Patients are, quite often, understandably anxious to know (and understand) the results of a completed diagnostic imaging scan. Diagnostic imaging results from a CT scan (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasounds or other tests, are powerful tools that can help your doctor diagnose and treat your medical condition. Once a scan has been completed, the radiologist writes a report summarizing their impressions of the results, that is then shared with your doctor. Because the report is geared towards medical professionals and uses highly technical medical jargon, it can be difficult for patients to understand their own diagnostic imaging report. Here is a short breakdown of the usual sections to help you get a clearer picture of your results.
Typical Radiology Report for Diagnostic Imaging Scans
The first section usually contains verbiage that states the type of imaging scan that was completed. For example, the type of exam may be “MRI of the abdomen and pelvis.” You already knew you had the test, this is just confirming the type of test you underwent. The report will also show the date of the study, the name of the referring doctor, why you had the test, the techniques used (where the radiologist tells your doctor exactly how the test was performed), as well as results of your test.
The clinical information section is where the radiologist provides a snippet on why you needed the test.
This section is very brief, and is based on what your doctor communicated about your medical history. For example, your doctor may have ordered a scan of your foot because you accidently dropped a bowling ball on it. The clinical information section of the report might say something like “trauma to foot.”
The next section of interest is the comparison section. The comparison section is where the radiologist notes which prior scans they may have compared to your new scan.
The findings section is obviously very important. In this section, the radiologist reports his or her observations and impressions of what the test reveals. The radiologist will discuss each area in turn, and will note if there is anything out of the ordinary.
The Impression section is the most critical section of the report. This is where all of the findings are summarized and synthesized to present the results of your diagnostic imaging scans. If you have seen the report and still have questions, the best way to get answers is to ask your doctor to explain the results. They can explain not only what they were looking for as well as what it means for you.
If you, or a loved one, needs exceptional care from one of our board-certified radiologists in the Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth or Royal Palm Beach areas, please call (561) 795-5558, or request an appointment online today. We are here to help.