A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions using imaging equipment. Radiologists often specialize in specific areas of radiology, such as pediatric radiology, oncology radiology or interventional radiology.
A radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries using imaging equipment, including:
There are three main types of radiology:
Each of these branches of radiology has several subspecialties.
Diagnostic radiology helps healthcare providers see structures inside your body. Diagnostic radiologists are experts in interpreting these images. Using the diagnostic images, they can often:
Interventional radiologists use imaging techniques, such as CT, ultrasound and MRI, to help guide procedures. The imaging is helpful when your provider inserts catheters, wires and other small tools into your body. This typically allows for smaller incisions (cuts).
Examples of conditions that interventional radiologists are often involved in treating include:
Some imaging techniques involve radiation. When used for imaging purposes, radiation can’t treat conditions. However, certain radiologists called radiation oncologists have expertise in using radiation therapy to treat cancer and some benign (noncancerous) conditions.
Radiation therapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses radiation (strong beams of energy) to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing.
Radiation oncologists determine the optimum doses for specific types of cancer that maximize effectiveness and minimize any harm to healthy tissues. A radiation oncologist knows what type of therapy is best suited for you and your specific type of cancer.
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Yes, radiologists are medical doctors. All licensed radiologists have completed medical school and have a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.
Radiologists are medical doctors trained to read and interpret medical imaging scans. Radiologic technologists (radiographers) are medical professionals who perform diagnostic imaging tests.
Radiologic technologists don’t interpret results or make a diagnosis. Instead, they operate various types of imaging equipment and assist people through the imaging procedure. They make sure you’re comfortable and that you’re positioned properly so the images are high quality.
Radiologists have several important roles, including:
Yes, all licensed radiologists have attended and graduated from medical school.
To become a radiologist, you must:
The majority of radiologists also complete a fellowship — one to two additional years of specialized training in a particular subspecialty of radiology, such as:
It usually takes at least 13 years to become a radiologist. This includes:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Needing to undergo an imaging test to screen for or help diagnose a condition can be stressful. Know that your radiologist has specialized knowledge and skills to interpret the image results. They’ll create a detailed report and consult with your healthcare provider or team to determine the best care for you. If you have any questions about your results, don’t be afraid to ask them.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/21/2022.
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