Radiography (Routine X-Ray)
Routine x-rays are images of the body performed using x-rays to expose a piece of film. The x-rays pass through different tissues of the body and onto the film in different amounts. Very few x-rays pass through bone causing it to appear white on the film, while more pass through muscle causing it to appear gray. These differences are what create the image on the film. Many parts of the body such as the chest and bones are imaged this way.
Fluoroscopy is a technique for obtaining “real time” x-ray images of a patient. The radiologist uses a switch to control a continuous x-ray beam that is transmitted through the patient. The radiologist can then watch the images on a monitor. Fluoroscopy is often used to observe the digestive tract (Upper GI series – Barium Swallow, Lower GI series – Barium Enema or “BE”).
Myelograms are a specialized x-ray of the spine usually performed to evaluate a point of nerve compression on the spinal cord. The radiologist injects a contrast agent (dye) into the spinal canal and x-rays are taken to visualize the point of compression. The patient’s doctor may request a CT scan following this study.
This is a contrast-enhanced study of a joint, most commonly of the shoulder or knee. The Radiologist – with the use of Fluoroscopy – injects a contrast agent into the joint space. After the Arthrogram is complete, a CT or MRI follows.
During the Exam
You will be able to wear your own clothing but for some studies you may be asked to change into a gown. You may also be asked to remove metal objects (a watch, for example) from the path of the x-rays. You will be positioned either on the table or standing, depending on the type of exam. A piece of film is placed next to a part of your body that is to be filmed. One or more images are taken in different views. The films are developed and brought to the radiologist for review. Additional views may be needed at this time.
After the Exam
Your doctor may request that you take a copy of your films with you. If the doctor has requested this, then the radiologic technologist will notify you after your procedure and have you wait in the waiting room for the films. This should take about 15-20 minutes. The radiologist will dictate a report that will be sent to your doctor, who will discuss the results of your exam with you.