X-ray medical diagnostic technologies use an electrical device that emits x-rays and is connected to a dedicated computer to create two-dimensional pictures of internal body structures for medical professionals to use in diagnosing their patients. An x-ray examination is particularly valuable in diagnosing various health conditions or diseases that affect the human body’s bones and chest.
Any standard x-ray Gold Coast diagnostic examination is non-invasive, painless, and does not require any recovery time. The radiation dose put out during an x-ray examination is widely considered by medical professionals as very safe and equal to the amount of radiation a person would receive from the environment in about a week. An x-ray diagnostic examination creates highly defined images of a human body’s internal organs or bones to facilitate diagnosing various health conditions or injuries.
The dose of radiation a patient may receive depends on the specific area of their body being examined. Smaller areas of the human body such as the hand receive a lesser dose of radiation as compared to larger areas such as the entire front or back of the body. It is also very important for female patients to advise their doctor if they are pregnant or suspect to be pregnant as high doses of x-ray radiation can be dangerous to proper fetal growth and so another type of diagnostic test may be recommended.
The medical professionals involved in x-ray examinations.
There are two medical professionals involved in performing x-ray examinations.
- The Radiographer, and
- The Radiologist.
The radiographer is the medical professional that conducts the x-ray examination and is trained to create the best quality images as safely as possible in a single x-ray scanning session. The radiologist is a medical doctor that specializes in interpreting the generated x-ray images for diagnosis.
How does an x-ray work?
An x-ray machine emits a small amount of radiation through the human body with the transmitted radiation either printed onto a special film or captured by a dedicated computer to create a digital image of the human body for diagnosis. Since the skeletal structure is mostly made up of calcium, it blocks the passage of emitted radiation, with healthy bones showing up as either white or grey. Additionally, the emitted radiation of the x-ray machine passes easily through air spaces, so healthy lungs appear black.
When are x-ray examinations used?
- Regular x-ray examinations are very common, with many uses like:
- Diagnosing skeletal fractures and dislocations.
- As a supplementary tool for surgery that helps surgeons accurately operate.
- Diagnosing the condition of bone or the joints.
- Diagnosing chest conditions like pneumonia, cancer of the lungs, emphysema, or heart failure.
- To detect foreign objects inside the human body like metallic fragments or swallowed coins.
The possible issues and considerations before undergoing an x-ray examination.
A conventional x-ray diagnostic examination generally does not require any special preparation on the part of the patient except changing into a hospital gown. However, some specific x-ray examinations may involve the use of an iodine contrasting agent, which is a type of dye that improves the detail of the x-ray images taken or to make medical professionals see more clearly body structures such as the bowel, arteries, or blood vessels.
The X-ray diagnostic examination process.
- Depending on the specific part of the human body to be examined, the patient will be asked to undress and remove all metal objects on their person like jewelry and watches with their radiographer instructing them on the proper position to take for their specific x-ray examination procedure.
- The radiographer will then place the patient between the x-ray machine and the imaging device that catches the x-rays being emitted through the specific part of the patient’s body.
- Depending on the specific x-ray examination required the radiographer may cover specific parts of the patient’s body with a lead apron or shield to reduce the risk to other parts of their patient’s body from being exposed to unnecessary radiation.
- The patient is then asked to hold their breath for a couple of seconds as each x-ray image is taken to ensure that any breathing movement does not blur the images.
- With a conventional x-ray examination that is straightforward, like on the hand, an x-ray usually takes just a few minutes with other types of x-ray examination may take longer.
- After an x-ray is taken, the radiologist will interpret the x-ray images generated and send them to the patient’s doctor to allow them to make a comprehensive diagnosis of the patient.
Alternative diagnostic scanning methods to x-ray examinations.
Depending on a patient’s medical condition, other alternatives to an x-ray examination may include:
- Ultrasound scanning– where sound waves are used to create a detailed image of internal body structures.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scan– uses a combination of a generated magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed three-dimensional images of the human body.
- Computed Tomography scan or CT scan– a combination of x-rays and digital computer technology to create three-dimensional images of the human body.
The benefits of x-ray examinations.
The rapid advances in clinical radiology technology have significantly improved the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses and injuries. X-ray examinations provide a wide range of benefits for a patient, like:
- An x-ray examination can eliminate the need for any exploratory surgery for proper diagnosis.
- X-ray examinations can be used to determine if a patient needs any surgery.
- X-ray examinations assist doctors and other medical specialists in making a diagnosis and further health management of their patients.
- An x-ray can be used to visually guide doctors and medical specialists in the treatment of health conditions like heart diseases and strokes.
- X-ray examinations can be used for screening various diseases like breast cancers, with its early detection greatly reducing its mortality rate.
- X-ray examinations improve the diagnosis of different health problems and are also a widely recognized and very effective treatment for cancers and other diseases, generally known either as radiation oncology or radiation therapy.
X-ray examinations are a cheaper and simpler medical diagnostic technique that emits lower radiation levels compared to a CT scan. It helps to diagnose various diseases in the human body without the need for any surgery and is widely used by medical professionals to provide patients with in-depth diagnoses of various ailments.