Radiology plays several crucial roles in medicine. It can be used for advanced testing and treatment, for screening and wellness, and to detect diseases and conditions. Think of radiology as a huge umbrella, with many specific technologies underneath it.
In the realm of testing and treatment, there is a wide range of radiology techniques, including, but not limited to:
X-ray, or radiography, is used to diagnose fractured bones, detect injury or infection, or to locate foreign objects in soft tissue. Some x-ray exams employ an iodine-based contrast material to clarify the visibility of specific organs like the heart, lungs, blood vessels or tissues.
Computed tomography (CT) creates detailed images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels. CT is considered by many doctors as the preferred method to detect cancer, since it can confirm the presence of a tumor and determine its size and location. In emergency cases, CT can quickly reveal internal injuries and bleeding to help save lives.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to detect conditions such as tumors and diseases of the liver, heart and bowel. MRI may also be used to monitor an unborn child in the womb.
Ultrasound imaging is an effective method of diagnosing unexplained pain, swelling and infection. It can provide imaging guidance for needle biopsies or evaluate conditions related to blood flow. Ultrasound is also the preferred imaging method for monitoring a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Mammography breast imaging uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer early —when it is most treatable. Mammography plays a leading role in early detection, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before you or your physician can feel them.