Radiology is a medical specialty that includes medical imaging and nuclear medicine (use of radioactive materials to visualize different organs and body structures).
The term radiology by extension designates all diagnostic and therapeutic techniques which use X-rays, or more generally radiation.
In addition to radiography, imaging techniques include:
- The ultrasound
- The scanner or computed tomography (also uses x-ray)
- The pet scan
- The nuclear magnetic resonance
- The scintigraphy, etc.
Discovered at the end of the 19th century, X-rays have the property of passing through tissues (in a variable manner depending on their density) and of printing an image on a photographic plate. Today, the result is generally obtained in the form of a digital image, but the principle remains the same: an X-ray beam is directed towards the region to be examined. Depending on the tissue crossed, the intensity of the beam is modulated and allows an image of the interior of the body to be obtained. Thus, the rays are very absorbed by the bones; they are moderately affected by soft tissue and weakly by fat.
Why use radiology?
Radiology is essential for the diagnosis of many diseases. It also makes it possible to follow their evolution and to intervene to treat various pathologies (interventional radiology).
The use of radiation can also make it possible to destroy cancer cells (radiotherapy).
In the medical field, imagery is used daily, for countless indications.
According to the French Society of Radiology, radiology is used more and more to guide interventions. Interventional radiology or imaging guidance can have:
- Diagnostic purposes: punctures, biopsies
- Therapeutic purposes.
The radiography vector uses an X-ray emitting source which is positioned in front of the body area to be radiographed. A detector is placed on the other side, to capture the rays after they have passed through the tissue.
The exam is painless and quick.
In some cases, contrast media (or contrast media) are used, for example, iodine or barium sulfate, which are opaque to X-rays. By injecting them into a vein, for example, they will "color" certain parts of the body and allow them to stand out on the pictures.
What results can we expect from radiology?
As we have seen, radiology techniques are essential for the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions.
They allow in particular to identify cancers, fractures, deformities, lesions of all kinds (arthritis, vascular anomalies, etc.).
However, imaging tests are expensive and are still prescribed for specific indications.
In addition, since X-rays can be harmful to tissues, especially at high doses or during repeated exposures, measures are taken to minimize patient exposure. It is also important to report to the doctor any pregnancy or doubt of pregnancy. The SFR recalls, however, that a simple radiographic photograph "corresponds on average to the average natural exposure (of the sun) suffered during a 4-hour trip by plane.”
Where possible, non-irradiating techniques (ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging) are recommended. Before undergoing an ultrasound, it is also suggested to know the ultrasound test price in Delhi first.