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What are the different types of radiological exams?
Radiological exams can be either diagnostic or interventional. Diagnostic exams are intended to detect the presence of a certain condition, like a bone fracture or a tumor inside the body. Interventional radiology uses imaging techniques to assist in treating a condition, usually through surgery, but the procedure itself is not intended to have a direct impact on the outcome of the disease.
What happens during a radiological exam?
The exact process of an exam will vary depending on the specific type of imaging procedure and the goal of the test. Patients will usually be situated near a machine that will direct the appropriate form of energy to the part of the body being examined. Technicians help patients perform the necessary steps to complete the process.
Do radiological exams have any side effects?
Most imaging exams do not have any immediate side effects. The most important side effect of many forms of radiology is the exposure to small doses of radiation. In almost all cases, a single exam will deliver a radiation dose that is too low to have any effect, but over repeated exposure, the risk of developing cancer from this radiation increases. Radiologists take several precautions to limit exposure on behalf of patients as well as themselves and their staff.
How long does it take to get the results of a radiological exam?
Results from an imaging procedure may be available almost instantly (as with X-rays and ultrasound), or might take a few minutes to develop. However, in some cases it will take a radiologist additional time to analyze and report on the images collected, so results may be delayed by a few hours or days.
What types of tests do radiologists perform?
Radiologists can perform a variety of imaging procedures depending on their specialty. Common examples include:
Computed tomography (CT scans).
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Positron emission tomography (PET).
Interventional radiology: Using specialized imaging techniques to assist with surgery, either immediately before or in the process of a surgical procedure.