Radiology is the branch of medicine that uses radioactive substances, electromagnetic radiation, and sound waves to create images of the body, its organs, and structures for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Images can also show how effectively the body and its internal organs and structures are functioning.
Radiology has evolved into a high-tech science with state-of-the-art equipment to aid in imaging every aspect of the body.
While there has been concern over the potential harmful side effects associated with the use of radiation, it is believed that the risks are outweighed by the information gained about patients' conditions and radiology's contribution to medical science.
Radiology offers both diagnostic and therapeutic services. The specialty areas of radiology include four distinct approaches.
Diagnostic radiology uses external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for medical diagnostic purposes.
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to create an image of the body, its organ functions, and structure, for diagnostic and treatment purposes.
Interventional radiology uses various imaging techniques to guide the insertion of small instruments and tools through the body to identify and treat a medical disorder without requiring conventional surgery.
Radiation oncology is a separate specialty that uses radiant energy to study, treat, and manage cancer and related diseases. Radiation oncologists prescribe and manage the radiation therapy.