Radiology Mnemonics
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What are Mnemonics?

Radiology Mnemonics: Mnemonics (pronounced mnemonics) is a motor ability to simplify things to remember them. It could be a simple word, an expression, or a sentence that helps retrieve crucial information with ease. From rhyming phrases to acronyms, mnemonics contain words we use daily, making them easy to recall. 

Radiology mnemonics is a classification of clinical mnemonics. Here’s how to frame your mnemonic based on clinical terms, diagnostic symptoms, and illness.

Framing Mnemonics

Like mathematics, mnemonics follow a pattern, making it easy to remember. From alphabetical orders to substitute daily phrases, you can use an acronym like RICE. A crucial terminology in imparting first-aid care like rest, ice, compression, elevation. It serves as a modus operandi to treat bruise and sprain like conditions. 

Who needs Mnemonics?

Clinical professionals, medical school students, or post-graduate (MD, MS) aspirants need mnemonics to substitute for complex jargon that is difficult to remember as a whole. It serves handy while appearing in a clinical examination to explain patients with ease. A classic brain teaser, mnemonics, enhances your memory to recall even the most confusing clinical terminology.

Classifying Mnemonic Techniques

  • Acronym (name mnemonics)
  • Expression mnemonics
  • Musical mnemonics
  • Note organisation mnemonics
  • Spelling mnemonics

Name Mnemonics

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) is the most common mnemonic for medical school students. Acronyms are the most common type of mnemonics we use. FAST is a clinical term used to understand stroke symptoms. It means face, arms, speech, time checking the effect of paralysis as a side-effect of stroke. 

Expression Mnemonics

Common words like rainbow contain 7-letters which highlights 7-colours. This pattern of mnemonics is handy for learning or remembering information chronologically. “My Very Educated Mother Showed Us Nine Planets”, a chronological list of 7-planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) and Pluto. 

Musical Mnemonics

Seven musical notes when climbing the sharp is “Every Grandma Bakes Delicious Fudge Always.” Nursery kids sing their lessons with A-B-C/1-2-3 in a rhyming pattern. When composing a poem/song, musical mnemonics help express meaning correctly. 

Note organisation Mnemonics

An innovative approach to classifying data, information concisely using flashcards and stick notes to highlight facts, doubts that need solutions. From medical school students to clinical professionals, note organisation mnemonics shuffles workload according to priority.

Spelling Mnemonics

Most of us confuse spellings having vowels “i” and “e” consecutively. While writing their/neighbour/weight, the rule is “e” comes before “i”, while “i” comes before “e” for thief/chief/brief.

Examples of Common Clinical Mnemonics

  • BLAB (bone, liver, adrenals, brain)
  • ABCDEF (achalasia, barret’s oesophagus, corrosive oesophagitis, diverticulitis, oesophageal web, familial)
  • DR. GERM (distension, rigidity, guarding, evisceration, rebound tenderness, masses)
  • FAST (face, arms, speech, time)
  • PET-MAC (pulmonary embolism, oesophageal rupture, tension pneumothorax, myocardial infarction, aortic dissection, cardiac tamponade)
  • PQRST (pericardial effusion, quantity of fluid raised, right heart failure, superior vena cava obstruction, tricuspid stenosis)
  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • SAMPLE (signs and symptoms, allergies, medications, past medical history, last meal, events leading up to the injury)
  • SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, plan)

Examples of Radiology Mnemonics

To examine chest radiography, remember,

“Pamela found our rotation particularly exciting; very highly condemned ‘cus she arouses”. Considering the first letter of all the words, it means:

  • Patient information
  • Film information
  • Objects used (electrodes)
  • Rotation
  • Penetration
  • Expansion
  • Vessels
  • Hila
  • Costophrenic angles
  • Mediastinum
  • Cardiothoracic ratio
  • Soft tissues and bones
  • Air (pneumothorax, diaphragm)

To understand chest radiography interpretation, remember ABCDEF:

  • AP
  • Body position
  • Confirm name
  • Date
  • Exposure
  • Films for comparison

To examine lesions observed during chest radiography, remember it’s WEIRD to spot HOLES on a chest X-Ray. WEIRD means:

  • Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • Embolic (septic)
  • Infection (viral, bacterial, microorganisms)
  • Rheumatoid (necrobiotic nodules)
  • Developmental cysts (sequestration)

HOLES means:

  • Histiocytosis
  • Oncological
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
  • Environmental
  • Sarcoid

To interpret a bone fracture, remember CRITOE:

  • Capitellum
  • Radial head
  • Internal epicondyle
  • Trochlea
  • Olecranon
  • External epicondyle

When dealing with a head injury, remember Blood Can Be Very Bad while examining a CT scan:

  • Blood
  • Cistern
  • Brain
  • Ventricles
  • Bone

Remember ABCD while examining neck sagittal X-ray. It means:

  • Anterior (to spot swelling)
  • Bones (locate fractures)
  • Cartilage (find out slipped disc)
  • Dark spots (when present in masses show blood clots)

To study X-rays of osteoarthritis, remember LOSS. It means:

  • Loss (joint space decreases)
  • Osteophytes
  • Subchondral sclerosis
  • Subchondral cysts

Thoracic vertebrae bones can confuse while studying X-rays of T1 or T2. Remember WW2 (world war 2), it means:

  • Fat appears white in a T1 X-ray scan
  • Water appears white in a T2 X-ray scan

Brain X-rays are crucial to detect an underlying cyst-like formation. Remember BREASTS, it means:

  • Beryllium
  • Radiation
  • Extrinsic allergic alveolitis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • TB
  • Siliconiosis

How to develop and remember Mnemonics?

Mnemonics are improvised memory techniques to remember complex and lengthy information. It’s derived from the Greek mnēmonikos (meaning memory), a neat trick to bridge detailed information into gist (few words, sentences, or rhyming phrases). Using mnemonics enhances recollection, adds a creative meaning, and makes learning fun. 

Students should try developing mnemonics because it enhances learning potential. A day-to-day figure of speech like TYSM (thank you so much) to SYL (see you later) has solved time crunch issues in communication. A medical school syllabus requires studying smart to cover vast topics within a limited time. Creating mnemonics is a fun idea if designed meticulously to prevent mix up. 

Here’s an easy guide to framing mnemonics:

  • Decide on the pattern or rule you intend to follow
  • Write the information you intend to form mnemonics
  • Use the first letter of every word to design a sequence based on rhyming phrases.
  • Design the mnemonics such that it’s easy to recollect
  • Practice it regularly to master the mnemonics


Mnemonics play a crucial role in recollecting clinical terms. The vitality of accurate information is indispensable while performing a diagnosis. The technique of filtering information, highlighting the vital figures, and wrapping them using easy phrases is the secret of beautiful mnemonics. Flashcards and stick notes highlight these figurines in your study or clinical workplace, acting as a natural revision every time you look at them. 

If you are a medical school student preparing for post-graduation or require academic guidance, try eGurukul. Get counselling and quality strategy from the best experts to crack competitive exams.

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