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Friday, September 18, 2020

What is a Radiologist? Everything You Need to Know

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A medical expert who specializes in medical imaging and uses it to determine and treat different complications and injuries is known as a radiologist. A radiologist handles delicate machines that help doctors diagnose physical conditions and to treat injuries.

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We would be discussing what a radiologist does, the training they have to go through, and the types of radiology. Read on to find out more.


Radiologists are responsible for analyzing images like X-rays, for assisting in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating several conditions or injuries.

A radiologist isn’t the same as a radiographer, even thou they both work with medical imaging. Radiographers are experts who handle and operate the machines.

The two types of radiologists include;

  • Medical physicists
  • Diagnostic radiologist


There are different specialties of radiology, and they include:

Diagnostic radiology

Diagnostic radiologists adopt the use of medical imaging to treat and diagnose illnesses. Diagnostic radiologists use various imaging method, which includes:

  • Ultrasounds
  • X-rays
  • Radionuclides
  • Electromagnetic radiation

Interventional radiology

This set of radiologists use imaging to provide therapy to patients with noncancerous tissues. For instance, an interventional radiologist could use medical imaging to aid a surgical procedure.

The imaging process can make surgery safer. It can also lead to quicker recovery times. They operate on keyhole surgery, which involves creating small cuts rather than large ones and employing the use of tiny cameras to view the inside of the body.

Radiation oncology

In the treatment of cancer, a radiation oncologist uses radiation-based therapy. The therapy involves using high energy radiation to kill cancer cells, hence stopping further spread of cancer.

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Radiation oncologists use radiation to reduce symptoms, and in some cases, treat the condition entirely.

Medical physics

Medical physicists make use of their knowledge of physics to aid the practice of medicine in many ways. For example, they can give advice on and support technical areas of medical imaging.

Their job is to ensure the safety and well-being of patients during procedures and the efficiency of the results.

We have medical physicists who are also researchers, and they play a crucial role in the development of new medical technology. Medical physicists have developed many devices that many medical doctors use, like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

What do radiologists do?

Radiologists are employed to work in clinical practices, universities, or hospitals. Their areas of expertise differ depending on their specialty.

They all work with medical imaging methods such as;

  • MRI scans
  • Computer tomography (CT) scans
  • X-rays
  • Positrons emission tomography (PET) scans
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Ultrasounds
  • Fusion imaging

Many of these technicians make use of radiation. The job of a radiologist includes making patients comfortable and keeping them safe from the effects of radiation.

They can also assist doctors in deciding on the most useful imaging method to use as well as the result of the procedure in regards to treatment. Part of their training includes interpreting test results and images in order to make a proper diagnosis and monitoring of ongoing treatments.

Interventional radiologists and specialized types of radiologists are actively involved in the treatment of patients. Others, including a diagnostic radiologist, offer support to healthcare practitioners.

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Some radiologists hardly work with patients and prefer doing research and working in labs.


Radiologists are also medical doctors who follow an identical path to people working in other departments. All radiologists require a medical degree, which takes four years of education and training from a medical school.

Most medical institutes require students to have an undergraduate degree. The students must also have passed a Medical College Admission Test before being admitted.

Radiologists spend a year of clinical training after medical school, where they spend a preparatory year concentrating on one field of medicine. It could also involve a transitional year that includes diverse rotations through several departments.

After the clinical year, radiologists generally finish four years of paid residency. This is a combination of more medical education, including on-the-job practice in various areas of radiology.

Most radiologists also do a fellowship after a residency, which involves training that could last for a year or two in specialized departments of radiology like nuclear radiology.

Are radiologists considered doctors?

Radiologists are, in fact, medical doctors. They share some of the same responsibilities as a family doctor. They perform diagnoses and monitor treatment, but most of them don’t work directly with patients.

Radiologists aren’t the same as radiographers. The radiographer’s job is to handle and operate medical imaging machines, but do not analyze and interpret results.


Radiologists are doctors that work with medical imaging techniques, such as X-rays and MRIs. There are several departments of radiology, and each plays a different role in medicine.

An interventional radiologist makes use of imaging to monitor surgical procedures, while a diagnostic radiologist helps with diagnosis and treatment.

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Some radiologists work together with other medical doctors to diagnose and treat various types of conditions and injuries. They also receive education identical to other medical doctors, which lasts for about 8 to 10 years.

Have you had to visit a radiologist? What was the experience like? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.
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