Have you noticed all the different names used to describe Radiology lately? It is referred to as X-Ray, Medical Imaging, and yes, Radiology. The words X-Ray and Radiology actually refer to examinations that use radiation (x-rays) to produce the image. Examples of these exams are Chest x-rays, Portable x-rays, Mammograms, and CT exams. The term Medical Imaging refers to all examinations performed in the department whether they use radiation or not. Examples of exams that do not use radiation are Ultrasound and MRI. Each one of these modalities can create images that your doctor needs to help him/her diagnose and treat common diseases. The modality that your doctor chooses depends on what exactly he/she is looking for. This series of short articles will help you better understand all areas of Medical Imaging as it is very likely you or a loved one will encounter it during your lifetime.
Let’s start with basic Diagnostic X-Rays. Examples are:
Chest for chest pain, shortness of breath, pneumonia, congestive heart failure (CHF)
Abdomen for abdomen pain, kidney stones, bowel obstruction
Hand, feet, wrist, elbow, knee, etc for generalized pain or after an injury to rule out fracture
Head, orbits, sinuses usually after an injury to rule out fracture or sinusitis
These exams consist of 1 to 4 separate images taken in different positions. You may be asked to change into a gown for some of these exams or remove items of clothing that have metal in them, such as bras or pants with zippers. Each exam will expose you to about as much radiation as an average person’s daily exposure to the sun. Radiation exposure from basic x-rays is minimal and is not likely to cause any significant damage to your body, but it is wise to be aware of how many x-rays you are having done in a short period of time. If you have questions or concerns about how many exams you are having or how much radiation you are exposed to ask your doctor or your radiology technologist.
The Radiologic Technologists at Odessa Regional Medical Center are registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist and licensed with the state of Texas.
Future articles in this series will discuss Fluoroscopy, CT Scans, MRI scans, and Interventional Radiology.
For more information on imaging services, how to prepare for them or to schedule one, please visit www.odessaregionalmedicalcenter.org