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A physician specialized in radiology, the branch of medicine that uses ionizing and nonionizing radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Like other physicians, a radiologist must have graduated from an accredited medical school or school of osteopathy, passed a licensing examination, and completed at least 4 years of graduate medical or osteopathic education (residency). Radiologists are usually board certified, that is, they have taken and passed an examination and thus are approved to practice in the field of radiology by either the American Board of Radiology (for a medical doctor) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopathic doctor).

A radiologist can also subspecialize. Subspecialties in radiology listed by the American College of Radiology give a idea of the breadth of the field:

  • Radiologist - Breast imaging. The subspecialty within diagnostic radiology devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of breast diseases and conditions unique to women.
  • Radiologist - Cardiovascular. The subspecialty of radiology concerned with diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart and vascular (blood vessel) system.
  • Radiologist - Chest. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic radiology of diseases of the thorax, especially the heart or lungs.
  • Radiologist - Computed Tomography (CT). The subspecialty concerned with diagnostic radiology using computerized tomography (CT), radiologic equipment that demonstrates both bone and soft tissues, including organs, muscles, and tumors.
  • Radiologist - Diagnostic Radiology. The subspecialty concerned with or aiding in diagnosis using radiology.
  • Radiologist - Emergency. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic imaging of emergency trauma or non-traumatic emergency conditions. Radiologist - Gastrointestinal. The subspecialty concerned with diagnostic radiology of the gastrointestinal tract (including the stomach and intestines).
  • Radiologist - Genitourinary. The subspecialty relating to the radiology of the genitourinary tract: the organs of the reproductive and urinary tracts.
  • Radiologist - Head and Neck. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic radiology of diseases of the head and neck.
  • Radiologist - Interventional. The subspecialty that uses fluoroscopy, CT, and ultrasound to guide passage through the skin by needle puncture, including introduction of wires and catheters for performing procedures such as biopsies, draining fluids, inserting catheters, or dilating or stenting narrowed ducts or vessels.
  • Radiologist - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The subspecialty relating to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a diagnostic radiological modality using nuclear magnetic resonance technology. MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field rather than x-rays to provide clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues.
  • Radiologist - Musculoskeletal. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic radiology of diseases of the muscles and the skeleton.
  • Radiologist - Neuroradiology. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic radiology of diseases of the central nervous system, head, and neck.
  • Radiologist - Nuclear Medicine. The subspecialty concerned with the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radionuclides, excluding the therapeutic use of sealed radiation sources.
  • Radiologist - Pediatric Radiology. The subspecialty concerned with children's radiology and the radiological manifestations of diseases of children.
  • Radiological Physicist. The subspecialty relating to the therapeutic, diagnostic and safe use of applications of x-rays, gamma rays, electron and charged particle beams, neutrons and radiations from sealed radionuclide sources; relating to the equipment associated with their production, use, measurement and evaluation and instrumentation required to perform appropriate radiation surveys; relating to the quality of images resulting from their production and use; and relating to medical health physics.
  • Radiologist - Radiobiology. The branch of radiology or pathology concerned with the effects of radiation on cells and tissues.
  • Radiologist - Ultrasound. The subspecialty concerned with the use of ultrasound (high frequency sound waves) and other techniques for medical diagnosis. Radiation Oncologist - Radiation Oncology. The medical specialty of radiation oncology, the use of radiation for the therapy of neoplasms (tumors).


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