For years x-rays have been relied upon as a basic tool for the diagnosis of illness or injury. An x-ray machine sends a radiation beam through the body and demonstrates solid internal structures, like bone, organs and dense muscle tissue as an image for technologists and doctors to see.
Radiology Technologists operate x-ray machines, and specialized doctors, called Radiologists, evaluate the x-ray images. With upgraded technology, x-rays are still used in the majority of cases as the most economical way to diagnose such conditions as chest pathology or broken bones.
Precautions are taken for pregnant women, since radiation may harm the developing fetus. Patients are asked to remove any metal objects or jewelry before the examination. Depending upon the area being examined, this may also involve wearing a cloth covering or gown. The Technologist will ask patients to either sit, or lie flat on an x-ray table and to remain still. Several x-rays may be taken from different angles. X-ray images are processed and ready for evaluation shortly after the procedure.
Some examples of radiology tests include:
- all bone examinations
- chest and abdomen images
- examinations of the stomach and bowel (barium is used to visualize the organs)
- examination of the kidneys by injecting a contrast (dye) into a blood vessel