Medical Physics

Medical Physics is an applied branch of physics concerned with the application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The medical physicist works closely with other medical/engineering practitioners and health care providers including physicians, technologists, and biomedical engineers for the sake of improvising health care service.

Who are the Medical Physicists

Medical physicists contribute to the effectiveness of radiological imaging procedures by assuring radiation safety and helping to develop improved imaging techniques (e.g., mammography CT, MR, ultrasound). They contribute to the development of therapeutic techniques (e.g., prostate implants, stereotactic radiosurgery), collaborate with radiation oncologists to design treatment plans, and monitor equipment and procedures to ensure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location.

Scope of Practice

The essential responsibility of the Qualified Medical Physicist’s clinical practice is to assure the safe and effective delivery of radiation to achieve a diagnostic or therapeutic result as prescribed in patient care. The medical physicist performs or supervises the pertinent procedures necessary to achieve this objective. The responsibilities of the medical physicist include protection of the patient and others from potentially harmful or excessive radiation; establishment of adequate protocols to ensure accurate patient dosimetry; the measurement and characterization of radiation; the determination of delivered dose; the advancement of procedures necessary to ensure image quality; development and direction of quality assurance programs; and assistance to other health care professionals in optimizing the balance between the beneficial and deleterious effects of radiation.

How to Become a Medical Physicist

Academic programs in medical physics leading to a master’s or doctor’s degree are offered at several universities in Saudi Arabia and around the world. A strong background in general physics is highly desirable before entry into these programs. The most common programs emphasize the physical properties and medical applications of radiation of all types. Other important skills that should be acquired during academic training include knowledge of electronics and computer techniques.

Academic studies alone do not make a medical physicist. Practical experience with medical problems is essential. This experience may be acquired through a residency traineeship or post-doctoral program of one or two years in a hospital. These programs are becoming an increasingly important mode of entry into the profession.

Medical Physics in Hospitals

In medcial centers, you can find medical physicists working in one of the following departments:

Diagnostic Radiology Imaging

Diagnostic imaging is about a variety of machines, which it can produce images for body’s structures and activities using different techniques and different types of radiation.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is one of medical imaging branch, which it uses an amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat diseases within the body.

Radiation Protection

This unit is to manage and protect public and workers health by assessing the risks from radiation exposure in environment.


Radiotherapy is using high-energy radiation to treat cancer. It can be outside the body (external radiotherapy) or inside the body (internal radiotherapy).