What exactly is a radiologist?

Radiologists are doctors who are trained in diagnosing and/or treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging procedures like x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and more. Certified and licensed radiologists have completed a minimum of 13 years of education, including pre-medical school (4 years), undergraduate medical school (4 years), and residency (5 years).

Many radiologists have also completed a fellowship of one or two additional years of residency to pursue subspecialty areas of focus that allow them to concentrate on single body parts/diseases through clinical work and research. Examples of these subspecialties include breast imaging, cardiovascular radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, and more.

Types of Radiology

Most people are prescribed three main types of radiology procedures: diagnostic, interventional, and neurointerventional.

Diagnostic radiology is used to identify diseases and injuries, and includes exams such as cardiac imaging, breast imaging, musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging, body imaging, ultrasound, PET, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and pediatric imaging.

Interventional radiology is used to treat diseases and injuries through the body’s vascular system by way of technology like CT and ultrasound to perform biopsies, drain fluids, insert catheters, or dilate or contract narrow vessels.

Neurointerventional radiology treats diseases and injuries specifically related to the central nervous system, head, neck, and spine, using tiny instruments to insert medication into blood vessels in the brain.