What Is Radiology?

Radiology is the branch of medicine that deals with the effects of production and diagnostic interpretation of radiological or therapeutic images. It is also called diagnostic radiology or diagnostic radiology. In fact, these terms are equivalent and are derived from the basic principle for obtaining radiological images, that is, the use of ionizing radiation. As they are not the only form of energy that can be used to obtain diagnostic images, the term diagnostic images is currently preferred, underlining how medical radiology should be framed within the broader field of imaging sciences.

What is radiology?

Radiodiagnostic techniques consist of obtaining images of the organism by means of X-ray equipment, which crosses the exploratory field that you wish to study.

Although radiology takes advantage of one of the many advantages of nuclear energy, at present, there are numerous advances in this field highlighting ultrasound techniques, which use ultrasound, or nuclear magnetic resonance that does not use ionizing radiation.

Radiodiagnosis Techniques

Radiology essentially uses X-rays to produce medical images, but not only. The main techniques are as follows:

  • Conventional radiography
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT), already called computed tomography (CT)
  • Angiography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    Ultrasound and magnetic resonance do not require ionizing radiation. In any case, they belong completely to the radiological corpus.

    Thanks to X radiology and nuclear medicine, skeletal, chest, abdomen, nervous system, digestive tract, urinary tract, heart, etc. studies can be performed. In the radiological image it is achieved that the X-ray beam crosses the area to be explored. Depending on the tissues, X-rays are absorbed differently. In this way an emergent beam is obtained that presents intensity variations, visible on a screen, which when revealed reveals an X-ray.

    Another important medical diagnostic radiodiagnostic technique is computerized axial tomography (CAT), which consists in obtaining in a computer the three-dimensional projection from the superimposed cuts of the organ to be studied, produced by a fine beam of collimated X-rays that revolve around it.

    Pediatric Radiology

    Pediatric radiology is the branch of radiology that deals with diagnostic imaging in the pediatric field: this specialty arises from the need for radiological research in children with criteria other than adults, both due to morphological and anatomo-radiological differences. Both for obvious protectionist problems.

    Importance of the Radiologist

    In particular, for Magnetic Resonance, the complexity of this technique makes the radiologist better prepared than other professional figures, with the specialization in diagnostic and intervention radiology being the only school that offers magnetic resonance training.

    In fact, the figure of the radiologist is central and necessary not only for the correct execution and interpretation of medical images, but also from a purely medical-legal point of view, such as the techniques that provide for the use of ionizing radiation for this purpose.

    In addition, the radiologist is the only doctor capable of correctly anticipating the use of an imaging technique, instead of another, to respond optimally to the question posed by the clinician; In addition, it is the only one capable of carrying out a balance of the radiation dose administered to the patient and implementing all available techniques to minimize it, reducing the risks of radio-induced carcinogenesis.

    Last but not least, the radiologist, by virtue of the knowledge of most diagnostic imaging techniques, is the only one capable of performing a synthesis, integrating the information derived from each of them.


    Published: October 2, 2015
    Last review: February 2, 2020