Nature of the
Imaging is central to diagnosis, patient
management and increasingly to aid minimally invasive therapy.
Clinical radiologists work closely with many other medical
specialties and, through leadership of the multidisciplinary
meetings, are integral members of many clinical teams.
Working in clinical radiology
Just like other doctors, many clinical
radiologists have an area or areas of special interest in which
they have a high level of expertise, e.g. chest physician – chest
radiologist. Clinicians with questions relating to their specialty
will tend to seek out the corresponding expert imager. Contemporary
radiologists have tended to move away from being imaging modality
specific (ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI)) to become specialists in organ systems.
A rapidly expanding field
Over the last 25 years the role of
radiologists has expanded with major developments in imaging
technology and therapy.
This is an exciting and dynamic field, the
range and technological capability of imaging modalities increases
almost daily. Radiologists are able to demonstrate the site and
nature of pathology to their clinical colleagues allowing more
precise diagnosis and better informed management decisions
Imaging includes many modalities including
techniques which are not reliant on ionizing radiation such as
ultrasound and MRI.
Multislice CT scanners with Multiplanar
reformats are indispensible to diagnosis. As the speed and
resolution of CT images continues to increase many traditional
studies are becoming obsolete.
Positron emission tomography (PET) and
molecular imaging have become central to the management of patients
with cancer, their role in this and other diseases continues to
The therapeutic aspect of radiology is also
flourishing and expanding all the time. It could be considered as
“pinhole” surgery when compared to “keyhole” surgical techniques.
The range of conditions which can be treated by interventional
radiology is increasing. Just as diagnostic radiologists may focus
on one organ system interventional radiologists often practice
either vascular intervention (the diagnosis and treatment of
patients with vascular pathologies including haemorrhage, vascular
occlusion and aneurysm disease) or non-vascular intervention
(including tumour ablation therapies, relief of urinary, biliary
and bowel obstruction, management of abscesses and fluid
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