray
    You have probably had your ankle or wrist X-ray advised by an orthopedic surgeon. A medical X-ray is just as simple. You lie or stand and position yourself as instructed by the doctor. It is over in minutes. You may have to get an X-ray after a road accident, or if you are having trouble breathing, pneumonia, lung cancer, or other conditions.
  • CT scan
    A CT scan gives a more comprehensive look at your body as compared to X-rays. Beams of X-rays circle your body to view your organs, bones, and other parts from several angles. You’ll have to lie extremely still on a padded table as it slides into a short, open-ended tunnel. This radiology test is used to check a complicated bone fracture, internal bleeding, infections, tumor size, and other conditions.
  • CT scan
    One of the common use of this radiology test is known for taking pictures of babies while they are still in their mother's womb. Ultrasounds use sound waves to help pinpoint pre-natal conditions such as heart damage, swelling, infection, tumors, and other things. Other than above indication ultrasound is also used in diagnosing diseases in human body like several abdominal diseases, etc.
  • MRI
    Instead of radiation, MRIs use the magnetic field to take a look inside your body. These allow your radiologist to better evaluate soft tissue structures inside your body. It is especially useful for scanning the brain and spinal cord to check for torn ligaments or tumors. Let your doctor know if you are or could be pregnant or if you have any metal parts or electronic implants in your body such as a pacemaker, artificial knee, dental fillings, cochlear implant for hearing, etc. Also if you are claustrophobic, you inform your doctor prior to the tests.
  • PET scan
    PET (Positron emission tomography) scan is a type of nuclear medicine imagining radiology test. It uses a small amount of radioactive material to examine the inside of your body at the level of molecules. So PET scans can detect cancer or diseases related to your heart, brain, nerves, and elsewhere better than other radiology tests can.

How to Become a Radiologist?

To become a radiologist, a doctor must receive five & half years of training in M.B.B.S from medical college, after that postgraduation in Radiodiagnosis is required. Further, they can either pursue organ-based advance training in Gastrointestinal Radiology, Thoracic Radiology, Pediatric Radiology or a Fellowship in ‘Oncoradiology and Intervention’ or Interventional Radiology.

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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