X-ray examination of the thoracic and bone is a medical diagnosis that is based on the use of x-rays and allows to obtain images of the skeleton and certain organs.
X-rays are a type of high-energy radiation.
An x-ray machine is capable of producing short x-ray flashes.
Dense structures (such as bone), metal and contrast media block most x-rays and appear white.
The contrast medium is a special paint used to emphasize certain areas of the body in relation to other areas of the same density.
These substances are rarely used during a diagnostic examination (radiography, MRI, etc.) and are mainly used to analyze the internal organs, for example, the radiography of the digestive system.
The structures containing ê m air appear black, while the muscle, the fat and the liquids are shown with gray tones.
- 1 How to make an X-ray?
- 2 What does radiography show?
- 3 Radiography Risks
- 4 Risks / benefits
- 5 What abnormalities shows an X-ray?
- 6 Chest radiography
- 7 Risks of thoracic angiography
- 8 Why is the chest X-ray performed?
- 9 Radiography for scoliosis
- 10 Radiography of the abdomen
- 11 Or what to analyze?
- 12 Is radiography or MRI better?
How to make an X-ray?
A similar film with a film is placed behind the body part to be examined , the machine sends the x-rays through the body passing through the film.
Afterwards the film is developed, the radiologist observes and writes a report.
It is necessary to stand still during the examination or the image may be stained.
What does radiography show?
The exam shows:
- Bone, tooth (overview), bone fracture and other bone abnormalities
- The spaces between the bones in the joints and some degenerative changes such as arthrosis
- The size and shape of the heart, so it is possible to detect certain diseases of the heart
- Changes in the density of some softer tissues. For example, lung cancer is denser than air-filled lungs and is seen as a ‘shadow’ on a chest x-ray. A breast cancer is denser than normal breast tissue and appears lighter.
- Accumulation of liquid, for example, in the lung we see a gray stain against the black chest full of normal air.
There are few risks in only one exam. However, if this test is repeated many times there is a risk that x-rays may damage some cells in the body and may cause cancer in the future.
The dose of radiation is always set to the minimum necessary to get a good picture of the part of the body being examined.
The pregnant women , if possible, should not do X-rays because there is a small risk of causing a child malformation.
Risks / benefits
Radiography in medicine has improved the ability to detect a disease or injury in a short time so that the patient is able to treat or cure.
If it is applied and executed properly, this examination can save a person’s life.
X-rays can damage living tissue.
The most significant risks are:
1) A small increase in the chance of developing cancer in the future depends on at least three factors: the radiation dose, the age at which the test is performed, and the gender (male or female) of the exposed person, women have a risk bigger.
2) Cataract and skin burn in case of exposure to radiation and only in some types of medical procedures or exams.
Information for Patients
Radiology technicians must be informed in advance if the patient is pregnant.
What abnormalities shows an X-ray?
- Bone spores
- Spinal deformities (eg, scoliosis )
- Hip dislocation
- Fractures and bone callus formation
- Weakness of bones ( osteoporosis )
- Reduction of the space between the vertebrae
- Artrose cervical
- Differences in lower limb length and pelvic unevenness
The examination can also be done to:
- Strong cough
- Identification of a foreign body
A chest x-ray is a safe, painless examination that uses a small amount of radiation to show an image of a person’s chest.
This image includes organs and structures such as the heart, lungs, large blood vessels, diaphragm, a part of the respiratory system, lymph nodes , backbone and cervical, ribs, clavicle and sternum.
The denser parts of the body, such as the heart and bones, block the passage of the x-ray beam through the body and appear white on the radiographic plate.
The bundles of x-rays traverse the hollow organs like the lungs, which appear in black.
Risks of thoracic angiography
Chest X-rays are usually very safe. Although each x-ray exposure involves some risk to the body, the amount that is used to analyze the chest cavity is small and not considered dangerous.
Children of developmental age are more sensitive to radiation and at greater risk.
A chest x-ray equates to a radiation dose similar to the amount you are exposed to daily in about 2-3 days.
Lumbar radiography causes the absorption of a quantity of radiation equivalent to 7 months of exposure to natural sources.
Why is the chest X-ray performed?
First of all, we can evaluate the pulmonary parenchyma (which is the structure of the lungs), if there is any liquid spillage, outbreaks, nodules, etc.
We can see signs of infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis .
There are many indications of radiography:
- Chest pain
- A trauma
- Persistent cough or wheezing
- Suspected of a cardiovascular problem
- Presence of diseases in other organs that also affect the breast
- Control of some positioning devices: drains, central venous catheters, pacemakers, etc.
- In the perspective of surgery
- Control of critically ill patients.
Radiography for scoliosis
Children with scoliosis have a spine that curves to one side, in the form of S or C.
Generally a small bend does not cause problems, but a large deviation can be visible to the naked eye and cause discomfort.
A curve of the spine can tilt the body to the left or right.
One shoulder is larger than the other and the basin can be tilted to one side.
If scoliosis is severe it can affect the respiratory and heart function, it can also cause damage to the spinal joints and pain in adult life.
During school visits, doctors monitor children regularly to see if they have this deformity.
If scoliosis is suspected, the doctor may prescribe X-rays to measure the curvature of the spine.
The angle of the curve is measured in degrees on the radiograph, this value is used for the physician to decide if there is a need for a cure and how to intervene.
Radiography helps determine the type of scoliosis and the skeletal maturity of the child, so the doctor can predict whether the deformity will progress.
Radiography of the abdomen
An abdominal x-ray is an examination that shows an image of the structures and organs of the belly (abdomen): stomach, liver, spleen, intestine and diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen.
Often two x-rays are taken in different positions.
Or what to analyze?
An abdominal x-ray is done to see:
- The cause of belly pain or belly swollen with nausea and vomiting
- The cause of pain on both sides of the spine (right or left side pain). The size, shape, and position of the liver, spleen, and kidneys
- The presence of stones in the gallbladder, kidneys, ureters or bladder
- The presence of air in the intestine
- The presence of an object that has been swallowed or placed in a body cavity
- The shape, length and any expansion or narrowing of the esophagus
- The correct position of the tubes used by the doctor during some treatments, such as a nasogastric tube in the stomach, gastric tube in the stomach, a ureteral catheter, a catheter used for dialysis , a shunt to drain the fluid from the brain to the stomach, etc.
Is radiography or MRI better?
An X-ray is a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive examination.
It may be enough to diagnose or evaluate health problems.
However, a normal x-ray has limited use.
There are other diagnostic tests that show much more detailed body tissues, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc.
The internal organs and soft tissues are evaluated with an MRI, this examination is also prescribed to know if there is an injury of the tendons , cruciate ligaments or meniscus of the knee.
To evaluate the bones, radiography is the first choice exam, although a micro-fracture requires computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The advantage of radiography is that it shows the conditions of the joints with load, for example it is often performed to the knees with the patient standing to evaluate the arthrosis of the knee .
Resonance and computed tomography are done with the patient lying down, it is not possible to see the effect of gravity on the body and therefore the images will not reflect reality.
Not everyone can do MRI because it uses a strong magnetic field that can interfere with implants and prostheses inside the body.
The cost and waiting time for an X-ray is much lower compared to an MRI.