- diagnose disease states, such as cancer or heart disease
- show if there is injury to body structures
- provide images of organs to help other specialists repair problems e.g. angiography of the heart.
- Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) or Radiographers perform your X-ray, barium and mammography examinations.
- Sonographers are MRTs who perform your ultrasound examinations.
- Radiologists are specialist doctors who read and understand your films. They will also be involved if you have an intravenous urogram (IVU), barium study, mammogram and a number of other ultrasound procedures. They interpret the results of the images and send them to your doctor.
How Safe is Radiology?
Some forms of radiology use sound waves, some use x-rays and some use magnetic fields. One form of radiology uses tiny amounts of radioactive materials injected into the body.
The sound waves (ultrasound) and the magnetic fields (MRI scan), as far as we know, have no harmful effects. The other two types use what is known as ionising radiation. Ionising radiation is known to cause cancer if the dose is high or the exposure is prolonged or repeated many times. The amount of this radiation from a plain chest x-ray for example is quite small and the adverse health effects are immeasurable when compared with the level of background radiation that all humans living on this planet get from the sun and the ground (radon). However, other x-ray examinations such as lumbar spine x-rays and CT scans use much higher doses of radiation and these exams need to be performed with care and infrequently. If you want to read more about the risks and the benefits of CT scans click here http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/2007/11/28/the-doctor-says-get-a-ct-scan-should-you.html?PageNr=2