Digital Radiography Preparation

What are X-rays and Digital x-rays?

X-rays (also called radiographs) are produced by passing a small amount of controlled radiation through the body. Radiation from x-rays are absorbed differently by the tissues of the body. When the x-rays pass through the body, these differences are captured on a special film plate that is placed behind the patient. For example, bone absorbs more radiation than soft tissue, making it appear bright white on film. Radiologists use x-ray films to detect and help diagnose certain conditions such as broken bones, pneumonia, and emphysema.

About Digital X-rays:

This technology is currently very new. These plates trap the x-ray energy and require an intermediate processing step to release the stored information so it can be converted into a digital picture. Just as many recordings and music albums now sound sharper and better than ever on a digital compact disk (CD) player than on and older (analog) record player, digital x-rays look sharper and cleaner than the analog version.

Benefits of digital technology to all x-ray systems include:

  • Lower dosage x-rays can often be used to achieve the same high quality picture as with film
  • Digital x-ray images can be enhanced and manipulated with computers and sent via a network to other workstations and computer monitors so that many people can share the information and assist in the diagnosis.
  • Digital images can be archived onto compact optical disks or digital tape drives saving tremendously on storage space and manpower needed for a traditional x-ray film library
  • Digital images may be retrieved from an electronic archive for future reference

Do I Need to Prepare for My X-ray?

No preparation is required unless you are having a special x-ray examination such as an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) , Upper GI, Esophagram or Barium Enema.

What can I Expect During My X-ray Examination?

Before your x-ray, you may be asked to change into an examination gown and to remove any metal from your body (eg, eyeglasses, jewelry, watch). Next, you will be taken into the x-ray suite and positioned on an examination table. Once you are in position, the technologist will leave the room and may ask you to hold your breath if x-rays are taken of the chest. Holding your breath is very important because motion of the lungs during regular breathing can blur the images. Next, the technologist will come back into the room to put new film in the machine and you will most likely be asked to change position to allow imaging from different viewpoints.

After the x-rays have been taken, they will be developed and briefly reviewed by the radiologist to make sure that more images are not needed. You will then be asked to change back into your clothes.

After the radiologist has studied your x-ray films in more detail, a report will be sent to your referring physician, who will discuss these results with you and determine a course of action.

What is Fluoroscopy?

Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures – similar to an x-ray “movie.” A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.

Fluoroscopy, as an imaging tool, enables physicians to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Fluoroscopy may be performed to evaluate specific areas of the body, including the bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs such as the heart, lung, or kidneys.

Fluoroscopy is used in many types of examinations and procedures, such as barium x-rays, cardiac catheterization, arthrography (visualization of a joint or joints), lumbar puncture, placement of intravenous (IV) catheters (hollow tubes inserted into veins or arteries), intravenous pyelogram, hysterosalpingogram, and biopsies.

Fluoroscopy may be used alone as a diagnostic procedure, or may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic or therapeutic media or procedures.

In barium x-rays, fluoroscopy used alone allows the physician to see the movement of the intestines as the barium moves through them. In cardiac catheterization, fluoroscopy is added to enable the physician to see the flow of blood through the coronary arteries in order to evaluate the presence of arterial blockages. For intravenous catheter insertion, fluoroscopy assists the physician in guiding the catheter into a specific location inside the body.

Other uses of fluoroscopy include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Locating foreign bodies
  • Viscosupplementation injections of the knees – a procedure in which a liquid substance that acts as a cartilage replacement or supplement is injected into the knee joint
  • Image-guided anesthetic injections into joints or the spine
  • Percutaneous vertebroplasty – a minimally invasive procedure used to treat compression fractures of the vertebrae of the spine

Our staff at time of appointment will inform you if special exam preparation is needed.

To schedule an appointment at Lakes Radiology, please call (305) 231-1115 or email us: