Radiology & Radiological Science

Radiologists are medical doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases using medical imaging (radiology) procedures (exams/tests) such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound. Radiologists complete at least 13 years of training, including medical school, a four-year residency, and most often, an additional one- or two-year fellowship of very specialized training, such as radiation oncology, pediatric radiology, or interventional radiology. They are certified by the American Board of Radiology, and they have exacting requirements for continuing medical education throughout their practicing years.

What is a CT scan and why use it?

CT or CAT Scan is actually a computed tomography scan that allows doctors to look inside you at your bones and organs without actually having you on the operating table.  All CT scans are pretty much painless. They are used to diagnose a number of things and are typically found in the radiology department.  The machine will use a combination of computer images to show the various bones, organs, and other tissues.

The machine will xray around the body and show the image as a cross slice of the body.  These slices can then be put back together to give you a full-scale model of what the person looks like on the inside.  The machine is about the size of a large room.

While the slices are gathered the computer keeps track of the order in which they are gathered so they can make a 3d image of the inside of your body.  Surgeons many times want a CT Scan to prepare for surgery.  This allows them to see a tumor for example and how it is thriving and attached to the body.  This allows them to fully prepare for the surgery and not have surprises on the operating table.  Because of this, modern-day medicine is far better than we have had in the past.  In fact, since all images are digital it is simple to get a second opinion. And, the doctors can zoom in on the images to see things up close that might be something that is very small.  This allows them to further help their patients have a successful surgery.

Some reasons we use CT Scan

There is actually a long list of reasons that doctors use CT.  Some of these reasons are:

  • Assist in tumor location, size, and infections.
  • Looking for internal bleeding issues and developing a plan before surgery.
  • Work with patients that have heart disease, cancer, liver masses, or emphysema.
  • Helps with radiation therapy, biopsies and allows doctors to come up with a proper treatment plan.
  • Helps with joint and bone problems that are more complex than a simple x-ray can assist with.

While CTs are very useful.  The machines are quite large and expensive.  Because of this, you won’t find CTs being offered in small clinics such as vets, chiropractors, dental offices, and other small medical centers.  Typically a CT scan will be done at a hospital or radiology center.  Once complete they will send the images to a radiologist to be read.  This is a doctor that you may never meet.  However, they will know all about you according to your chart.  Medial charts are all digital these days.  So, it is easy for doctors to communicate about a patient, without ever actually meeting them.

There are many different ways to do a CT Scan and rules.  Such as you might have to have some contrast injected into your veins or you might be asked not to drink or eat anything.  Oftentimes a CT scan is done while you are in a hospital gown by a radiology technician.