Radiology is defined by Google as “the science dealing with X-rays and other high-energy radiation, especially the use of such radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.”
Simple enough to comprehend… right? Well… there is a lot more that goes into the science of radiology – the intricacies of each type of imaging technique and diagnosis are vast and worthy of their own individual blog post. But now I want to explain just a little bit about each to get started.
X-ray radiography: X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation where the wavelengths are shorter than UV rays and longer than gamma rays. X-rays are emitted by electrons. X-ray photons hold enough energy within them to ionize atoms and interrupt molecular bonds.
Ultrasound: Ultrasounds are actually sound waves with higher frequencies than what humans are able to hear or detect themselves. They function and act exactly like any other sound except that humans cannot hear them. They are primarily used to find objects and measure distances. Ultrasound is also used in imaging (most commonly used during pregnancy).
Computed Tomography (CT): Also known as a CT scan, uses computer-developed combinations of multiple X-ray images taken from a variety of angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images. These slices of specific areas of the scanned object allow medical professionals to see inside the object or person without having to cut anything open.
Position Emission Tomography (PET): A type of nuclear medicine, PET is a functional imaging technique that is primarily used to monitor metabolic functions in the body. PET is used for both medical and research purposes. The main uses are in clinical oncology and the clinical diagnosis of some diffuse brain diseases.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs use powerful magnetic fields, radio waves, and field gradients to form images of the anatomy of the human body and other physiological processes in both health and disease. While MRIs are primarily used in hospitals for medical diagnosis, it does not expose the body to ionizing radiation.