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What is radiology - Types, Procedure, Uses

What is radiology

Radiology defines a wing of medicine that functions using radiant energy while diagnosing and treating diseases. In simple words, radiology means a process to determine whether a medical condition is present or not before moving ahead with the treatment. It is a test that takes images of different body parts and tries to find relevant issues to support a necessary diagnosis.

This branch of medicine comprises two areas - diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology. Both these forms use different radiant energy to provide a required diagnosis. Among the various radio imaging exams, some of the most common include- MRI, Ultrasound, X-ray, PET scan, etc. After the patients experience these tests, the radiologist will provide reports of their elucidations to the concerned doctors.

Now that individuals have a fair understanding of what radiology is, they should know about this diagnostic test's different types and procedures.

Types & procedures of radiology

The radiology process determines a range of medical conditions and is categorised based on the type of radiology and the accurate imaging test. The radiographers operate and manage the scanning machines and pass on the findings to the radiologists. Now that you know what a radiographer is, here are the different procedures and types of radiology:

  • X-rays
    X-rays or simple radiographs monitor the condition of bones, abdomen, or chest conditions. This medical test alone can identify conditions like fractures, bowel obstruction, pneumonia, etc. However, sometimes additional imaging examinations are also required. For example, a chest X-ray can determine lung cancer, but around 20-23% of these tumours fail to get identified in people with lung cancer. MRI can evaluate only a few fractures, while the others require specific X-ray techniques.
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
    CT scans or Computed Axial Tomography utilise a range of X-rays and a computer to form a cross-sectional image of the internal body parts. CT scan provides a more detailed picture than X-ray and explicitly projects areas where tissues overlap. This scan can identify various abnormalities compared to traditional X-rays.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    This type of test utilises efficient magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the internal body parts. Although a CT scan is a better procedure for assessing blood vessels and bones, MRI is a superior method for evaluating nerves, spinal cord, tendons, breast tissue, etc. In addition, this diagnostic test conducted through radio imaging enables health care providers to detect things clinically that one could only anticipate in the past. One of the advantages of MRI is that it does not utilise ionising radiation, which is associated with increased cancer risk among children.
  • Ultrasound
    This type of test uses sound waves to form moving images of the body parts. It is widely known as a method for inspecting a fetus during pregnancy. Ultrasound is incredibly productive with certain medical conditions, and they are -
  • Echocardiogram

  • Thyroid ultrasound

  • Breast ultrasound

  • Pelvic ultrasound

  • Abdominal ultrasound

This test does not involve radiation and is completely safe during pregnancy.

• Fluoroscopy

This type of diagnostic radiology uses X-rays to produce moving images of the body. In some cases, these authentic images are necessary. For example, fluoroscopy monitors the change in the flow of contrast in joints linked with various movements in the digestive tract or barium enema study or supervises progress while inserting a pacemaker. Due to frequent monitoring, radiation exposure in such tests is considerably higher than in X-rays.

• Nuclear medicine scans

This type of test includes techniques that utilise radioactive material identified by a camera to create images of the internal parts of a body. Some of the nuclear medicine scans include:

  • PET scan

  • Thyroid scan

  • Arthrogram

  • Thallium and Cardiolyte stress tests

  • Virtual colonoscopy

Uses of radiology

As stated above, radiology enables a doctor and the patient to obtain a range of static images to identify different types of medical examinations. Some uses of radiology include:

  • Verifying accurate placement of surgical markers

  • Orthopaedic evaluations

  • Chiropractic examinations

  • Mammography

  • Dental examination

  • Static recording or spot film during fluoroscopy

Cost of radiology in India

The average cost of radiology in India depends on the recommended type of radiation technique. However, this price may differ based on hospitals across different cities in the country. There also may be instances where the patient may have to go through multiple treatment processes that may increase the overall treatment cost. Given below is the general cost of radiology treatment in the country:

Procedure/Technique of radiology Radiology cost in India*
Internal radiation therapy Rs. 60,000 – Rs. 5 lakh
External beam therapy Rs. 70,000 – Rs. 20 lakh

The overall cost of radiology in India may reach up to Rs. 20 lakh. Apart from this, there are a few pre and post-radiology expenses that you may also have to bear. The cost of such pre and post radiology expenses are given below:

Pre and post-radiology tests Estimated cost of radiology*
Doctor’s consultation Up to Rs. 5,000
Scans/MRI Up to Rs. 30,000
General biopsy Rs. 30,000 – Rs. 35,000
Endoscopy Up to Rs. 10,000

*Note: The prices may vary based on the treatment incurred by the person.

Since the price can significantly increase depending on the type of radiation and hospitals across cities, individuals can avail of the Health Prime insurance policy extended by Bajaj Finserv. This healthcare plan enables policyholders to receive a flat 10% discount at all network hospitals and pathology centres.

Moreover, this unique insurance plan offers extensive tele and video consultation with reputed doctors, complementary health check-ups, etc.

The membership fee for this exclusive health package starts at Rs. 699 and is valid for one year. Besides, individuals can avail various lab testing facilities from different diagnostic centres. Moreover, if one is a member of this package, they can avail of a 10% discount on medicines at network hospitals.

Individuals must understand that diagnostic radiology is not limited to X-rays and CT scans. The horizon is much broader. With the benefit of radiology, possible health-related risks are minimised and eliminated with appropriate shielding.

Individuals must understand that diagnostic radiology is not limited to X-rays and CT scans. The horizon is much broader. With the benefit of radiology, possible health-related risks are minimised and eliminated with appropriate shielding.

Frequently asked questions on what is radiology

What is the use of radiology?

Radiology determines various medical examinations and procedures using static images to support a necessary diagnosis. Here are some of the uses of radiology:

  • Orthopaedic evaluations

  • Mammography

  • Static recording or spot film during fluoroscopy

  • Chiropractic examinations

  • Dental examination

What is the meaning of radiology?

Radiology or diagnostic imaging is a series of medical tests that produce pictures or images of various body parts. Many of these medical tests are unique that allow doctors to check internal body parts. A range of imaging examinations includes X-ray, MRI, CT scan, PET scan, etc., enabling radiologists to assess a broad spectrum of diagnostic tests.

What is the radiology test?

A radiology test is an essential part of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Besides, it also determines critical medical issues that require diagnosis at an early stage.

Is radiology the same as ultrasound?

No, radiology and ultrasound are not the same. Radiology techniques involve radiations such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. On the other hand, ultrasound does not include radiation. Instead, the latter uses sound wave images of the heart, abdomen, breasts and other body parts for further diagnosis.

What is a radiology scan in pregnancy?

Diagnostic imaging performed in body parts not close to the womb ensures a lower risk of radiation exposure to the fetus. A radiology scan is primarily essential for women worried about breast cancer screening. However, it is always wise to take advice from the concerned doctor about safe radiology practices if one is pregnant or has a chance to get pregnant.

How many types of radiography are there?

There are primarily two types of radiography: diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology.

• Is radiation therapy painful?

Ans. The radiation therapy is not painful while it is being given. However, it can cause a little pain as a side-effect of the therapy. You must consult a medical expert in case the pain intensifies.

• What are 5 harmful effects of radiation?

Ans. Five harmful effects of radiation are as follows:

  1. Skin burns

  2. Shortness of breath

  3. Loss of appetite

  4. It may also impact your mental health and lead to stress and anxiety

  5. There can be long term effects like cancer

• Is radiation better than chemo?

Ans. Chemotherapy kills or shrinks the cancer cells with the help of specific drugs. On the other hand, radiation therapy uses high energy light waves to damage cancer cells. The chemo drugs are non-specific to cancer and can severely impact your existing health problems.

• Do you lose hair with radiation?

Ans. Ans. Radiation may lead to hair loss, especially in the body area being treated.

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