X-Ray Imaging

X-Ray Imaging

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    A Neuroradiology, answered on behalf of
    Why would a radiologist need multiple x-rays?
    There are a variety of reasons -- from technical problems to fidgety patients--   why X-rays may need to be repeated. Imaging Medical Director Conway Lien, MD, of Regional Medical Center of San Jose, explains.
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    A Neuroradiology, answered on behalf of
    How much radiation am I exposed to with an x-ray?
    The amount of radiation you are exposed to during an X-ray exam depends on a couple of factors. In this video, Imaging Medical Director, Conway Lien, MD, of Regional Medical Center of San Jose, explains. 
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    A chest x-ray is performed by a radiologic technologist, a medical professional who is also sometimes called a "radiographer." A chest x-ray is a painless, common medical scan that produces images of your heart, lungs and surrounding structures through use of a small amount of radiation that creates pictures on a computer screen or special film.

    Radiologic technologists must complete at least two years of formal education in an accredited hospital-based program or a two- or four-year educational program at an academic institution. In the US, they may need to be licensed or certified, depending on the state in which they work. To remain registered, they need to earn continuing education credits. Radiologic technologists are educated in anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care.
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    An extremity x-ray is a picture of the internal structures in one of your extremities -- your hand, wrist, arm, hip, leg, knee, ankle or foot. X-rays are a type of radiation. In an x-ray procedure, a machine sends x-ray radiation through the body or head to create pictures of internal structures projected onto a computer screen or onto film. In those pictures dense structures, such as bones, show up white because they absorb the x-ray particles, while less-dense structures, such as muscles, show up gray or black. Your doctor may order an extremity x-ray if he or she suspects you are experiencing any of the following problems:
    • a fracture in a bone of one of your extremities
    • fluid buildup in the joint around a bone
    • dislocation of a bone
    • infection
    • arthritis
    • abnormal bone growth or tumor
    If you have had joint surgery, your doctor may order an extremity x-ray to monitor your progress after the surgery.
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    Spine x-rays are pictures of the bones of the spine that are used to diagnose diseases or to view the extent of an injury to the spine. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation. In an x-ray procedure, a machine sends x-ray radiation through the body or head to create pictures of internal structures projected onto a computer screen or onto film. In those pictures, dense structures, such as bones, show up white because they absorb the x-ray particles, while less-dense structures, such as muscles, show up gray or black.

    Spine x-rays can be helpful in diagnosing:
    • osteoporosis (brittle bones)
    • abnormal curves of the spine
    • bone spurs
    • fractures
    • cancer
    • infections
    • dislocations
    • disc disease
    There are four different types of spine x-rays, depending on which area of the spine is being x-rayed:
    • A cervical spine x-ray is a scan of the seven cervical bones in the neck.
    • A thoracic spine x-ray is a scan of the 12 chest (thoracic) bones.
    • A lumbosacral spine x-ray takes pictures of the five bones of the lower back (lumbar region) and the sacrum at the base of the spine.
    • A sacrum/coccyx x-ray takes a detailed view of the sacrum at the base of the spine and the four bones that make up the tailbone (coccyx).
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    A skull x-ray is a series of pictures of the bones that surround the brain, including the facial bones, the nose and the sinuses. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation. In an x-ray procedure, a machine sends x-ray radiation through the body or head to create pictures on a computer screen or on film. In those pictures, dense structures such as bones, show up white because they absorb the x-ray particles, while less dense body parts may show up gray or black.

    Your doctor may order a skull x-ray if you have injured your head or if you have certain symptoms that might indicate a problem inside your head, such as bleeding or a tumor. In children, skull x-rays are commonly used to evaluate children who have an unusually shaped skull. A skull x-ray may also help diagnose misalignment (malocclusion) of teeth, occupational hearing loss, chronic ear pain or infection, hearing loss due to abnormal bone growth inside the ear, sinusitis or pituitary tumors.

    Many doctors prefer to use a CT (computed tomography) scan of the skull to diagnose the cause of symptoms in the skull. Sometimes the two imaging tests may be used together to help ensure a correct diagnosis.
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    A facial x-ray is a series of pictures of the bones in the face. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation. In an x-ray procedure, a machine sends x-ray radiation through the body or head to create pictures on a computer screen or on film. In those pictures, dense structures such as bones, show up white because they absorb the x-ray particles, while other structures, such as muscles, may show up gray or black. A facial x-ray may be done to:
    • identify the cause of facial pain
    • find problems of the sinuses or face such as tumors or polyps
    • note signs of infection, such as sinusitis
    • check for fractures in the bones of the face, nose
    • check the bones around the eyes
    Facial x-rays are usually painless procedures. If a problem is identified on a facial x-ray, your doctor may refer you for further testing, such as a CT scan.
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    The radiation emitted in medical procedures has a limited range and duration of effect, and the extent of exposure depends largely on the procedure and the individual being treated. Structurally, radiology rooms are designed with architectural shielding and equipment-mounted shields so radiation is isolated to the radiology suite. There are also rolling and stationary shields used in these spaces.
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    X-ray radiation is occurring all the time as a part of the natural background radiation in our environment. Radiologists use medical imaging technology like CT and fluoroscopy that emit X-ray radiation, which penetrates the body and creates images that guide interventional procedures. The effect of X-ray radiation depends greatly on the dose of radiation, the duration of exposure and the physiology of the person being imaged.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    An x-ray is the most common type of imaging scan. An x-ray can show the condition of the lungs and other organs and check the positions of any tubes or catheters inside your NICU baby’s body.