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Radiology

Radiology is the medical discipline that uses medical imaging to diagnose diseases and guide their treatment, within the bodies of humans and other animals. It began with radiography (which is why its name has a root referring to radiation), but today it includes all imaging modalities, including those that use no electromagnetic radiation (such as ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging), as well as others that do, such as computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography (PET). Interventional radiology is the performance of usually minimally invasive medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies such as those mentioned above.

The modern practice of radiology involves several different healthcare professions working as a team. The radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed the appropriate post-graduate training and interprets medical images, communicates these findings to other physicians by means of a report or verbally, and uses imaging to perform minimally invasive medical procedures.[1][2] The nurse is involved in the care of patients before and after imaging or procedures, including administration of medications, monitoring of vital signs and monitoring of sedated patients.[3] The radiographer, also known as a "radiologic technologist" in some countries such as the United States and Canada, is a specially trained healthcare professional that uses sophisticated technology and positioning techniques to produce medical images for the radiologist to interpret. Depending on the individual's training and country of practice, the radiographer may specialize in one of the above-mentioned imaging modalities or have expanded roles in image reporting.

Nuclear medicine imaging involves the administration into the patient of radiopharmaceuticals consisting of substances with affinity for certain body tissues labeled with radioactive tracer. The most commonly used tracers are technetium-99m, iodine-123, iodine-131, gallium-67, indium-111, thallium-201 and fludeoxyglucose (18F) (18F-FDG). The heart, lungs, thyroid, liver, brain, gallbladder, and bones are commonly evaluated for particular conditions using these techniques. While anatomical detail is limited in these studies, nuclear medicine is useful in displaying physiological function. The excretory function of the kidneys, iodine-concentrating ability of the thyroid, blood flow to heart muscle, etc. can be measured. The principal imaging devices are the gamma camera and the PET Scanner, which detect the radiation emitted by the tracer in the body and display it as an image. With computer processing, the information can be displayed as axial, coronal and sagittal images (single-photon emission computed tomography - SPECT or Positron-emission tomography - PET). In the most modern devices, nuclear medicine images can be fused with a CT scan taken quasisimultaneously, so the physiological information can be overlaid or coregistered with the anatomical structures to improve diagnostic accuracy.