X-ray is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging used to diagnose conditions in the chest, bone, sinuses, skull, or spine. It is the fastest and easiest way for a physician to view and assess broken bones and can also be used to diagnose and monitor the progression of degenerative diseases.
How Radiology (X-ray) Works
Unlike most forms of radiation, X-rays can pass through body tissue, making it possible to provide images of internal structures without performing surgery. During the procedure, electromagnetic radiation passes through the body onto film. Dense structures such as bone absorb most of the radiation and appear white on developed film. Structures that are less dense appear in lighter shades of gray and black.
Types of X-rays
Different types of X-rays are offered at specific imaging center locations, some include:
- Abdominal X-rays
- Bone X-rays
- Chest X-rays
- General Radiology
- Intravenous Pyelography (IVP) – Evaluations of the kidneys, ureter, and bladder.
Are X-rays Safe?
There is little reason to worry about the small amount of radiation you will be exposed to when you receive an X-ray. However, for your safety certain questions may be asked, e.g "Are you pregnant or suspect that you may be?". Signs are posted reminding you that you should inform your physician or technologist before the test is performed, as special precautions may need to be taken.
- Radiologist - matches imaging and radiology findings with other examinations and tests, recommends further examinations or treatments, and confers with referring physicians. Like other physicians, the radiologist must have graduated from an accredited medical school, passed a licensing examination, and completed at least four years of graduate medical education (residency). The radiologist must also be board certified, that is, approved to practice in the field by either the American Board of Radiology (for a medical doctor) or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology (for an osteopath).
- Radiology technologists - take the images that are ordered by your doctor. They are required to have state certifications. Technologists have completed extensive training courses in the area of diagnostic radiology.