Elements of Radiological Style

last modified 6-Jul-2020

This is my personal style guide for reports, intended primarily for radiology residents and fellows, from the perspective of a body radiologist. Sometimes lost during a busy radiology rotation is the essential notion that the report is the primary “product” of a diagnostic radiologist. The report often constitutes your entire contribution to a patient’s care. In many settings, the report is also the only way the referring clinician knows you. Your diagnostic expertise is of little value if you cannot communicate effectively.

Style is a matter of opinion, and not all radiologists (and more importantly, referring clinicians) will agree about what is correct or important; witness the divide between structured and narrative reporting. However, clarity is always the goal. An important part of radiology training is the opportunity to observe and critique different attending reporting styles, so that you can make informed decisions about how best to report radiological findings.