Diagnostic radiology helps health care professionals 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
- 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 a chest x-ray
- Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging, PET scan, or PET-CT when it is combined with CT
Interventional radiology covers imaging such as CT, ultrasound, MRI, and fluoroscopy to help guide procedures.
This 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 use this technology to diagnose and or, treat conditions in almost any part of the body instead of needing to directly look 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).
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