Radiology is the specialty directing medical imaging technologies to diagnose and sometimes treat diseases. Originally it was the aspect of medical science dealing with the medical use of X-ray machines or other such radiation devices for the purpose of obtaining visual images as part of medical investigation. Radiology that involves use of x-ray is called roentgenology. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen first discovered x-radiation on November 8, 1895 at the Physical Institute of Wuerzburg University. He named the radiation he had discovered “X-radiation,” a term still in use today. His work was first published in a meeting protocol of the Wuerzburg Physical-Medical Society in the 1895 volume; the article was submitted by W.C. Roentgen on December 28, 1895.
Today the filed of practice is much larger than roentgenography. Following extensive training, radiologists direct a variety of imaging technologies such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose and/or treat disease. Interventional radiology is the performance of (usually) minimally invasive medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies. The acquisition of medical imaging is usually carried out by the radiographer or radiologic technologist. Outside medicine, radiology includes the examination of the inner structure of objects using X-rays or other penetrating radiation.
As a medical specialty, radiology can be classified broadly into Diagnostic Radiology and Therapeutic Radiology. Diagnostic rteadiology is the interpretation of images of the human body to aid in the diagnosis and/or prognosis of disease. It is divided into subfields by anatomic location and in some cases by method, as follows:
- Chest Radiology.
- Abdominal & Pelvic Radiology (aka Body Imaging)
- Interventional Radiology uses imaging to guide therapeutic and angiographic procedures (aka Vascular & Interventional Radiology)
- Neuroradiology (brain, spine, head, and neck imaging)
- Interventional Neuroradiology (imaging to guide therapeutic and angiographic procedures in the head, neck and spine)
- Musculoskeletal Radiology (bone, joint, and muscular imaging)
- Pediatric Radiology
- Mammography (breast tissue)
- Nuclear Medicine (radioisotopes in the delineation of lesions and disease processes; often yields functional information)