Depending on what procedure you have planned, you may visit a different type of MRT:
If you are having a general x-ray, CT, angiogram, breast imaging, or other type of radiation-based scan, you will visit a radiological technologist. They make up 80% of all MRTs. These MRTs produce internal images of your body using the latest imaging technology. Radiological technologists not only have a high degree of technological training, they are also trained and committed to providing comprehensive and compassionate care to each patient. Most radiological procedures involve only a short exposure to low-level radiation. Radiological technologists provide the lowest dose possible to obtain a quality diagnostic image. Protective coverings can be placed on patients to help minimize their exposure. Technologists wear protective clothing, or stand behind protective barriers, to avoid unnecessary exposure.
If you require radiation therapy, for example to help you fight cancer, then you will see a radiation therapist. Radiation therapists use focused beams of radiation to destroy tumours, while minimizing harm to healthy tissues. Treatment may involve placing radioactive sources directly into the patient’s body. Radiation treatments often take place over several weeks. You may experience side effects from treatment — your radiation therapist can counsel you on how to cope with, or even lessen, symptoms. Unsurprisingly, a special supportive relationship usually develops between the radiation therapist, the patient and family members.
If your doctor is seeking a diagnosis using nuclear medicine, you will visit a nuclear medicine technologist. They are trained in the use of radioactive drugs called tracers that concentrate in specific organs and allow for detailed diagnostic imaging procedures. This kind of imaging is important for diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and monitoring of disease as it shows organs and systems in action. Nuclear medicine technologists are experts in the safe use of radiopharmaceuticals, as well as techniques to ensure patient comfort and reassurance.
If you are scheduled for an MRI, your MRT will be a magnetic resonance technologist. These professionals produce diagnostic images using equipment that generates radio waves and a strong magnetic field to capture highly detailed 3-D images of the inside of your body. They have extensive knowledge of anatomy, pathology and physiology, as well as an understanding of how to help patients cope with the anxiety of having a scan. Since magnetic resonance does not involve the use of ionizing radiation, radiation protection is unnecessary. However, claustrophobia can be a problem for certain patients, since magnetic resonance scans require sliding the patient into a body-length tunnel.
You can learn more about visiting an MRT on the Image of Care website, created in partnership with CAMRT, the National MRT Association