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 an MRI and why use it?

MRI actually stands for Magnetic resonance images that use radio waves, magnets, and a computer to operate.  An MRI is a top-level of viewing the inside of your body, aside from actually being on the operating table.  It is very detailed and is used to diagnose as well as to see how well a patient is responding to a diagnosis.  MRIs are a little different than you see with X-ray and CT scans as it doesn’t use any radiation.  Some things that doctors use MRIs for are:

  • Stroke
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Cancer
  • Brain injury
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Eye Problems
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Inner Ear Problems

There are different reasons for doctors to use an MRI.  It can be used to test the health of many organs including:

  • Prostate
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Breasts
  • Pancreas

There are certain risks with getting an MRI but your doctor will go over these.  You should not be pregnant or at least not in your first trimester, if possible to avoid.  If you have any metal inside your body such as a pacemaker or some sort of implant you shouldn’t be around this huge magnetic machine for obvious reasons.  So, be sure that you take off all body jewelry and external metal as well.

What to expect in an MRI

Before you enter the MRI room your technician will go over your procedure.  The machine is made of a large tube with holes at each end that they slide you in and out of.  Some people have issues with being in such an enclosed space.  Should you think that this might be a problem for you, let your doctor know and they will come up with a solution you both can agree on.

Many times you will get contrast dye before you have your MRI. This dye will help the doctors see your images better.  Typically it is not harmful and you don’t even know that you have had it.  However, some people say that they get a metal-like taste in their mouths.

Once you have had an MRI, you can typically go home from there.  However, if you are staying as an inpatient, they will take you back to your room.  It really doesn’t have much effect on the patient and is a pretty easy and simple test really.  However, some people really don’t like being in the tube.  While this is something simple to overcome for many, it is a no go for some.

Radiology works together to improve lives.

MRIs are a part of the radiology arsenal that helps doctors further understand what is going on in your body. Sometimes they will combine the various radiology techniques to further investigate what is happening.  These various radiology techniques are forever improving and expanding on what we can do in our healthcare systems.  This technology has come a long way in recent years. And, it is the technology of the future.  Now, all x-rays and testing are saved on a computer and can be shared between various doctors with ease.  When the information is digital it can be shared quickly and all around the world.  Unlike times where everything was on film or had to be sent over on disks.  We are now in a modern-day where it can be sent via the internet in seconds.  Getting patients faster results that are more accurate.