So who reads your CAT scan or MRI? That's the radiologist (me). A radiologist is a doctor specially trained to read the images taken by your technologist. This is the biggest point of confusion for the public. Many people assume, when I tell them for example that I'm a radiologist, that the radiologist is the person taking the pictures. Instead, radiologists are licensed physicians who are interpreting the images. You see, after receiving an MD or a DO from an accredited medical school, we do a lot of post-graduate training called an internship, which is usually one year, and then a residency, which is usually four years, and a fellowship, which is usually one or two years in order to sub-subspecialize. So for example, and my journey has been a pretty typical one for a radiologist, I have 11 years of education and training after college. I did a split internship, internal medicine and surgery, and then sub-specialty training in both nuclear medicine and advanced cardiac imaging techniques. Some people do neuroradiology, bone radiology, interventional radiology, literally there are 12 separate types of subspecialized radiologists. At any rate, after the techs take the pictures, they'll send the pictures to a radiologist via an internet connection. So the radiologist oftentimes is not even in the area or the building where you're getting your pictures. That's important to note, so if you ask to speak to the doctor and they tell you they're not here, they're not lying, we're actually not there. The radiologist will then, on their own time and in their space, review that relevant information that's been given by your doctor. So the order, the reason and the associated labs, usually we get all sorts of information that comes over with the request for the exam. Then we look at the pictures the technologist took, and we interpret those pictures in the context of that information from your doctor. We will generate a written report, which gets sent out to your original doctor, and hopefully answers the question for the reason they sent you to us in the first place. So again, the radiologist is the doctor that gives the expert opinion on what your images show. We try to answer the question, which lets them, your referring doctor, give you the best possible care you can get.
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