An x-ray, also known as a radiograph, is a painless, non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. This imaging study involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
Radiograph imaging is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. It is often the first diagnostic test ordered by a medical provider as part of their diagnostic process.
When would I get an X-Ray?
Capitol Imaging Services performs dozens of different types of x-rays, from the ankle to the wrist. More common and specialty studies include:
Your medical provider may recommend a study to evaluate:
- diagnose fractured bones or joint dislocation
- demonstrate proper alignment and stabilization of bony fragments following treatment of a fracture
- guide orthopedic surgery, such as spine repair/fusion, joint replacement and fracture reductions
- look for injury, infection, arthritis, abnormal bone growths and bony changes seen in metabolic conditions
- assist in the detection and diagnosis of bone cancer
- locate foreign objects in soft tissues around or in bones.
Your medical provider may recommend this type of x-ray to evaluate symptoms and conditions such as:
- shortness of breath
- a bad or persistent cough
- chest pain or injury
- heart failure and other heart problems
- lung cancer
- line and tube placement
- fluid or air collection around the lungs
- COVID symptoms.
Identification of Scoliosis
Early signs of scoliosis include:
- clothing fits awkwardly or hang unevenly
- hump or uneven appearance around area of rib cage
- shoulders that appear to be different heights
- one hip sticks out more than the other.
Moderate or severe scoliosis is more obvious and easier to diagnose. These symptoms include:
- changes in walking
- decreased range of motion
- difficulty breathing
- back pain and/or back spasms.
Children exhibiting any of these types of symptoms should be evaluated by their pediatrician or medical provider. Oftentimes, the most likely event, as part of the diagnostic process, will be to order x-rays to evaluate the spine.
In simple terms, an x-ray with stitching refers to a technique used after the images have been taken, in which multiple images of a body part, in this case, the spine, are used to create one single, high resolution image. The process of putting them together is referred to as stitching.
By having consecutive images merged together to create an overview of the entire spine, a more comprehensive evaluation of the spine is possible, with our radiologist being able to provide that information to the medical provider.
What Will I Experience?
Because of the difference in the types of studies performed, experiences will vary. Typically, you will be positioned on a table. A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic area or breasts, when feasible, to protect from radiation.
The technologist will walk behind a wall or into another room to activate the scanner and capture the needed images. You may be repositioned for one or more additional views, and the process is repeated. In many studies, two to four (or more) images from different angles may be taken.
During your repositioning, you may experience some discomfort in and around the affected or injured areas. This positioning is important to perform in order for the radiologist to have all the needed views and images for their review, and to issue their results and report.
Typically, the most common radiographic studies will usually take five to 10 minutes to complete.