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X-ray of hope

Radiology is the hi-tech branch of medical science, which helps in diagnosing and treating various diseases, disorders and ­abnormalities.

education Updated: Jul 17, 2013 10:00 IST

The lowdown

Radiology is the hi-tech branch of medical science, which helps in diagnosing and treating various diseases, disorders and ­abnormalities. Thanks to the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen in November 1895, radiology has grown immensely, both in its dimensions and capabilities and is now one of the most sought-after postgraduate courses for medical graduates. Radiology is both a diagnostic specialty and interventional specialty, with direct links to almost every other department in a hospital. Diagnostic radiologists use a variety of imaging techniques that help in diagnosing a patient’s condition — from standard examinations such as plain radiographs, and ultrasound, to advanced techniques such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography, CT or MRI (PET-CT and PET-MRI. Interventional radiologists have a direct role in managing patients. They use their expertise in reading X-rays, ultrasound, CT and other medical images to “see” inside the body. They treat or detect diseases percutaneously. A radiologist, through extensive clinical work and related research, may also specialise in one or more radiology subspecialties viz breast imaging, cardiovascular radiology, chest radiology, ­gastrointestinal radiology, head and neck radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology or paediatric radiology.

Clockwork
Your day depends on the type of practice you do, and whether or not you work full-time or part-time
6.30 am: Wake up and exercise
8.30 am: Reach hospital
9am to 11am: Conduct ­ultrasonography of subjects
11 am to 1 pm: Conduct CT scan/other examination of patients
1pm to 2pm: Lunch break
2pm to 4.30pm: Work continues.
A resident in a government hospital also has to do night duties – two to five in a month - and 24- to 36-hour shift, depending upon hospital rules. One also does academic work to upgrade one’s knowledge

The ­payoff
Earnings are variable, depending upon where you work and what you do.

In an academic hospital:
A senior resident (for three years) may get around Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 per month. An assistant professor can get upwards of Rs. 70,000 per month. An associate professor (takes around eight years), gets Rs. 75,000 per month
In private/corporate hospitals: An assistant consultant, with an experience of one year can expect a package upwards of Rs. 1.2 lakh per month. A senior consultant with five years’ experience can make around Rs. 3 lakh per month. But if you have your own set-up, you could earn more

Skills/TRAITS
* Excellent knowledge of anatomy, pathology and good ­understanding of general ­medicine and surgery is ­paramount
* Ability to absorb knowledge by following up on patients and learning from the clinical events, which unfold during the follow-up
* Patience and good interpersonal relations are must

Getting there
Take up physics, chemistry, biology at the plus-two level, clear the pre-medical entrance examination and study MBBS and become a physician. Following this, you have to write the postgraduate entrance exams (conducted by the CBSE or state boards or National Board of Examinations, and qualify for DMRD or MD/DNB. Then you have to work hard to acquire the required knowledge and skills. During the MD/DNB, you also have to carry out research. However, you are almost there once you qualify the postgraduate exams. You can then go for a three-year senior residency and/or sub-specialty training, after which you can ­practice as a radiologist

Institutes and URLs
* All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
www.aiims.edu
* Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh http://pgimer.nic.in/
* Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram http://www.sctimst.ac.in/
* Seth GS Medical College (KEM Hospital), Mumbai www.kem.edu
* Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai
www.gmcjjh.org
* Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad http://nims.ap.nic.in/
* Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Nagpur http://www.nitnagpur.org/igmc.html

Pros and cons
* Opportunity to be involved with all the interesting cases or clinical practises in the hospital
* You make a real difference by helping guide patient management, monitoring ­disease progression or helping diagnose a particularly dangerous ailment enough to prevent it from ­causing further harm to a patient
* Many interventional radiology procedures are replacing or have replaced many ­surgical procedures
* Being able to work with cutting edge and rapidly advancing technology in a booming field
* You get job and career flexibility
* Not as challenging as surgery

Radiology is an exciting, challenging and an evolving branch in medicine as new techniques and technologies are being developed and applied to enhance patient care ---- Ashwin Garg, ­consultant, ­interventional radiology, ­Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi