ABR Radiology Specialties and Subspecialties

General Information

 

About the ABR

 

RADIOLOGY SPECIALTIES AND SUBSPECIALTIES

What is a Radiologist?

A radiologist is a physician who uses imaging methodologies to diagnose and manage patients and provide therapeutic options. The American Board of Radiology (ABR) certifies physicians and physicists practicing in the field of radiology who specialize in diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, or medical physics.

Diagnostic radiologists may subspecialize in neuroradiology, nuclear radiology, pediatic radiology, and vascular and interventional radiology. In addition, diagnostic radiologists and radiation oncologists may subspecialize in hospice and palliative medicine. All of these disciplines are described below.

Diagnostic Radiology

A diagnostic radiologist uses x-rays, radionuclides, ultrasound, and electromagnetic radiation to diagnose and treat disease. Five years of training are required: one year of clinical internship, followed by four years of radiology training. Anyone who wishes to specialize in one of the five subspecialty areas listed below must first certify in diagnostic radiology.

Subspecialties of Diagnostic Radiology

Neuroradiology

A specialist in neuroradiology diagnoses and treats disorders of the brain, sinuses, spine, spinal cord, neck, and the central nervous system, such as aging and degenerative diseases, seizure disorders, cancer, stroke, cerebrovascular diseases, and trauma. Imaging commonly used in neuroradiology includes angiography, myelography, interventional techniques, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Two additional years—one year of a fellowship and one year of practice or additional approved training—are required.

Nuclear Radiology

A specialist in nuclear radiology uses the administration of trace amounts of radioactive substances (radionuclides) to provide images and information for making a diagnosis. Imaging that can involve nuclear radiology includes positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans. One additional year of fellowship training is required.

Pediatric Radiology

A specialist in pediatric radiology uses imaging and interventional procedures related to the diagnosis, care, and management of congenital abnormalities (those present at birth) and diseases particular to infants and children. A pediatric radiologist also treats diseases that begin in childhood and can cause impairments in adulthood. Two additional years—one year of a fellowship and one year of practice or additional approved training—are required.

Vascular and Interventional Radiology

A specialist in vascular and interventional radiology diagnoses and treats diseases with use of various radiologic imaging technologies, including fluoroscopy, digital radiography, computed tomography (CT), sonography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Therapies include angioplasty, stent placement, thrombolysis, embolization, biliary and genitourinary drainages, abscess drainages, and others. Two additional years—one year of a fellowship and one year of practice or additional approved training—are required.

Hospice and Palliative Medicine

A specialist in hospice and palliative medicine uses special knowledge and skills to prevent and relieve the suffering experienced by patients with life-limiting illnesses. This specialist works with an interdisciplinary hospice or palliative care team to maximize quality of life while addressing the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of both patients and families.
 

Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology

An interventional radiologist combines competence in imaging, image-guided minimally invasive procedures, and periprocedural patient care to diagnose and treat benign and malignant conditions of the thorax (excluding the heart), abdomen, pelvis, and extremities. Therapies include embolization, angioplasty, stent placement, thrombus management, drainage, and ablation, among others. Training includes a minimum of three years of diagnostic radiology and two years of interventional radiology, leading to primary certification in Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology. 
 

Radiation Oncology

A radiation oncologist deals with the study and management of disease, especially malignant tumors, and radiological treatments of abnormal tissue through the use of x-rays or radionuclides. Training required is five years: one year of clinical internship, followed by four years of radiation oncology training. Anyone who wishes to specialize in hospice and palliative medicine must first certify in radiation oncology.

Subspecialty of Radiation Oncology

Hospice and Palliative Medicine (see description above)

 

Medical Physics

This branch of physics includes three specific specialties: diagnostic medical physics, nuclear medical physics, and therapeutic medical physics. A medical physicist uses physics to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and deals with the technology of the equipment, including radiation safety. The type of training varies per specialty. A certified medical physicist must specialize in at least one of the following but may hold certification in two areas or all three. (Please note that for ABR certification, these are not subspecialties but are specialties within primary certification.)

Specialties within Medical Physics

Diagnostic Medical Physics

A specialist in diagnostic medical physics uses x-rays, gamma rays from sealed sources, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance in diagnostic procedures; maintains the equipment associated with their production and use; and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

Nuclear Medical Physics

A specialist in nuclear medical physics uses radionuclides (except those used in sealed sources for therapeutic purposes) for diagnosing and treating conditions; maintains the equipment associated with their production and use; and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

Therapeutic Medical Physics

A specialist in therapeutic medical physics uses x-rays, gamma rays, electron and other charged particle beams, neutrons, and radiations from sealed radionuclide sources in the treatment of conditions; maintains the equipment associated with their production and use; and applies standards for the safe use of radiation.

 

 

Further Information for patients and the public can be found on these websites:

 

 

Radiology Info
website: http://www.radiologyinfo.org

Current and accurate patient information about diagnostic radiology procedures, interventional radiology, and radiation therapy.
 


 

ABMS

American Board of Medical Specialties 
(ABMS) 

website: http://www.certificationmatters.org/

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards, including the ABR, in the development and use of standards for the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. Recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, ABMS believes higher standards for physicians mean better care for patients.
 


Image Gently

 

image gently 
website: http://www.pedrad.org/associations/5364/ig

The image gently Campaign increases awareness of the opportunities to lower radiation dose in the imaging of children. The ABR and the ABR Foundation are partners in the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging.