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What Is Radiology, And How Can It Help You?

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Radiology services have historically been connected to medical imaging technologies. The oldest branch that's still in regular use is X-ray technology, which is commonly used to check for things like bone fractures and deformities. There is a growing number of systems being used for imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tomography, and ultrasound. Applications are expanding, too, as therapies are being developed to target cancers.

Given there's a good chance you'll need the help of someone in the radiology field, you may rightly wonder what all this business is about. Let's look at the basics.

Doctors See Right Through You

In the late 1800s, it became apparent to scientists that a lot more was going on in the world than we could see. The primary actors in this invisible world were radiation and subatomic particles, which could actually pass through many objects.

One of the first discoveries in this field to yield practical applications was the X-ray, a product of the collision of energy streams and subatomic particles. X-rays interact more with metals and minerals, and that means that taking a picture of a person who is being exposed to X-rays will create a photograph of their bones. Since that time, scientists have discovered many new kinds of radiation and particles that can be utilized for medical imaging and other uses.

Is Radiology Safe?

Weighing the risk of any medical procedure is, of course, important. Molecular damage from radiation exposure can cause cells in the human body to die or to develop cancers. The primary concern is that extremely high doses of radiation, especially when experienced repeatedly, can dramatically impact a person's health.

Not surprisingly, diagnosticians tend to try to use as low a dose of radiation as possible when doing things like CT scans. The effects of lower doses of radiation have been described by researchers as "too low to be detectable." Talk to radiologists or other professionals to learn more about how safe certain procedures will be.

Two Major Types of Radiology

Radiology services break up into two main types. The first is diagnostics, which are used to search for problems. This is the way in which MRIs and X-rays are employed.

The second use for radiology services is treatment, where targeted radiation is used to fire particles or energy at something undesirable, such as a cluster of cancer cells, in an attempt to improve someone's medical situation.

To learn more, contact a company like Elkview General Hospital that offers radiology services near you.