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Radiology is a specialty that uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases seen within the body. A variety of imaging techniques such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose and/or treat diseases. Interventional radiology is the performance of (usually minimally invasive) medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies.
The acquisition of medical images is usually carried out by the Radiographer, often known as a Radiologic Technologist. Depending on location, the Diagnostic Radiologist, or Reporting Radiographer, then interprets or "reads" the images and produces a report of their findings and impression or diagnosis. This report is then transmitted to the Clinician who requested the imaging, either routinely or emergently. Imaging exams are stored digitally in the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) where they can be viewed by all members of the healthcare team within the same health system and compared later on with future imaging exams.
Radiographs (originally called roentgenographs, named after the discoverer of X-rays, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen) are produced by transmitting X-rays through a patient. The X-rays are projected through the body onto a detector; an image is formed based on which rays pass through (and are detected) versus those that are absorbed or scattered in the patient (and thus are not detected). Röntgen discovered X-rays on November 8, 1895 and received the first Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery in 1901.
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