A chiropractic radiologist is a specialist with extra years of training.
What is Chiropractic Radiology?
As of 2010, there were only about 150 chiropractic radiologists in the United States. Chiropractors, however, “regularly use imaging technologies in their practices”. Doctors of Chiropractic are allowed to use “plain film radiography”, with many states granting DCs the ability to order and interpret imaging, as long as they have the proper credentials and training. Laws vary by state, but chiropractors can typically order ultrasound, CT, or MRI studies. Chiropractic radiologists can “read and interpret films”. The American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (ACBR) is a stringent specialty board that provides exams to allow for board certification in chiropractic radiology. Chiropractic radiologists (DACBR) have the diplomate of ACBR from the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology. They not only pass the certification, but they must maintain continuing education. The radiologists interpret chiropractic images, and they can sometimes perform imaging exams such as CT, ultrasound, MRI, and radiographs. What makes chiropractic radiologists different from medical radiologists is that the chiropractic radiologists focus on the neuromusculoskeletal parts of the body, and they are also DCs, not medical doctors.1 American Radiology Services is one example of an organization that provides medical radiology.2
Chiropractic Radiologist Training
How to become a radiologist depends on the field in which the person wishes to work. The American College of Radiology is a school that offers courses in MRI, ultrasound, computed tomography, PET/CT, and mixed modalities, as well as subspecialties that focus on various parts of the body.3 The American Chiropractic College of Radiology provides three years of full-time coursework in radiology with scholarly, academic, and clinical components. The ACCR also has a Residency for “advanced educational training to qualified, licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) in diagnostic imaging” so that residents are prepared for the ACBR exam.4 It generally takes about 300-400 training hours to learn about plain film radiography in chiropractic school. About 4000 hours of didactic and practical training is required for chiropractic radiologists. Each state has regulations regarding scope of practice.5 Chiropractic radiologists can interpret advanced imaging as well as plain film. They could work in private practice, research, or even “serve as an expert witness in matters of litigation”.6 In terms of competition with the medical community, Tracy G. Hoyt, DC, DACBR noted, “I think medical radiologists don’t have concerns… I don’t think they know… that we even exist”. In some cases, chiropractic radiologists “may work in conjunction with a medical imaging center to assist in referrals and interpretation”, according to Terry Yochum, DC, DACBR, FACCR. There are, however, relatively few chiropractic radiologists.7