MemorialCare Medical Centers:
Diagnostic Radiology (X-ray)
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
Chest X-ray of the heart, lungs and bones
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.
X-rays with Fluoroscopy (Fluoro)
Fluoroscopy is a form of diagnostic radiology enabling a radiologist, with the aid of a contrast agent, to visualize an organ or organ system. During fluoro, multiple X-rays are taken in a series, giving the doctor a moving picture of what your body is doing. With fluoro, you can watch someone swallow, or even watch a heart beat. Fluoro is used in many different areas of imaging services. In some cases, there is nothing wrong with the tissue, but the problem is with the movement of the tissue. With fluoro, we can watch the tissue in action and observe the way it moves—normally or abnormally.
How Fluoroscopy Works
Contrast agents enable imaging to be viewed clearly on a monitor or screen. Contrast agents (or "contrast media") may be introduced into the body through injection, swallowing, or enema.
Types of Fluoroscopic Exams
- Arthrogram / Arthrography (X-ray of the joints) – Evaluation of major joints: shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle.
- Barium Enema (BE) / Lower Gastrointestinal Exam (Lower GI) – Evaluation of the large intestine.
- Cystograms – Evaluation of urinary bladder.
- Esophagram / Barium Swallow – Evaluation of esophagus.
- Hystersalpingogram – Evaluation of the fallopian tubes.
- Sialogram – Evaluation of the salivary glands for blockages.
- Small Bowel Series – Evaluation of the small intestine.
- Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series – Evaluation of esophagus and stomach.
- Venogram – Evaluation of veins in lower extremities.
- Voiding Cystourethrogram (Pediatrics and Adults) (VCUG) – Evaluation of bladder and lower urinary tract.
Each test consists of a series of images taken by a radiologist, possibly followed by a series of X-rays taken by the radiological technologist. Before your appointment concludes the images will be evaluated technically, then a radiologist intreprets the images and prepares a report to send to your referring physician.
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.