Radiology Terms

Radiology Terms


radiology exams Radiology Terms
If you ever wondered about what that fancy shmancy radiology term mean, you will likely benefit from the explanation of radiology terms below. Some of the most common radiology terms include:
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound examination uses sound waves and how different organs and tissues react to them to create images. Bony structures for example block the sound waves and so ultrasound is not a good modality to look at bone density. Some common indications for ultrasound imaging include cysts (kidney cysts, pancreatic cysts, ovarian cysts, liver cysts, breast cysts,..), liver evaluation, trauma (looking for free fluid in the wrong places, muscular tendon injury, joint swelling, neck lymph nodes, and thyroid disease. Color ultrasound is also used to arterial narrowing in the neck and kidneys and to evaluate the urogenital system (kidneys, bladder, prostate, ovaries, uterus, testicles,..). Ultrasound is also used to guide a needle for purposes of biopsy (lymph nodes or masses) or drainage (cysts). Ultrasound is also the tool of choice to detect deep vein thrombosis (clots in the calves) and for quick evaluation in the setting of trauma.

  • CT (CAT Scan). CT refers to Computed Tomography and is a modality in wide use for imaging of any part of the body. A CT exam is basically a large number of consecutive images of a "slice" of the body part being imagined, with images taken from front to back. CT is an excellent tool for the evaluation of intracranial bleed (bleeding inside the head), other types of bleeding, bony disease, back and disc conditions, and the chest, abdomen and pelvis. Recent advances in technology continue to expand CT indications and now include evaluation of coronary artery disease (CT angiography) and virtual colonoscopy, both respectively replacing the more invasive procedures of classical cardiac catheterization and colonoscopy.
    One thing to remember about a CT scan is that it has a high level of radiation and is thus avoided in cases of pregnancy unless the mother's life is in danger.

  • MRI. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses the power of electromagnetism to create very high quality images of the organs inside the body. MRI is a relatively newcomer to the world of radiology having been initially used in the late eighties. The indications for an MRI exam are increasing continuously mostly because of the significant advances in computers. It is mostly used today for the evaluation of disc disease, joints, and brain. MRI involves no radiation and thus is safe in case of pregnancy.

  • Mammography
  • Mammograms are radiological exams of the breasts. They are used to look at abnormal tissue in the breast and signs of trouble such as calcifications (deposits of calcium), masses, and implants and are recommended for regular screening for breast cancer. Mammography requires trained technicians and dedicated equipment. Mammograms are very sensitive to proper patient positioning, and well maintained equipment.
  • Nuclear Medicine Nuclear medicine use radioactive materials and very specialized equipment to provide functional and anatomical images of various organs. Nuclear medical exams can diagnose a blocked gallbladder, hyperactive thyroid nodule, kidney function, pulmonary embolism, cancer spread to bones, brain lesions, and more. Nuclear medicine is also used therapeutically to treat a number of thyroid diseases.
The above are nothing but a tiny percentage of all the radiology terms used to describe various radiology procedures and modalities.






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