X-ray Imaging / Radiography
Radiography is the use of x-ray radiation to produce 2-dimensional images of internal body structures to help physicians diagnose and treat various medical conditions. X-ray imaging is painless and has been in use since 1895. Medical uses of x-ray are many, ranging from imaging the skeletal system of bones, to imaging soft tissues such as lung diseases with chest x-rays, or intestinal or urinary system structures with contrast materials.
For most x-ray procedures, there is no preparation needed, and appointments are not needed. All of the RIA centers provide radiography services for "walk-in" patients. Imaging is quick and results can be provided to your physician as quickly as needed.
What should I expect?
Radiography uses of a small amount of x-ray radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays, or electromagnetic radiation, like light or radio waves, pass through most objects, including the body. An x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation and a receptor aligned with the x-ray records an image of the x-ray that is transferred through the body.
Different parts of the body absorb the x-rays in varying degrees. Dense bone absorbs more of the radiation than soft tissue, such as muscle, fat and organs, which allow more of the x-rays to pass through them. As a result, bones appear whiter on the image, soft tissue shows up in shades of gray, and air appears black.
Generally, more than one x-ray image will be taken to give the radiologist at least two views of the anatomy. You will be asked to remain as still as possible during the very short exposure time. If necessary, you will be instructed to hold your breath in order to prevent motion from blurring the image.
Radiography is most commonly used for bone imaging to:
- To diagnose broken bones or joint dislocation.
- To demonstrate proper alignment and stabilization of bony fragments following treatment of a fracture.
- Help guide orthopedic surgery, such as spine repair/fusion, joint replacement and fracture reductions.
- To look for injury, infection, arthritis, abnormal bone growths, bony changes seen in metabolic conditions.
- To assist in the detection and diagnosis of bone cancer.
- Help locate foreign objects in soft tissues.
Film to Digital Images
Until recently, x-ray images were created on and maintained as film (much like a photographic negative). Today, most images are captured and stored as digital files. These stored images are easily accessible and can be printed to film, but now are more often saved to a disc or CD or sent electronically to remote viewing devices
A Word About Minimizing Radiation Exposure
Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible to produce diagnostic quality images. National and international radiology protection councils continually review and update the technique standards used by radiology professionals. RIA is committed to radiation safety.
State-of-the-art x-ray systems have tightly controlled x-ray beams with significant filtration and dose control methods to minimize stray or scatter radiation. This ensures that those parts of a patient's body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
In This Section
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Women's Imaging