Radiology Café Blog

X-ray of a fountain pen for the Radiology Cafe Blog

"There are two options: Adapt or die"
Andy Grove

The future of radiology has been the hot topic at many radiology conferences and is viewed both with enthusiasm, by those looking forward to what advances will be made, and trepidation, by those who are concerned that they may find themselves prematurely redundant.

A snapshot of the life of a radiology trainee...

Clinical Radiology is a specialty that involves utilising imaging modalities to help clinicians in the management of patients across all branches of medicine and surgery.  From diagnosing anterior cerebral artery aneurysms on CT angiograms to identifying fractures of the zygoma following a traumatic injury during a game of hockey - radiology is one of the most revolutionising fields over the last twenty years.

Unfortunately, I had very limited insight into radiology as a career during medical school.  However, as a junior doctor I was exposed to radiology daily which peaked my interest in the specialty.  I organised a taster week to discover what a career in radiology was like and to identify the skills required from a competent radiologist.  To gain a real sense of radiology, I observed several subspecialties including musculoskeletal, paediatric, interventional, neurology and general radiology.

I believe few people fear the film “Terminator” as much as a young radiologist.  Unsurprising given that for years we have heard how artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually supersede the radiologist.  For some the radiologist in 2040 will simply cease to exist.  Others believe their drastically reduced numbers will be subservient to a “black box” of technology designed by informaticians and engineers.


'Evolution of Radiology' by James at - image reproduced with permission of the rights holder

'Evolution of Radiology' by James at

Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube.  Long gone are the days of solely relying on e-mail for online communication, or the inescapability of physically attending networking events to widen your professional and social networks.

There are numerous social media platforms out there on the World Wide Web, some of which can provide various benefits to radiologists

Social media has revolutionised the way we create and share information with one another.  These dynamic and interactive forms of online communication are not just popular for the public, but also impact the work of healthcare professionals, particularly radiologists.

Lets look at some of the main platforms now:

A summary of the ST1 clinical radiology interview format from the recent 2016/17 recruitment round.

The radiology interview process has changed every year for the past few years.  There are a number of reasons for this, but ultimately the college is trying to optimise the process to select the best candidates whilst managing the large number of applicants.  For this reason the number and content of the interview ‘stations’ undergoes a change every year.

The interview & application section of Radiology Cafe provides a comprehensive overview of the application process and previous interview structures.  This article, however, is written by an ST1 trainee and aims to cover the content of interview stations from the most recent 2016/2017 intake only, with examples of questions asked last year.

The time had come to arrange a study week and actually find out what the radiologists get up to in their secret hidey-holes of the hospital…

Working as a locum enabled me to arrange a study week fairly easily and I approached a friendly radiologist in the department, expressed my interest in a career in radiology and asked who the best person to contact for help was.  A few emails later and the personalised timetable of the study week was sitting nicely in my inbox.  Now all I had to do was put my scrubs away and dig out some normal clothes for the week.

What is the ESGAR Junior Summer School?

In 2017 the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR) organised the 3rd Junior Summer School, a 5 day programme of focused teaching from 17th to 21st July for radiology trainees.  It was held at the Valata Minusa Country Resort approximately 15 minutes outside of the town of Modica in Sicily.  All of the teaching was delivered in English.  I hope that my account of the experience gives you a taste of the ESGAR Junior Summer School 2017 in Sicily!


ESGAR Junior Summer School 2017 summary

Dear doctor,

Congratulations! You have made it through medical school and are about to embark on a journey which will change you and which only few will understand.  So before you get thrown in, some friendly advice from the Radiologist.

Whilst you are carrying notes, trying to scribble something legible, simultaneously updating your list, answering your bleep, wondering why the consultant is two patients ahead of you and what that smell is - you will have someone on the ward round say "order a CT" and they’ll be gone, moved on before you can write: obs stable, apyrexial.

Once the WR is done and you are the lucky one who gets to request the imaging take note - You don’t order imaging. This isn’t Nando's - you request it.

If you do not know why you’re ordering the test - ask a senior.  If they don’t know - ask their senior - this is vital and leads us to our next point -

Radiology is art.

Here's some original X-ray art from Radiology Cafe.


Mixing paint

'Mixing paint' by Christopher Clarke

'Mixing paint' by Dr Christopher Clarke

A radiograph of an art palette. The differences in attenuation between different colours are clearly seen, with denser pigments appearing 'blacker'.

Thoughts of an A&E doctor considering radiology.

Whilst doing a night shift in the emergency department, I was asked by one of the nurses to see a young man who presented with a swelling and disfigurement of his right shoulder after being involved in a fight.  Wondering how people can be so awake that they can fight at 3 am, I went to see the patient and found my colleague's description was indeed accurate.

The patient, who was not exactly sure how the injury happened, was holding his arm across his body and had a tender bulge at the front of his shoulder.  Everyone was convinced it was a case of anterior shoulder dislocation so we treated the pain and sent the patient for an x-ray.

Then came the surprise.  The shoulder joint was completely fine.  The head of the humerus was sitting nicely against the glenoid fossa on all shoulder views.  At this point, I winked at the radiographer and said “the beauty of radiology, is that it shows us the truth”.

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