Radiology is one of those branches of modern medicine that sounds scary on the surface but has great benefits. When most people think of Radiology, they think of radiation. While radiation treatments do fall under Radiology, it is much more than that. Since lots of Radiology information can be found online there is no excuse for being misinformed about it. Being informed about Radiology will help if you ever need to make a decision about using it.
What is Radiology?
Radiology is the branch of medicine that uses radiant energy to diagnose and treat diseases. Until the 1970s, Radiology was only used x-rays. A common use of x-rays has been diagnosing broken bones other problems that are easier to detect with an inside image. Since then it has expanded to include other technologies some of which use other forms of radiant energy. These other forms of radiation also include ways of treating cancer. Radiology does have some risks, they are outweighed by the benefit of saving one’s life.
What is Radiology used for?
Radiology is most often used to diagnose diseases and other problems. This is where imaging part of the technology is important. Whether it is x-rays, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging the goal is to look inside the person’s body, without surgery. These tools provide a way for doctors to see inside a patient’s body, allowing them to find tumours and broken bones and other problems. Radiation treatment is also used to treat several forms of cancer. It is most useful on tumours where the radiation can be targeted on the tumour to avoid damage to healthy tissue.
Kinds of Radiology
There are several types of procedures within Radiology. Many are for looking inside the body for the purpose of diagnosis and to get radiology information and others are used to treat diseases such as cancer.
- X-rays are the main form of Radiology that most people are familiar with. Their most well-known use is checking for broken bones. This technique shoots x-rays through a portion of the patient’s body to check the internal condition.
- Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look inside a patient’s body. The most familiar use of this technology is examining an unborn baby in the womb. Ultrasound works a lot like sonar. It sends high-frequency sound waves through the patient’s body the bounce back allowing the equipment to produce an image.
- Mammography uses X-rays to examine a woman’s breasts for cancer and other anomalies. These are essentially a specialized type of x-ray.
- Angiography a real-time X-rays of the inside of the body. It is often used along with a special dye to help the arteries show up on x-ray during the insertion of a stent into the artery.
- Magnetic resonance imaging uses a strong magnetic field in radiofrequency pulses to look inside the patient’s body. An antenna picks up the radio signals which are then processed by a computer into an image.
- Computed Tomography Scan takes images of the body in fine slices but the use of x-rays. The slices are then compiled into a detailed image but that part of the body.
- Nuclear Medicine diagnoses and treats disease by using radioactive medication; also called radiopharmaceuticals. They are usually injected into a vein. Doctors venues a gamma camera to track the movement of the radiopharmaceuticals by the gamma radiation they emit, allowing them to produce a three-dimensional image.
Benefits and risks of Radiology
Radiology has moved its risks and benefits. The risks come from the fact that is radiation involved. However, these risks are outweighed but the benefit potentially saving the patient’s life.