An X-ray is a safe and painless procedure that's often used to produce images of the inside of the body.
It's a very effective way of looking at fractured bones, such as a broken arm or wrist.
X-rays can also be used to examine organs and identify problems. For example, an X-ray can highlight a lung infection, such as pneumonia.
They are also often used by surgeons during therapeutic procedures, such as a coronary angioplasty, to help guide equipment to the area being treated.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
An MRI scanner is a large tube that contains powerful magnets. You lie inside the tube during the scan.
A computerised tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.
CT scans are also sometimes known as CAT scans, which stands for computerised axial tomography.
During a CT scan, you'll usually lie on your back on a flat bed. The CT scanner consists of an X-ray tube that rotates around your body. You'll usually be moved continuously through this rotating beam.
The X-rays will be received by a detector on the opposite side of your body and an image of the scan will be produced by a computer.
An ultrasound scan, sometimes called a sonogram, is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body, such as the heart.
As sound waves are used rather than radiation, the procedure is safe. Ultrasound scans are commonly used during pregnancy to produce images of the baby in the womb.
The British Institute of Radiology (BIR) is a multidisciplinary membership organisation connecting all those with a professional interest in imaging science and radiation technology.
The role of The Royal College of Radiologists is to advance the science and practice of radiology and oncology, further public education and promote study and research through setting professional standards of practice. The College is a charity registered with the Charity Commission (no. 211540).
The College is responsible for setting the curriculum for its two specialties to ensure that high educational standards are met in the interests of safe and responsible practice, assessment of schemes for training in the specialties of clinical radiology and clinical oncology and defining and monitoring programmes of education and training for clinical radiologists and clinical oncologists at all stages of their careers.