Advances in Radiology

Blog Post by Kiat Tsong Tan, Postgraduate Fellow, Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

I never cease to be amazed by the rate of developments in radiology. In the course of the last ten years, radiologists have evolved from doctors who primarily diagnosed disease on one-dimensional x-ray images into technologically savvy individuals deploying the most advanced medical equipment in the battle against disease. The use of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and ultrasound has become commonplace. Optical coherence tomography is beginning to emerge as an imaging modality. Organs such as the heart, which were once considered to be inaccessible to cross-sectional imaging, are now easily examined. In addition, the rapid growth of molecular imaging means that we may soon be able to detect disease at its earliest and most fundamental stage, at the level of cellular and molecular biology. Indeed, I was fortunate enough to be able to image the expression of a cell adhesion molecule. Seeing this on MRI and subsequently confirming the presence of the adhesion molecule with histology has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my career so far. Some radiologists are regaining territory previously ceded to clinicians, with interventional radiologists increasingly involved in outpatient clinics, and some even having their own inpatient beds; interventional radiologists are now treating diseases that were previously considered untreatable or which required major surgery. Indeed, focused ultrasound may one day allow interventional radiologists to ‘zap’ cancers without the need for radiation or skin puncture. I occasionally wonder what Röntgen would think if he could see what has become of the speciality of which he is considered to be the father. I would like to think that, if he were alive, he would feel that, rather than exclaiming ‘I have seen my death’ when she saw the x-ray of her hand, his wife could more appropriately have cried ‘I have seen life’.

Kiat Tsong Tan is Postgraduate Fellow, Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His is an editor of The Final FRCR: A survival guide, publishing in July 2011.

 Final FRCR 2B: A survival guide , edited by Kiat Tsong Tan, John Curtis and Jessie Aw, presents many of the cases that are shown in the FRCR exam (as well as encountered in real life practice!). The book also provides a framework by which radiology candidates can present each case as well as clinically important vignettes that are often not found in the general radiology texts. Knowledge of these facts will not only help the reader in his/her everyday practice but also to demonstrate his/her mastery of radiology to the examiner.

Final FRCR 2B Long Cases: A survival guide is also available from Cambridge University Press, and is edited by Jessie Aw and John Curtis

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