Being told by your doctor that you need to have a radiology screening done may be frightening if you are unfamiliar with what radiology is and how it works. There are many several reasons to have a radiology screening performed, whether it is for x-rays, ultrasounds, mammography, or other types of scans that can aid in your overall health.
If you are confused about all that is done in a radiology department or service center, and what your trip might entail, here is everything that you need to know before visiting.
What is radiology?
Radiology is medical imaging that assists in diagnosing an issue or problem with a patient. During the process, the body will be scanned by a machine that creates images to help doctors understand what is going on below the surface of the skin.
Why do I need radiology?
A patient might need radiology for several distinct reasons. Most commonly it is to help aid in a diagnosis. It can also be used as a preventative measure or to make sure the body is functioning and working in the proper way. Certain types of scans can be used to see if the heart is behaving normally, another, like a mammogram, can be used to prevent breast cancer if done early enough in the development stages. No matter what type of scans it is, every type can help get a deeper look at the body and see how it is changing.
How are these images used?
The images that are taken are used by the radiologists and your primary care doctor. Both will use these scans to check on the health of a patient and to create a treatment plan if concerning items are found.
Who works in radiology?
Radiology departments or service centers are staffed with board-certified radiologists, experienced radiology technicians, and nurses. The professionals have gone through certifications and years of training to be able to operate radiology equipment in a safe manner. The staff has been trained on how to read images that are produced in the radiology sessions to assist the primary care physicians with a diagnosis.
What does a radiologist do?
A radiologist is an important part of the medical process and has a key role when it comes to formulating a diagnosis. In addition to assisting the primary care doctor with diagnosis, a radiologist will also aid the doctor in what type of treatments or imaging processes to order and might even carry out the appointments. Then they can give feedback for recommended treatments or other procedures that need to be done based on the results of the scans. Radiologists can also assist in administering therapeutic radiology that will help a patient recover and improve their life.
What does radiology involve?
Radiology consists of several types of scans. There is a quick list below, along with what each scan specifically looks for.
X-Ray: can aid in checking the body for bone breakage and foreign objects
MRI: Can get a more detailed look at the internal structures of the body and see if there are any issues.
Bone Density: Like an x-ray, it is used to help define and see bone loss and erosion. Used to identify osteoporosis.
Mammography: Uses small doses of radiation to help detect signs of breast cancer before it can fully develop- when it is easier to treat.
CT (CAT Scan): A combination of an MRI and X-Rays, a CT scan can look at the organs, bones, soft tissues and blood vessels. They can also create three- dimensional images.
Ultrasound: Creates sounds waves and does not use radiation in its imaging.
Vascular Studies: Also using sounds waves, checks the circulatory system of the body to help see blood clots and other blockages.
Echocardiograms: uses sound waves to see the heart and can be used to test for heart disease.
There are many reasons that someone might have to get a radiology screening done, and while it might seem concerning or intimidating, the scans are safe and necessary. The primary care doctor and the radiology staff work together to further the health and lifespan of a patient. If you are still concerned or uncertain as to what radiology does, feel free to call us at Gonzaba with your questions. We are in San Antonio and have 4locations that can help with your radiology orders and any questions that you might have.