Postdoctoral Fellowships Thoracic Radiology

Ella A. Kazerooni, M.D.

In the past decade there has been growing awareness of the need for focused subspecialty-training in imaging technologies and organ system radiology, including thoracic radiology. Once thought of as a specialty that almost entirely involved the interpretation of chest radiographs, thoracic radiology has grown to include CT, MR, ultrasound and interventional procedures. Thoracic radiologists provide expertise is these arenas to consulting physicians not only in pulmonary and critical care medicine, oncology and thoracic surgery, but all fields of medicine; the chest radiograph remains the highest volume radiology examination performed in inpatient and outpatient radiology facilities.

Special knowledge of pulmonary and cardiovascular anatomy, physiology and disease states together with expertise in the interpretation of chest radiography, CT and MRI, and the performance of chest-related invasive procedures is in great demand. While this is particularly true in academic radiology departments, and specialized pulmonary and cardiac hospitals, the value of trained thoracic radiology experts has also been recognized in the private practice arena. One-third of trainees completing thoracic radiology fellowships in the past ten years have entered private practice immediately after completing a thoracic radiology training program (STR Spring 1998 Survey).

In the last five years, twice the number of radiologists completed thoracic radiology fellowships (STR Spring 1998 Survey) compared to the previous five years. However, there continues to be a serious shortage of fellowship-trained thoracic radiologists. Ironically, thoracic fellowships at many prestigious institutions remain unfilled. Opportunities exist for excellent training in thoracic imaging in preparation for either a private practice or academic career.