What is a Radiologist
In a way, radiologists are medical detectives. They are doctors with at least 5 years of special training after medical school to learn how to interpret or “read” imaging studies (xrays, CT scans, MRI, ultrasound and nuclear medicine). They help your doctor put all of the pieces together in order to come to an accurate diagnosis so they can determine the best course of treatment.
We’ve all heard the stories about people who go across the country or even overseas to see the “best doctor” for their respective condition. However, without a good radiologist they may have wasted a trip! The first step in getting better is figuring out what is wrong. After listening to you and performing a physical exam, many doctors order additional tests such as xrays, CT scans, MRI or ultrasound to get a look inside of your body and see what’s causing the problem. Interpreting these exams take years of special training, since some things can be very subtle and could be overlooked by those who are not specifically trained in this field.
Some radiologists are sub-specialty trained in reading various organ systems eg. Neuroradiology (spine, head and neck), Cardiac Imaging (heart, arteries and veins, and the lymphatics), Orthopedic Imaging (bone and joint abnormalities) and Oncology Imaging (tumors) just to name a few.
Make sure the radiologist that is reading your study is the right radiologist.