The digital X-Ray is an evolution of medical imaging technology that has been in use since the start of the 20th century. With digital X-rays, radiologists no longer have to use a bulky machine to take images or handle the chemicals needed to develop film.
If you are expecting to get some X-rays, your doctor will likely take digital X-rays. Here is a little information that tells you what to expect.
The basics of digital X-ray imaging
An X-ray is a non-surgical way to examine the inner body. It is used to view many kinds of soft tissue, organs and bones. Usually, X-ray images are radiolucent, which means that soft tissue looks dark while hard things like bone, teeth or a foreign object seem white.
How an X-ray is done
The traditional method of taking X-ray images involves an x-ray machine, the body part to be examined and X-ray film, arranged in that order.
The machine emits X-rays, which is a type of radiation that darkens the silver compound that coats the film. In order to take an X-ray, a radiologist will use the machine to aim a small dose of radiation at a specific part of the body.
X-rays pass right through the person’s soft tissue to land on the film. Any part of the film that is hit by the X-rays turns dark. Hard, dense substances like bone tissue will stop X-rays right in their tracks, which means that the portion of the film that is directly behind bone or teeth will remain white.
That is how an old-school X-ray image is taken.
What to expect with a digital X-ray
Traditional X-ray machines give out little radiation, and digital machines emit even less. Also, a radiographer does not use silver coated film to take a digital X-ray. Instead, they use a digital capture device and a modern X-ray machine.
Here is how the procedure goes:
- A radiographer will ask a female patient if they are pregnant. If the patient answers yes, the radiologist will make adjustments to the X-ray procedure
- Depending on the body part to be X-rayed, the patient could be asked to change into a hospital gown
- The radiologist will ask the patient to take up a position between the digital capture device (known as an X-ray plate) and the X-ray machine. Depending on the body part being examined, a patient may be asked to stand in front of the plate. They could also be asked to lie down or sit on the plate
- The radiographer will then take the image by directing a small number of X-rays to the targeted part of the body. They will ask the patient to stay completely still to avoid creating blurred images
The whole procedure takes less than 15 minutes to complete, and the images are immediately available for viewing.
Need a digital X-ray?
You do not need to make any major preparations before getting an X-ray. The procedure is simple and straightforward.
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