Your radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury through the use of medical imaging techniques such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET), fusion imaging, and ultrasound. Because some of these imaging techniques involve the use of radiation, adequate training in and understanding of radiation safety and protection is important.
Your radiologist has graduated from an accredited medical school, passed a licensing examination, and completed a residency of at least four years of unique postgraduate medical education in, among other topics:
- Radiation safety/protection
- Radiation effects on the human body
- Appropriate performance and interpretation of quality radiologic and medical imaging examinations
The majority of radiologists also complete a fellowship — one to two additional years of specialized training in a particular subspecialty of radiology, such as breast imaging, cardiovascular radiology or nuclear medicine.
Your Radiologist Plays a Key Role in Your Healthcare By:
- Acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician (the doctor who sent you to the radiology department or clinic for testing) by aiding him or her in choosing the proper examination, interpreting the resulting medical images, and using test results to direct your care.
- Treating diseases by means of radiation (radiation oncology) or minimally invasive, image-guided therapeutic intervention (interventional radiology).
- Correlating medical image findings with other examinations and tests.
- Recommending further appropriate examinations or treatments when necessary and conferring with referring physicians.
- Directing radiologic technologists (personnel who operate the equipment) in the proper performance of quality exams.
Your Radiologist Has the Right Training, Knowledge, and Experience
When your referring doctors tell you they have reviewed your studies, what they usually mean is that they have reviewed the radiology report or gone over the study with your radiologist.
Radiologists are at the forefront of imaging technology, spearheading the development and implementation of modalities such as CT, MRI, PET, and fusion imaging as well as minimally invasive procedures such as endovascular treatment of aneurysms and tumors, percutaneous biopsies, and pinpoint radiation therapy.
Radiologists are usually board certified by the American Board of Radiology (for a medical doctor) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopathic doctor), an indication of a high level of training and demonstrated excellence in the field.