Department of Radiology

Faculty of Medicine

Evolution of the Discipline of Radiology at the Faculty of Medicine


Establishment of the Radiology Unit

The history of Radiology Unit at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, dates back to 1981. The Faculty of Medicine Peradeniya pioneers the incorporation of radiology in the medical curriculum since the inception of the Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya in 1981. The WHO sponsored the first visiting consultant radiologist in the university system, Dr. Gaminda K. Warusavithana, and he was appointed as Senior Lecturer to a cadre post in the Department of Surgery in 1983. Until 1984, the only imaging modalities utilized in radiological diagnosis at this hospital were plain radiography and fluoroscopy. He served for a period of three years. The post remained vacant until 1989.


Dr. Premini Amerasinghe, a competent and very experienced radiologist was appointed thereafter to this post, and she served the university until 1995. Both functioned as consultant radiologists at the Department of Radiology, Teaching Hospital Peradeniya and also contributed to teaching medical undergraduates at the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Premini Amerasinghe was responsible for expanding the scope of radiology at Peradeniya. Additional space was obtained to house the angiographic equipment, extending imaging facilities to complement the vascular surgery being done by Prof. C. Ratnatunga. Further, ultrasonography was introduced to medical imaging at the Peradeniya hospital during her tenure.


Mr. S.M.A. Senaratne was the first radiographer appointed to the Peradeniya hospital. Later three other radiographers were appointed, with Mr. Vinayagamoorthy, as the chief radiographer. Ms. Vijitha Kumarihamy served untiringly from 1983 as the chief radiographer until her retirement in 2008. Mr. Karalasigham a trained radiographer in the department of surgery was also on the radiographey roster in the early years.


Dawn of a new era

The increasing demand for expert radiologists resulted in the Department of Medicine recruiting Dr. Badra Hewavithana as a Senior Lecturer in 1994. She successfully extended ultra sound scanning service, to hospitals in Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Nuwara Eliya and Matale in the Central Province. In addition, services were provided to hospitals in Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, until radiologists were appointed to these stations. Radiology service expanded from diagnostic to interventional radiology. She pioneered the 24-hour radiology service with a consultant on call at the Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya, the first such service in Sri Lanka. This 24-hour service is of great benefit to surgeons, not only to help in the management of the critically ill patients, but also to enable reduction of intussusceptions in children under ultra sound guidance, thus avoiding surgical intervention. Notably, Professor Channa Ratnatunga has enabled the Radiology Department of the Teaching Hospital Peradeniya to attain high standards in the discipline of radiology.

Dr. Shanthini Rosairo, a consultant radiologist, joined the department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine as a senior Lecturer in 1998, enriching and complementing the service function in the hospital department and in the undergraduate and post graduate teaching. Upon completing overseas training, Dr. Rosairo returned in year 2000, and together with Dr. Hewavithana started post graduate training at Teaching Hospital Peradeniya. Dr. Hewavithana and Dr. Rosairo produced  about 50 consultant radiologists within just two years proving their dedication for teaching. During this period, Dr. Rosairo extensively addressed different research areas such as breast radiology, Hepatobiliary Radiology, Testicular microlithiasis and Lymphoedema.

Radiology unit, the academic wing of Radiology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, was established in year 2006. Teaching of radiology and imaging to undergraduate medical students in a systemic and organized manner commenced during this period. Applied anatomy lectures highlighting the correlation between gross and radiological anatomy, were introduced in first and second years, and a two-week clinical appointment on imaging during the fourth year.


Establishment of the “Radiology Department”

The idea of having a separate Department of Radiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya was mooted by emeritus Professor A.P.R Aluwihare. The then Dean, Prof. Chula Goonasekara extended his whole hearted commitment and support to this proposal and strived to obtain approval of the University Grants Commission (UGC). As this was the first such department to be created in the university system in Sri Lanka, there was initial apprehension from other faculties of Medicine and UGC approval was granted initially to set up a Unit with the potential of upgrading it to a Department of Radiology at a later date.


The two pillars of the now Radiology Department Dr. Hewavithana and Dr. Rosairo with their immense efforts upgraded the “Radiology Unit” to the “Department of Radiology” in 2012 with the approval from UGC. Dr. Hewavithana being upgraded her academic service to Professorship in the same year, was appointed as the head of the newly established Radiology Department of the Faculty of Medicine at University of Peradeniya.


This new department offered more space for student centred learning. The aim of fostering a solid background in radiology for future physicians was achieved by the developing a film library (museum). The library contains a collection of material, both electronic and otherwise, of radiological learning material for undergraduate and post graduate studies.


Dr. Rosairo took over responsibilities from Prof. Hewavithana in 2015 and serves as the Head of the Radiology Department to date. She organized several workshops and seminars to general public and for the radiologists to enhance their knowledge related to cancer and radiology. The museum film library is underway improving digitizing old films, and systematic colour coded film packets.