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If you’re looking for Colorado radiology, it’s wise to learn about what radiology actually is, first. That way, you can prepare yourself for your scan!
Radiology is an exceptionally complex job, not just because of the equipment involved, but the analytical skill that’s needed to interpret the scans. But considering the extensive training that radiologists have to do, you will always be in safe hands when you go for a scan.
It would be difficult for us to explain all the ins and outs of how radiology works. But we can at least give you the basics. So let’s find out what radiologists do, and how they do it!
Colorado radiology: what does a radiologist do?
A radiologist is a trained medical doctor who specialises in imagery techniques like X-ray radiography, MRI scanning or ultrasound. These methods work on the same principles, but use different methods to achieve the same thing. They take images of your insides without having to open you up! X-rays use radiation, ultrasound uses sound waves, and MRI scanning uses magnetism. All of these methods give roughly similar results, at least from the standpoint of somebody not trained to be a medical doctor!
Before the advent of radiology with the first X-ray imaging, there was no way of knowing if there was something wrong with your tissue without performing diagnostic surgery. At the time when scientists invented radiography- around the turn of the twentieth century- surgery was a risky business anyway. So unless your physician could physically feel a lump underneath your skin, they wouldn’t know anything about it until it caused you some serious trouble.
What a radiologist therefore does is to identify and diagnose any problems you may have before they affect you. This could mean finding a tumor at an early stage, or identifying problems with your spine of blood flow. Different scans are required to meet certain aims. So, for instance, ultrasound scanning is used for pregnant women to see their babies because it can’t harm the mother or delicate fetus. X-ray imaging carries unnecessary risks for this purpose, but is better for identifying detail in broken bones and fractures.
Colorado radiology: how does a radiologist learn to do what they do?
Radiologists require extensive training before they can practise. First, a budding radiologist has to earn a basic bachelor’s degree, before moving on to medical school. Without a solid grounding in biology, chemistry and physics, a medical student will have a difficult time But even those who’ve wanted to be medical doctors all their lives might still struggle!
All radiologists begin their careers learning to be regular medical doctors. They learn everything that medical doctors learn: anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology and so on. After two years of classroom learning at med school, radiologists then go through two years of clinical rotations. This means that they practise in different areas of medicine like psychiatry, surgery and pediatrics. This is to give them a solid, all-round understanding of what it means to be a physician. If they successfully navigate the stresses and strains of their first real job in the industry, they can either carry on down the road towards being a regular physician, or begin to specialise in radiology.
Colorado radiology specialists spend four years in a radiology residency. What this means is that they spend four years receiving even more education, while working at the same time. This is like the clinical rotations that all medical doctors go through. The only difference is that this time, the radiologist in training will learn the different specialities of radiology. That means that they’ll spend time working with CT, X-ray and MRI scanners before specialising in one or continuing to work with all. Even then, experienced radiologists may have to take advanced training courses to learn how to work with new and emerging equipment.
Is a radiologist the same thing as a radiographer?
No. A radiologist is different by degree to a radiographer. Both radiologists and radiographers are vital to the scanning process. Radiologists are busy medical professionals. Radiographers take on the responsibility of scanning so that radiologists are free to take their time looking over the scans.
Radiologists are trained medical doctors who specialise not in physically taking scans, but in interpreting them. This means that radiologists are the people who look at your scans and tell you if there’s anything wrong with your insides. As we’ve already pointed out, this takes significant medical training. The image to the left is easy enough to understand. There’s clearly something wrong with the patient’s spine! But many problems like early stage tumors are difficult to spot unless you’ve spent a lot of time training to look for them.
A radiographer is the person who performs your X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan. While they are still medical professionals, the difference is in degree, like between a nurse and a surgeon. Both are qualified and fully trained, but to do different things. A radiographer would not necessarily be able to identify any abnormalities in your MRI scan; but your radiologist may not know how to use the machine that takes the scan in the first place!