What kind of math/physics is used in radiology?

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by DS91, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. DS91

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    This is a field that i have been interested in for a while, but i just need to know what type of math is needed for this specialty, it's definitely not my strongest subject, mostly because i never really applied myself in it, and i never took physics at all in high school. Though i think if i went to a community college or get a tutor or something, i could get an understanding of it.

    Basically what im asking is, what kind of math do you need to know, and how to you use it in radiology.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. Baller MD

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    Bump.

    Can current residents/attendings chime in on this subject? Greatly appreciated.
     
    #2 Baller MD, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  4. loljkttyl

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    I'm a current resident. For the average practicing radiologist, you need to know very little basic math. For example, you might divide the width of the cardiac silhouette by the thorax to determine if there is a big heart on a chest radiograph (or you can just estimate it by eyeballing it). You might use subtraction to subtract to find the difference between the liver and spleen on CT to determine if the liver is fatty. You also use a combination of division and subtraction to determine carotid artery stenosis. I guess if you were doing a research project, you might need to know some basic statistics (but some departments have in-house statisticians). In terms physics, most of what you are required to know are conceptual...or relationships (i.e., if you double this factor, how does it affect another factor?) This is nowhere near as difficult as the crazy integrals you encountered in AP or college physics.
     
  5. you will need to learn medical imaging physics to pass the boards. And I don't think it's as straightforward as the above poster is implying
     
  6. shark2000

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    Are you a medical student or a premed?
     
  7. EeePC1005PR

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    It depends on what you mean by "is used in radiology".

    Physics
    You can go as deep as you like into the underlying maths and physics involved. But for exam purpose, if you can understand what Sprawls (www.sprawls.org) is on about, that's more than enough to get you a pass (in physics).

    Maths
    Maths-wise you need to know basic algebra and trigonometry to work. Or you can dig deep into the maths of image / signal processing algorithms which probably involve complicated matrices and calculus in order to manipulate large data sets efficiently. They really take one's career to master and you'd be looking at Engineering rather than Medicine. Check out these two general books on image processing algorithms. They are not specific for radiology. Both of them are quite reader friendly and involve university level maths. They should give you a taste of what kind of maths is involved in the machines and software that radiologists use.
    http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Graphics-Principles-Practice-Edition/dp/0201848406
    http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Image-Processing-Rafael-Gonzalez/dp/013168728X

    If you are on the program already, it's probably a good idea to spend as little time as you need to pass physics. Spend more time on anatomy, pathology and clinical aspects of radiology. 99% of the time you'll be talking to clinicians rather than physicists or mathematicians. GE / Philips / Toshiba / Siemens / PACS / onsite IT or physicist can take care of the difficult maths and physics for you.
     
    #6 EeePC1005PR, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  8. samsoniter

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    check out the MR physics course on e-anatomy....this will give you an idea of the conceptual fortitude required to understand (at least in my opinion) the most complicated man made thing on earth, curse you Fourier transform!
    Well okay the large hadron collider is probably a bit more complex, but my point is you are not deriving equations, you are trying to assimilate information from the micro realm to the macro/anatomical realm....which can be fun and frustrating alike.
     
  9. konRAD 1

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    I'll second the e-anatomy rec. The MRI tutorial is great.
     

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