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What Is the Difference Between Radiology and Medical Imaging?

Aug 24, 2021

If you’ve recently been to the doctor and are in need of medical imaging, you might wonder what that has to do with radiology. When you visit the doctor for an injury or illness, they may recommend medical imaging to help support an accurate diagnosis. Radiology refers to the specific branch of medicine that uses this medical imaging technology for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of medical concerns. When you go for medical imaging, you will see a radiographer, who is a health care provider who specializes in radiology. A radiologist is a medical doctor who actually interprets the results from your medical imaging scans. There are several places you can visit for Atlanta imaging and radiology where you can get high-quality medical imaging with state-of-the-art technologies.

Types of Medical Imaging Used by Radiologists

There are several types of Atlanta imaging technologies that radiologists use to support diagnostics and monitor the progress of treatment. Here are 5 of the most common types of medical imaging technologies and what they are typically used for:


An X-ray is perhaps the most common and well-understood type of medical imaging. X-rays are also used most often in medical settings due to their swift results and low exposure to radiation. When you get an X-ray, only takes a few minutes to complete and produces a scan in shades of gray with an image of your bones, joints, and cartilage. An X-ray does expose you to a low dose of radiation during the scan, but the amount is safe. Digital X-rays are an advanced medical imaging technology that utilize even less radiation and still provide quality images. Your doctor may recommend an X-ray to diagnose a broken bone, spinal damage, or a joint injury.

CT Scan

Computerized tomography scan, abbreviated as CT scan, is a type of advanced X-ray medical imaging technology that provides more detailed imaging of a specific area. CT scans are also brief and are frequently used in emergency situations when an injury or medical condition requires an immediate diagnosis and treatment. CT scans also have low but safe levels of exposure to radiation. Your doctor may recommend a CT scan instead of an X-ray if they want a more detailed look at an area that includes muscles, ligaments, tendons, spinal discs, and other soft tissues. Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to diagnose a car accident injury, sports injury, tumors, or internal bleeding.


MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is another type of medical imaging that provides doctors with highly detailed scans of a specific area of the body. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRI scans do not utilize any radiation. Instead, an MRI is a large, tube-like machine that utilizes a specialized and powerful magnet and radio waves to provide 3D images of your internal structures. MRI scans can provide even more detail than a CT scan in some cases, though they can last for an average of 30 minutes or more. Your doctor may recommend an MRI to support a diagnosis and treatment plan for a car accident injury, sports injury, tumor, or damage to your soft tissues and internal organs.


Ultrasounds are perhaps most recognizable as a tool used for pregnant women to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see the first images inside the womb. Ultrasound technology is actually quite extensive and can be used to examine organs all across the body and produces images in real-time. An ultrasound uses a wand or probe that touches your skin and sends live images of the area in real-time. Similar to MRIs, ultrasounds do not use any radiation. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound for pregnancy, gynecology, or organ damage.


Mammography refers to the type of X-ray that takes images of the breasts. This type of X-ray is known as a mammogram and helps doctors to examine breast tissue for possible breast tumors or cancer. A mammogram takes several X-ray images from various angles to make sure all areas are examined.

How Medical Imaging Supports Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are looking for a quality and reliable place for medical imaging, visit AICA Orthopedics and find one of our locations near you. We offer Atlanta imaging services and radiology for a wide range of health conditions and injuries.


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