What is a Radiologist?

A Radiologist is a Medical Specialist

Your radiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disease and injury, using medical imaging techniques such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), fusion imaging, and ultrasound. Because some of these imaging techniques involve the use of radiation, and require training to understand radiation safety and protection.

Your radiologist has graduated from an accredited medical school, passed a licensing examination, and completed a residency of at least five years of unique postgraduate medical education in, among other topics:

  • Radiation safety/protection
  • Radiation effects on the human body
  • Appropriate performance and interpretation of quality radiologic and medical imaging examinations

Many radiologists also complete a fellowship — one to two additional years of specialized training in a particular subspecialty of radiology, such as breast imaging, cardiovascular radiology or musculoskeletal imaging.

Your Radiologist Plays a Key Role in Your Healthcare By:

  • Acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician (the doctor who sent you to the radiology department or clinic for testing) by aiding him or her in choosing the proper examination, interpreting the resulting medical images, and using test results to direct your care.
  • Treating diseases by means of radiation (radiation oncology) or minimally invasive, image-guided therapeutic intervention (interventional radiology).
  • Correlating medical image findings with other examinations and tests.
  • Recommending further appropriate examinations or treatments when necessary and conferring with referring physicians.
  • Directing radiologic technologists (personnel who operate the equipment) in the proper performance of quality exams.

Your Radiologist Has the Right Training, Knowledge, and Experience

When your referring doctors tell you they have reviewed your studies, what they usually mean is that they have reviewed the radiology report or gone over the imaging exam with your radiologist.

Radiologists are at the forefront of imaging technology, pioneering the use of CT, MRI, PET, and fusion imaging as well as minimally invasive procedures such as endovascular treatment of aneurysms and tumors, percutaneous biopsies, and pinpoint radiation therapy.

The Radiologist is there for you

As a medical practitioner, the radiologist is alwasy available to both referring physician and patient for guidance on the choice of best imaging modality for a specific problem, and assistance on the integration of the imaging study results with the treatment plan.


Text adapted from Radiologyinfo.org