This page is for all medical students regardless of specialty choice. Resources below are now an integral part of University of Toronto Diagnostic Radiology electives.
If you are considering a career in radiology, start with the basics. Focus learning a basic approach to chest and abdo xrays, understand the basic concepts of CT, and introduce yourself to cross sectional imaging of the major body systems.
Cases for elective medical students can be accessed through the "Case Files" tab
STEP 1: Why Radiology?
The stereotype of the radiologist as a boring/faceless part of the medical team hiding in a dark room is not accurate. Radiologists are consultants - often at the centre of the clinical environment with a unique opportunity to provide critical information that frequently directs management.
Lectures in radiology are often content driven, which can be boring in the absence of background knowledge. Diagnostic Radiology is intellectually stimulating, detail oriented, and can be very gratifying. It is perfect for those that love problem solving. As a radiologist, you will constantly be making decisions that have a strong and direct impact on patient management.
STEP 2: Introduction to Plain Films
Focus on a basic approach and only the most common pathologies.
If you are considering radiology, as an elective student there are very low expectations of you. However, if you are going to be expected to have an approach to any study - it will be a chest or abdominal xray. It is also helpful to learn a good approach early so you can spend more time practicing getting better.
i) Chext X-ray
Many great basic resources exist for this already. Below, I have included some of the highest yield resources for your stage.
Lieberman's interactive tutorial (Harvard): "Systematic approach to evaluating chest x-rays" (75 minutes)
Felson's Principles of Chest Roentgenology (amazon link) - quick read, teaches from the ground up, basic introduction, high yield.
Radiology Assistant articles on Chest Xray:
ii) Abdominal X-Ray
This short video (15 minutes) goes through the most high yield basic information you need to know to start interpreting abdominal plain films right away.
Additional suggested resources:
Lieberman's interactive tutorial (Harvard): "The abdominal plain film" (90 minutes)
STEP 3: A Practical Introduction to CT
As a medical student, if you are going to watch one thing about CT -- this is the video. You need to understand these basic concepts before looking at anything else related to CT.
Understanding radiographic densities/Hounsfield Units (HU)
Application of HU: importance with clinical example
Windowing in CT: principles and importance of windowing appropriately
Introduction to IV contrast
STEP 4: Introduction to CT by Body System
Content includes introductory videos and suggested resources. Solely watching the videos is more than enough information for your stage. Don't worry about the details in these videos - focus on the anatomy and approach.
As a general suggestion, scrolling through scans to identify normal anatomy on CT is one of the most beneficial exercises at this stage. Optional resources that will facilitate this include e-Anatomy (IMAIOS), which requires paid subscription.
i) CT Head
Focus on learning basic cross-sectional anatomy and just a conceptual approach to CT head. IMAIOS and headneckbrainspine.com are two resources that will allow you to scroll through images and identify anatomy.
The video highlights include (click bullet point to open video in a new window at content specific time):
ii) CT C-spine
Watch the video and again, focus on anatomy and basic approach. Learning the basic kinds of injuries, as briefly overviewed in this lecture, will also be of benefit. This video includes details that are intended for early on call radiologists. However, introducing these concepts is still helpful.
The video highlights include:
Important measurements you need to know
Overview of injuries, including pearls
Commonly missed findings
iii) CT Chest (and PE studies)
Focus on learning cross-sectional anatomy and basic pathologies. For PE studies, understand the basic principle and signs of acute and chronic PE.
A single video that focuses on only the most essential concepts is coming soon. As a good starting point for now, I suggest the following resources (click to access):
iv) CT Abdomen
Again, primary focus should be on cross-sectional anatomy. Second, have a basic approach and be familiar with some of the most basic acute pathologies that you might see.
A focused video with the most essential concepts is coming soon. As a good starting point for now, I suggest the following resources (click to access):