Radiology: past, present and future
The contribution of radiology in the field of medicine stands unparalleled. Gone are those days when physicians were bound to identify the patients' disease through their skills and knowledge and ended up suspecting the most probable illness through sheer use of imagination. The first step to medication – diagnosing the disease has been made a lot easier by radiology investigations. Physicians today no longer thrive on knowledge and creativity; instead, they have the liberty to see and pick up the disease. Radiology has emerged as one of those technological boons going through rapid advancement, probing beyond human beings' imagination level. From imagining conditions to imaging them – there have been considerable leaps to progression.
Radiology, too, underwent developments and advancements, leaping from the conventional analogue systems to the digital image acquisition modalities. The preview times have been reduced to greater extents, thus increasing the workflow, making it practical to tend to many patients – the credit of which goes to the Selenium coated flat panel TFT array technology.
The word ultrasound will probably not ring to your ears as a foreign term? Technically speaking, ultrasound stands as an ideal amalgamation of sensitive, non-invasive, effective portable imaging techniques. It is free of radiation and is also affable for the patients. With the sophisticated scanning systems, real-time 3D and 4D scans remain as no joke! When it comes to antenatal scans, no other modalities can stand in comparison to USG.
The next important tool that comes at help while performing diagnostic imaging is Computed tomography or CT. This tool is used to evaluate and examine various clinical conditions and the last few years witnessed considerable development and progression in CT technology. The outcomes derived from the advancements are expected to have, or some of them already have had, substantial impact in the arena of healthcare. The advantage includes iterative reconstruction algorithms, dual-energy CT, cone-beam CT, multi-detector CT, portable CT, and finally, phase-contrast CT. All these progressions, some way or the other, aim at magnifying 4D and mundane resolution, allowing in faster acquisition of higher quality images. The traditional catheter angiography has been substituted by more effective diagnostic examinations like angiography, which has wholly diminished the risk factors that catheter angiography carried while reducing the examination time.
The more recent reconstruction algorithms, for instance, the iterative reconstruction, has paved the way for dose reduction in patients. The advantages of differentiating gout from pseudo gout, detecting myocardial iron, and characterizing gallstone and renal stone have been blessed upon humanity by technologies like DECT.
The utility of MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging in diagnosing clinical conditions and in biomedical research hold enough importance. Quicker and faster acquisition of high-resolution images has been made possible with the varied advancements and leaps in the MRI hardware and software. The brain's functional MRI, also called fMRI, works to detect the brain's neuronal activation concerning the increment of the oxygen-enriched blood in capillaries. There is yet another technique that can help to depict neuronal tract projections in the brain and the spine. This is an advanced MRI technique going by the name of Diffusion Tensor Imaging that also shows the multiple pathologies concerning neurons. Another non-invasive MRI perfusion technique includes Arterial Spin Labelling that further allows the physicians to assess the changes in the brain's blood flow under various pathological conditions.
Physicians also use MR guidance to operate soft tissue pathologies that attempt to affect the prostate, breast, etc.
When we talk of radiology, we cannot be restricted only to diagnostic radiology; instead, we are bound two incorporate the advantages of therapeutic radiology. With the aid of vascular and non-vascular assistance, properly guided procedure, techniques include an MR guided high-frequency ultrasound, physicians can treat bone tumors, fibroids, etc. This works to ensure the patients an effectual marginally invasive treatment.
The very boon of radiology – the rapidity of its progression and advancement often turns challenging for radiologists, who find it extremely necessary to remain updated with every single progress. Thus, a person trained in radiology almost two decades ago might not get the opportunity to showcase the skills he/she had learned owing to the invasion of newer techniques and procedures. There remains a great chance that such a person might not be efficient with the upgraded techniques, while his training teachings tend to become almost obsolete.
Thus, there raises the demand for a platform that will train every radiologist who is still practicing, with all the newer techniques, keeping them updated with every progression made in the relevant field. Also, distributing the information about the latest technology remains cloistered to only a small portion of students who have the advantage of getting trained from private and corporate hospitals or tertiary level medical colleges located in the metropolitans. Often, students taking training from centres in the suburban lack the opportunity to acknowledge radiology's newest advancements. So, there becomes a subtle demarcation between students hailing from the same academic field. But thanks to digital media, that is bridging the gap by offering immense reference materials, which can be gathered both in text and audio-visual formats. One needs to collect all such materials to remain updated with the latest radiology signs of progress. The radiology domain is continuously facing changes, as noted earlier, so a radiologist without the required upgrades may not sustain himself/herself in the long run.
Teleradiology is another broad concept where an expert hailing from an urban location takes reports from villages and towns from all across the nation. Such teleradiology networks deserve encouragement and support. The national-level organizations also have to ensure that every city owns a competent radiologist who is well qualified and proficient.
With medical skills alone, modern-day medicine cannot successfully thrive. It needs the agglomerated power of technologies and abled management. The process of gaining knowledge never ceases, and thus one should always welcome newer experiences and run in parallel with the fast-paced technological advances. Every medical persona's ultimate aim is to provide the utmost care and efficient treatment to every patient.