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A radiologist is a physician who has specialized training in obtaining and interpreting medical images, which makes him or her an imaging expert. These images are obtained by using x-rays (radiographs, CT, fluoroscopy), or radioactive substances (nuclear medicine), others by means of sound waves (ultrasound) or the body's natural magnetism (MRI).
Nearly all physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, diagnose illnesses, or prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. According to American Medical Association statistics, 1.2 percent of those physicians specialize in radiology. A radiologist correlates medical image findings with other examinations and tests, recommends further examinations or treatments, and confers with referring physicians (the doctors who send patients to the radiology department or clinic for testing). Radiologists also treat diseases by means of radiation (radiation oncology or nuclear medicine) or minimally invasive, image-guided surgery (interventional radiology).
Like other physicians, a radiologist must have graduated from an accredited medical school and has earned an MD degree. He or she have passed a licensing examination, performed a year of internship, and completed at least four years of graduate medical education (residency) in radiology. Upon completing a residency, these doctors may choose to enter a fellowship program and sub-specialize into one or more areas of radiology.