Insider Guide to Understanding Your Radiology Report

A selection of guides, interviews, patient stories, and more to help get past the medical jargon in radiology reports, and straight to the important stuff.

Feeling Confused by Your Radiolgy Report?


Feeling Confused by Your Radiolgy Report?

Medical imaging tests are one of the greatest tools we have to help us understand what’s going on inside our bodies. But for most of us, trying to read a radiology report can be as difficult as attempting to decipher morse code. So let’s start demystifying your results.

Main Sections in a Radiology Report

Confirm Diagnosis Before Treatment


This section describes exactly how the exam was performed, including the field of view and whether contrast was used. This information is helpful to your radiologist and healthcare providers.


Multiplanar multisequence MR imaging was performed of the brain and IACs with and without contrast.

Conflicting Diagnosis


In this section of a radiology report, the radiologist will list any exams used for comparison. If you have had previous imaging done of the same body area, but notice it is not listed in this section of your report, it’s a good idea to check-in with your providers and let them know you have prior exams. When available, comparisons offer valuable information and are an important part of a thorough analysis.


Comparison made with previous cervical spine MRI dated 17-June-2018.

Conflicting Diagnosis


Typically the longest section in a radiology report, this is where the radiologist lists each piece of anatomy examined in the study, along with notes regarding what they saw on the scan. You will likely see words such as unremarkable, normal, abnormal, or potentially abnormal used as descriptors for each section. If something is found to appear abnormal, an explanation should follow describing the abnormality.


Lungs: Scattered centrilobular groundglass nodules, most prominent in the right middle lobe.
Pleural space: Unremarkable. No pneumothorax. No effusion.
Heart: Unremarkable. No cardiomegaly. No pericardial effusion.

Conflicting Diagnosis


The impression section of a radiology report contains the meat of the interpretation. It is the most critical part of the report and the section that you should pay the most attention to. Here, the radiologist summarizes their analysis of the findings in relation to your clinical history. The impression is essentially the result of your diagnostic imaging scan.


Scattered centrilobular ground-glass nodules are more prominent in the right middle lobe. Differential diagnosis includes hypersensitivity pneumonitis, respiratory bronchiolitis, endobronchial spread of infection (TB, non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection, aspergillosis).

Ask a Radiologist


Ask a Radiologist

“If only I could ask a radiologist all my questions...” - YOU CAN! DocPanel’s second opinions go beyond just another interpretation of your scan. With over 450 subspecialists, you will be matched with a radiologist who has specific expertise in the type of modality, body part, and/or condition being evaluated in your exam. Upon submitting your scan, you will also be able to send a list of specific questions you’d like the radiologist to answer in their report. For example, “Is there any evidence of MS in my brain MRI?” You can also ask questions about the terminology in your report, such as, “My report indicates Scattered centrilobular ground-glass nodules - what does that mean?”

How does it work and what will this cost me?

The cost for a DocPanel second opinion is $199 and you get your results back in 24-48 hours. You can use the service from anywhere in the world. Check out our how-to guide for step-by-step guidance.

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