An X-ray, or radiograph, is a noninvasive test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
A bone x-ray is used to:
Diagnose broken bones or joint dislocation
Demonstrate proper alignment and stabilization of bony fragments following treatment of a fracture
Guide orthopedic surgery, such as spine repair/fusion, joint replacement and fracture reductions
Look for injury, infection, arthritis, abnormal bone growths, or bony changes seen in metabolic conditions
Assist in the detection and diagnosis of bone cancer
Locate foreign objects in soft tissues around or in bones
The equipment typically used for bone x-rays consists of an x-ray tube suspended over a table on which the patient lies. A drawer under the table holds the x-ray film or image recording plate.The x-ray tube is connected to a flexible arm that is extended over the patient while an x-ray film holder or image recording plate is placed beneath the patient.
Sometimes the x-ray is taken with the patient standing upright, as in cases of knee x-rays.A portable x-ray machine is a compact apparatus that can be taken to the patient in a hospital bed or the emergency room.
X-rays are a form of radiation like light or radio waves. X-rays pass through most objects, including the body. Once it is carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined, an x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through the body, recording an image on photographic film or a special digital image recording plate.
Until recently, x-ray images were maintained as hard film copy (much like a photographic negative). Today, most images are digital files that are stored electronically. These stored images are easily accessible and are frequently compared to current x-ray images for diagnosis and disease management. At Titus Regional Medical Center, we feature the latest in digital imaging with a state-of-the-art PACS system.