Radiology is a vast subject and there are tons of books available. Given the shortage of time, a radiology resident needs to carefully choose what books he should read.
Here are some tips regarding radiology books and resources:
Tips for Radiology Residents
Start with standard textbooks
There are lots of resources available on the internet, including articles, case collections, and e-books. But trust me as a first-year resident you SHOULD start off by reading standard textbooks. Because there are so many resources on the internet, you will end up collecting them / browsing through them without reading them. These are definitely great resources and you should use them, but once you have got your basics clear by reading books.
Read physical books
Another trend that I have observed in residents is reading e-books on iPads and tablets. My experience is that you would retain a lot more once you read ACTUAL books.
I know that this may be difficult for everyone, considering that radiology books aren’t cheap. A good alternative is to rent books from Amazon (may not be available in all countries), your local library or your radiology department library. You can also share a few reference books among your colleagues if that is an option.
Keep reference books handy on your iPad and Kindles, especially the normal radiological anatomy books, while you are reporting. You can read about a particular case when you encounter one during your practice But for building up core concepts, you SHOULD stick to physical books!
Get in the habit of taking notes. A neat trick that I used was to stick on additional notes from articles into a standard book, so when I had to revise the topic I do not have to hunt elsewhere. You can also keep a small notebook or diary handy for taking notes during conferences. Alternatively, the iPad has some great note-taking apps like Notability and Good notes.
Now coming to the question that got you here: What are some good radiology books?
I have compiled the books that I found useful during my residency and fellowship. I know the list is long and it is not feasible for a first-year radiology resident to buy ALL books, but you can always read the reference books in the library or alternatively share books with your colleagues. Books and systems are listed in the order of priority: Essentials to optional.
Here is the system-wise list of recommended radiology books:
Fundamentals of Radiology
You need to have a basic”go-to” book, especially when you start your residency. I have listed a few books in this category. You can select ONE of these depending on your reading style and where you are doing your radiology residency.
Core Radiology: A Visual Approach to Diagnostic Imaging
- The #1 recommended book by radiology residents in this category.
- Full of images and illustrations for each topic (true to its name: “a visual approach”)
- Concise and to-the-point.
- Certain topics may not be covered in-depth, for which you can refer to the subspeciality books listed below.
Brant and Helms’ Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology
- Used to be the best foundation book for radiology until Core Radiology took over that position.
- The newer edition has expanded sections for cardiology and interventional radiology (IR).
- Make sure you get the version that is divided into volumes, which is easier to carry.
Grainger & Allison’s Diagnostic Radiology: 2-Volume Set 6th Edition
- Although it is difficult to read two basic radiology books, I think Sutton and Grainger are complimentary.
- The chapter on Abdominal Radiograph is a must-read for exams.
- Compared to its close cousin (Sutton), Grainger is updated regularly.
- This along with Grainger & Allison’s Diagnostic Radiology 5th Edition Single Best Answer MCQs is a great resource for the FRCR exam.
Chapman & Nakielny’s Aids to Radiological Differential Diagnosis
- This handbook is quintessential for all radiology residents and is MUST read for practicals.
- The updated 7th edition has divided the differentials into most common, less common and rare. These are now easier to recollect than the monotonous list in the previous versions.
- Also, do have a look at the second part of the book. It gives around 30-40 disease entities with point-wise radiology findings for each. Precise and easy to revise.
Radiology Review Manual – Dahnert
- Dahnert is a reference book for differentials.
- Has good illustrations which can come in handy in the theory exams. The illustrations for radiological signs in Hydatid disease is excellent!
- Do keep in mind that the book does not have radiological images. The text can get monotonous without accompanying images.
Learning Radiology: Recognizing the Basics
- Very good general radiology book, especially for first-year radiology residents and medical students.
- Compiled by radiologists from the website learningradiology.com.
- Textbook of Radiology and Imaging: 2-Volume Set by David Sutton: Although this is a great book, this has not been revised for. along time (18 years to be precise!). The chest section is good and some of the examiners still prefer to ask questions referening to this book.
- Primer of Diagnostic Imaging: A lot of simple line diagrams for which you can reproduce in the theory exams.
- The Final FRCR: Complete Revision Notes: This is a good book to revise topics a few days before the theory/ practical exam.
- Known Unknowns Of Everyday Radiology Practice.
- Small handbook which discusses practical radiology issues like radiation safety and contrast reactions
- Must have in any radiology department.
- Read the full review here.
- Clark’s Positioning In Radiography
- Reference book a copy of which is usually kept in all radiology departments.
- Difficult to remember positioning just by reading. The best way is to head to the radiography department. (We used to not only acquire radiographs during emergencies but also used to develop them manually!! ).
- A foundational book that all radiology residents should read.
- It is a fun read with lots of anecdotal examples from Felson’s personal.
- All students will at least have one case with a chest radiograph in their finals and you MUST understand the standard radiology signs (the silhouette sign, thoracic-abdominal sign, etc), best described in Felson.
- A book that every radiology resident may not like but has to read!
The Chest X-Ray: A Survival Guide by Gerald de Lacey
- A precise book that will give you the exact information that you are looking for, unlike Felson which has a more storytelling format.
- Lots of illustrations and radiographs make it easy to grasp difficult topics.
- Handy and easy to carry around which makes it an ideal companion for your first x-ray rotation.
The Unofficial Guide to Radiology
- Great alternative/companion to The Chest X-Ray: A Survival Guide
- Includes 100 Chest X-Rays, with Annotations and Full X-Ray Reports for reference and practice.
- A good book for general practitioners who want to brush up their chest radiography knowledge.
Webb – High-Resolution CT of the Lung
- An excellent book to understand the complex topic of interstitial lung diseases.
- Illustrations and images are top-notch.
- Considering that this one is pricey you can borrow this or have it in your department library.
- A good companion to the book are these excellent articles from Radiology Assistant:
Thoracic Imaging: Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Radiology
- Co-authored by Webb and an excellent companion to HRCT chest.
- A great primer for cardiovascular imaging (including congenital and acquired heart disorders).
- Thanks to Dr. Tan-Lucien Mohammed for this recommendation!
Additional books for further reading and thoracic radiology fellows:
- Imaging of Diseases of the Chest: Expert Consult by David Hansell.
- Thoracic Imaging: Case Review Series
Also, check our extensive collection of cardiothoracic imaging resources (including more than 100 videos by the Society of Thoracic Radiology):
Weir & Abrahams’ Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy
- THE best book for radiological anatomy
- Covers imaging anatomy for CT, MRI, and ultrasound.
- The latest edition also has a chapter dedicated to nuclear medicine.
- An essential book for the FRCR part 1 exam.
Good alternative: Pocket Atlas of Sectional Anatomy
- Three pocket-sized volumes covering imaging anatomy.
- A good book to refer to when you are reporting CT and MR
- All images are accompanied by illustrations which makes it easy to understand.
You can also check out our extensive collection of anatomy references here:
Other options: Imaios e-anatomy (App and website), Applied Radiological Anatomy, Anatomy for Diagnostic Imaging – Ryan and Applied Radiological Anatomy- Butler.
Fundamentals of Body CT by Webb / Brant
- Recommended book for R1s during your first CT rotation.
- Well organized and easy to read.
- The chest section is also a good read a substitute for other books mentioned above.
CT and MRI of the Whole Body – Haaga
- A 2-volume book set that covers both CT and MRI for all body systems.
- This is the book that I used for reading body CT and MRI.
Further reading and books for body/cross-section imaging fellows and practicing radiologists:
- Body MRI by Evan Siegelman – THE book for body MRI. Unfortunately, it has not been updated since the first edition that came out in 2004.
- Online MRI lectures by MRIonline.com are worth investing in, especially if you are a practicing radiologist. You can use the coupon code: RADIOGYAN_10 to get a 10 percent off on all the courses!
- CTisus.com by Dr. Elliot Fishman is a great resource for body CT.
Most of GI radiology is covered in the fundamental and body imaging books. Mayo Clinic Gastrointestinal Imaging Review and Introduction to Fluoroscopy: For Residents & Professionals Alike are good books for fluoroscopy which is not covered well in these books.
For further reading, the Textbook of Gastrointestinal Radiology Levine and Gore is an excellent GI book.
Musculoskeletal radiology (MSK)
Yochum And Rowe’s Essentials Of Skeletal Radiology
- A MUST read book for bone tumors, arthritides, and endocrine bone disorders.
- Each topic has a pink “Capsule summary box” at the end of the description which is very useful for last-minute revision.
- Also, don’t forget to read the skeletal radiology mnemonics in the Appendix.
- MRI is not covered well.
Further reading and books for MSK radiology fellows:
Stoller: Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.
- THE bible for MSK radiology.
- You can do a selective reading during your residency.
- A good book to read up after your residency if you develop an interest in MSK radiology.
- Musculoskeletal MRI 2nd Edition by Asif Saifuddin: A great book for case-based review of MSK pathology.
- MRIonline has good MSK MRI courses for individual joints as well.
- We have a few MSK MRI resources as well. Check them out here: MSK MRI resources
Fundamentals of Skeletal Radiology by Helms is a good book to start as a first-year resident. However, it does not cover a lot of other topics so I will not recommend buying it.
- Probably the ONLY book you will EVER need for neuroradiology!
- Fundamental books cover most of the neuroradiology required at a resident level . None the less, this is a good book for neuroradiology fellows and radiology residents.
Further reading and books for neuroradiology fellows/radiology practitioners
- Do read the spine section either from old Osborn or Musculoskeletal MRI Helms
- Neuroradiology: The Requisites.
- Barkovich Pediatric Neuroimaging
- Excellent book for pediatric neuroimaging but an overkill at a resident level.
Head and Neck Imaging
In Neck, once your anatomy concepts are good, the pathology part is not that difficult. HeadNeckBrainSpine is a good resource for anatomy.
This YouTube playlist by Dr. Harnsberger and Dr. Suresh Mukherjee is a good resource for Head and neck radiology:
Handbook of Head and Neck Imaging:
- Small handbooks but the illustrations cover anatomy in detail.
- Although the last edition came out in 1996 (!), it is still a good book to start with head-neck anatomy.
Head and Neck Imaging- Peter Som
- THE reference book for Head and Neck Radiology. Not essential at a resident level.
Again a separate book may not be required Accident and Emergency Radiology: A Survival Guide is a good book, especially if you are interested in taking up the FRCR exam.
- At a resident level, a separate book is not needed for pediatrics.
- For dedicated reading during fellowship or after residency following books are recommended:
Great book for Routine ultrasound and basic fetal imaging.
Introduction to Vascular Ultrasonography
Covers physics, neck vessels, and peripheral doppler well.
Callens Ultrasonography In Obstetrics And Gynecology
Recommended for advanced reading and for fetal medicine fellows.
Medical Imaging physics
Farr’s Physics for Medical Imaging
Recommended book for physics, especially if you plan to take the FRCR exam.
Christensen’s Physics of Diagnostic Radiology
A good book for first-year radiology residents to understand the basic physics of x-rays, image identifiers, and dark-room.
A small handbook that covers the essentials of MR physics.
For the physics of older conventional modalities, books like Fundamentals of X-Ray and Radium Physics by Joseph Selman and Chesney can be referred but I am not sure how relevant are these now.
Review of Radiologic Physics by Walter Huda and The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging by Bushberg are also good alternatives.
RSNA physics modules are free for members and are quite exhaustive as well.
A good and more exhaustive alternative for MRI physics is MRI in Practice by Catherine Westbrook. I would prefer Duke Review of MRI Physics: Case Review Series over this, considering its case-based approach topic like MRI physics.
Procedures and Interventional radiology (IR)
Radiological Procedures by Bhushan N Lakhkar.
A great resource for conventional procedures (barium, IVU, MCU, etc), instruments and table viva.
Chapman & Nakielny’s Guide to Radiological Procedures
A good alternate to Bhushan Lakhar’s procedure book.
Handbook of Interventional Radiologic Procedures Kandrappa
A dedicated book on IR is not required for all residents. If you are interested in IR and your program has a good IR department, this is more than enough.
Have questions about Interventional Radiology (IR)? Check out our detailed post:
Not required for most radiology residents program worldwide as the programs are separate.
Following nuclear medicine books are good for FRCR and some residency programs:
- Essentials of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging by Mettler Jr. MD MPH, Fred A. (Author), Guiberteau MD FACR FACNM, Milton J. (Author)
- Nuclear Medicine: The Requisites (Requisites in Radiology) by Ziessman MD
- At a resident level dedicated books on Cardiac imaging are not necessary.
- Here is a good resource for an introduction to Cardiac MRI: Cardiac MRI – The basics.
- For further reading: Cardiac Imaging: The Requisites
Mammography and breast imaging
At a resident level dedicated books on mammography are not necessary.
Following articles from Radiology Assistant are a great start:
For further reading and for breast radiology fellowships following books by Lazlo Tabar are good:
Breast Cancer – The Art and Science of Early Detection with Mammography: Perception, Interpretation, Histopathologic Correlation by Laszlo Tabar
Check out this unique interactive course on the basics of breast imaging:
I don’t think separate books are needed for cardiac imaging, pediatrics and breast imaging at a resident level. General radiology books cover these systems quite well. For practicing radiologists the radiology requisites series is good for specialty reading.
Books for the MD/DNB/DMRD theory exams
- These books do not need a separate introduction and are a must-read for radiology residents in India as they cover most questions asked in the radiology theory exams.
- Recent advances edition is a must-read for viva as well.
A good book for the radiology oral boards is Radiology Secrets. This is a small handbook with a unique question-answer based format.
Case-based imaging books
Also check out our collection of “Aunt-Minnie” radiology cases:
Radiology Search Pattern and Check-lists
Search Pattern: A Systematic Approach to Diagnostic Imaging by Dr. Long H. Tu
- When you start reading a study that you have not read before, a major hurdle is “Where do I start 😰 ?”. This book provides a search pattern for several radiological investigations for all modalities (Radiographs, Fluoroscopy, CT, and MRI).
- An ideal companion for reporting as a radiologist or a radiology resident in their final years of residency.
- A good resource for R1 and R2 residents who are starting call as it guides where to look for.
- Although the book does not provide reporting templates, you can create your own templates using the question-based checklist for each system.
- Do note that the book does not have images or illustrations.
Musculoskeletal MRI Structured Evaluation: How to Practically Fill the Reporting Checklist by Dr. Avneesh Chabra
- A perfect combination of check-list based reporting and conventional radiology textbook.
- Each joint / pathology is described in detail under these headings:
- A stepwise interpretation approach including what to look at in each sequence. For eg : “Start with the coronal images in order to evaluate the AC joint and subacromial/subdeltoid (SASD) bursa abnormalities, superior humeral subluxation, low-set acromion (AC subluxation), or lateral downsloping of the acromion”
- A structured reporting template for the joint/ pathology.
- Elaborate discussion on how to fill each section of the reporting template. This portion is similar to a conventional textbook and has representative normal and pathological images.
Books for the ABR core exams and boards
- Core Radiology: A Visual Approach to Diagnostic Imaging
- Living up to its name it has some excellent images and illustrations.
- Also a great introductory book for first-year radiology residents.
- Books authored by Prometheus MD. These are highly rated by radiology residents and are a MUST read for the boards.
- Essentials of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging by Mettler.
- ABR non-interpretive skill (NIS) booklet.
- Board Buster and UCSF videos.
- ABR Radiographics articles.
- Internal Board Reviews.
- Question banks:
Here is the complete guide for the ABR core exam by Dr. Mustafa Alhasan
Recommended Books for the FRCR exam
Although the FRCR exam has been covered in detail in a separate post, we have listed the book recommendations for the exam.
First FRCR examination
- Farr’s Physics for Medical Imaging. THE most important text.
- MCQs for the First FRCR (Oxford Specialty Training: Revision Texts) – by Vardhanabhuti and Gray James is the MCQ book I followed and found very useful and representative of the exam questions. Every chapter of this MCQ book follows that of Farr’s Physics for Medical Imaging and it is ideal to do them together.
- FRCR Physics Notes: Beautiful revision notes for the First FRCR Physics exam
- Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy’ by Abrahams. is sufficient.
Final FRCR part A examination
- SBAs for the Final FRCR 2A (Oxford Specialty Training: Revision Texts): Part 1 and Part 2: –2 books with 600 single best answers each- by Robin Proctor.
- Get Through FRCR Part 1: MCQs and Mock Examination.
- SBAs for the Final FRCR 2A – The Oxford book, by Richard Lindsay : I found this book to be most representative of the exam.
- SBAs for the Final FRCR 2A – The Cambridge book, by Stuart Currie.
- Revision Notes for Final FRCR Part A by Kshitji Mankad.
- If you are reading Grainger and Allison’s Textbook of Diagnostic Radiology, a companion MCQ book is available. I worked out the MCQ book and revised the textbook retrospectively.
Final FRCR part B examination:
- Accident and Emergency Radiology: A Survival Guide – MUST READ for Rapid reporting.
- Final FRCR 2B Viva: A Survival Guide.
- FRCR 2B Viva: A Case-based Approach
- A Complete Guide to the Final FRCR 2B (MasterPass)
- Rapid Review of Radiology (Medical Rapid Review Series)
- Long cases for the Final FRCR 2B
- Top 3 Differentials in Radiology: A Case Review, Thieme publication
- Chapman & Nakielny’s Aids to Radiological Differential Diagnosis.
- Radiology Review Manual – Dahnert
You can check out the complete article here:
Resources and books for medical students
Although radiology is not one of the major subjects in medical school, it is increasingly being integrated into everyday clinical practice and hence it is imperative for medical students to be cognizant with the basics of radiology. Also after the introduction of the NEET entrance exam, radiology has assumed more importance in the entrance exams. These are a few books that medical students can read for learning the basics of radiology and help them with these exams as well.
Learning Radiology: Recognizing the Basics. You can also browse the following pages from the Learning Radiology website :
- Medical students page
- Radiology signs
- Most commons in radiology
- Radiology quizzes
- Radiology flashcards
- Video podcasts from Learning Radiology
- Radiology Museum depicting important events in Radiology history like Roentgen’s journey of discovering X-rays.
Radiology books for entrance exams like NEET/AIIMS / PGI
- Sumer Sethi Radiology Review: Most recommended book by residents who have cleared NEET recently.
- Conceptual Review of Radiology-Nothing Beyond for PGMEE.
- Review of Radiology (PGMEE)
- Getting Started in Clinical Radiology: From Image to Diagnosis
- Essentials of Radiology– Mettler.
Free resources for radiology residents
We have compiled a list of free to download radiology resources. These include free to download PDF books and presentations (PPT).
Hopefully, you find this list of recommended books for radiology residents useful. If I have missed any book you can contact me here.
P.S. Make sure you buy the latest edition while buying online. Also, a lot of websites and telegram groups offer free radiology books PDFs but I would not recommend these, and you should prefer reading books in the physical form.
Disclosure: Dr. Tu has sent me a free copy of his book “Search Pattern: A Systematic Approach to Diagnostic Imaging” for review.