When would I see a radiologist

During most medical imaging exams, your technologist reviews your concerns and performs the exam requested by your doctor. Once the quality and type of images have been confirmed, your technologist may confer with a radiologist about your images, but rarely will the radiologist be present during your exam.

The radiologist’s job is to review and interpret images and compile a detailed report for your doctor about what they see. Occasionally, the radiologist may consult with you at the end of your exam if there is a concern that should be addressed. For example, if it’s recommended, based on your images, that you proceed to the hospital for immediate treatment,

However, there are certain procedures performed by Mayfair radiologists at Mayfair Diagnostics’ clinics and in hospitals. During these procedures a radiologist is present, along with a technologist or hospital staff. Such procedures include:

  • Breast and thyroid biopsies – these procedures examine a specific area of the breast or thyroid for abnormalities. A needle is used to take a small tissue sample, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Image-guided pain therapy – these procedures use X-ray and ultrasound to guide treatment for chronic pain by allowing Mayfair physicians to precisely inject medication through a small needle, or perform treatment on soft tissues.
  • Interventional radiology procedures – these procedures are performed in hospital where Mayfair physicians, called interventional radiologists, use medical imaging to perform minimally-invasive procedures that treat conditions such as an enlarged prostate or uterine fibroids.

Outside of instances where a radiologist performs the procedure, most medical imaging exams involve a technologist conducting the exam and a radiologist interpreting the images and compiling a report for your doctor.

INTERPRETATION OF YOUR DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING TEST

Often, patients wonder why the radiologist or technologist doesn’t discuss results. Whatever the radiologist or technologist sees on your images, whether it’s an X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine imaging, MRI, mammography, or CT exam, this information is only part of your complete medical assessment.

When trying to diagnose your medical concern, your doctor may request blood work or other diagnostic tests, perform a physical exam, or obtain a thorough clinical history. This allows your doctor to gain a comprehensive understanding of your complaint or condition and reach an accurate diagnosis.

A technologist is qualified and registered to perform exams by their profession’s national professional association and certifying body. They are acquiring diagnostic images according to specific protocols, so that a radiologist can interpret the images to provide an accurate report of the findings and results of your study. Should the technologist identify any immediate concerns, they will bring them to the attention of the radiologist; however, they are not legally permitted to divulge any results directly to you, the patient.

While a radiologist is a medical doctor with many years of specialized education, their interpretation of your images is again only a part of your diagnosis. They don’t have access to your full medical history, only the specific reason your doctor is requesting your imaging exam or procedure.

RECEIVING YOUR RESULTS

We understand that you may feel nervous or perhaps even anxious about your exam or your results, but it’s important to remember that your care is our top priority. Our technologists are there to capture the best images possible, but also to take care of you and ease any anxiety you may have. That may include simply explaining what will happen during your exam, or it could include some discussion of what they are scanning within the limits of what they can share.

If there are immediate concerns with the examination or your doctor has asked for an immediate result, your results will be phoned or faxed to your referring physician. Otherwise, results will be received by your doctor within one to two business days depending on the type of exam. Your doctor will then be able to review your results with you, along with the results of any other test you may have undergone, and determine the next steps in your health care treatment plan.

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