Radiography in Northern Virginia and Maryland
Radiography is a unique field of medicine that involves using radiation in order to produce diagnostic images of the body. These images are then interpreted to help medical professionals determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms, especially if those symptoms appear to stem from an internal issue.
The Difference Between Radiography and Radiology
There is often a bit of confusion surrounding these two similar areas of medicine, primarily because one cannot exist without another.
Individuals practicing in radiography, also known as radiographers, specialize in operating the machinery that is used to create detailed images of a patient’s internal tissues and structures. A radiographer is also responsible for prepping the patient prior to their examination by making sure that all safety protocols are properly completed. It is common for radiographers to be overseen or supervised by a radiologist.
Once the imaging test is complete, the process moves onto its second step, which is where the radiologist becomes involved. A radiologist is a particular type of licensed medical doctor that has usually studied in a niche specialty for diagnostic imaging, such as pediatric radiology for scans of children and young adults, or neuroradiology for scans of the brain. Radiologists analyze these various diagnostic images and give detailed insights about their findings in order to reach a conclusion about the source of the patient’s concerns. Radiologists may also provide treatment for the identified condition if it pertains to their practiced specialties.
Types of Imaging Tests Used at Radiology Imaging Associates
Diagnostic radiology is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of different tests, scans, and examinations. Many patients have completed these types of tests before, as they are often used in everyday life such as at the dentist’s office, or by a chiropractor.
Perhaps the most frequently used diagnostic imaging test, an X-ray uses electromagnetic radiation to produce images of dense tissues or bones within the patient’s body. There are many different types of specific X-rays that may be used to address problems in a particular area of the body, such as an abdominal X-ray or a chest X-ray.
Another extremely common type of examination, an ultrasound is especially beneficial when diagnosing issues of soft tissues within the body or situations that potentially involve internal bleeding. Rather than using radiation to assist in this process, an ultrasound is created using high-frequency sound waves to transmit images in real-time.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan, also known as a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan, is able to give your radiologist cross-sectional images of the patient’s body. A cross-sectional image is useful because it offers more defined visuals than a standard X-ray.
Magnetic resonance imaging goes one step further than a CT or CAT scan by providing even more detailed imaging of an individual’s organs, tendons, and other soft tissues. MRIs may be administered without the use of radiation, though eliminating this component causes the scan to take significantly longer.
Before a positron emission tomography (PET) scan begins, patients will have radioactive tracers introduced to their body. Though these tracers may sound a bit frightening, they are completely harmless as they work to identify problems inside the body at a cellular level.
Mammograms are routinely used to screen women for breast cancer. This type of test may also be given to definitively diagnose a case of breast cancer. Each of these objectives is achieved by using a mammogram to diagnose any possible instances of abnormal breast tissue that can be further evaluated by a radiologist.
A fluoroscopy combines the technology of an X-ray with contrast dye to give your radiologist moving photos of regular bodily functions. This may be applied to both soft tissues such as organs, as well as hard tissues like bones.