Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine Specialist

A radiologist is a physician who uses X rays to diagnose and treat disorders. Radiologists have training in physics and instrumentation, as well as in biochemistry and the effects of radiation on human tissues.

Diagnostic radiology is primarily concerned with the administration of radiation to produce images of the body and the interpretation of the resultant X-ray films. Some procedures involve the injection of special dyes, called contrast media.


Other procedures performed by radiologists use sound waves or magnetic impulses, rather than radiation, to create images. Radiologists can sometimes perform biopsies of tissue using radiology images as guides.

A specialist in diagnostic radiology must complete a four-year residency in that field, which is often preceded by a year of internship in another medical field. Some diagnostic radiologists then subspecialize by completing a fellowship in a branch of radiology, such as neuroradiology (imaging of the nervous system) or uroradiology (imaging of the urinary tract).

Nuclear medicine is the field in which radioactive substances, called isotopes, are used to diagnose and treat diseases, such as an overactive thyroid gland. A nuclear medicine specialist must complete a three-year residency in diagnostic radiology in addition to a one-year residency in nuclear medicine.

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