What are the different types of x-rays?
X-Rays are used to examine many things but for the purposes of this section we will describe a little of how x-ray technology is used to examine various parts of a human body.
There are many different types of x-rays requested and these are just a few of the more common:
Bones and Teeth X-Rays
Fractures and infections in bones and teeth can show up on x-rays and become identified for treatment.
Arthritis, or evidence of it, can be seen in X-rays of a patient's joints. Comparison X-rays over a period of time can help determine it's progression.
Dental decay is commonly found by dentists using X-rays to check for cavities in a patient's mouth.
Osteoporosis can be identified through certain types of x-ray tests that measure the density of a person's bones.
Bone cancer is often revealed through tumors that can be revealed through X-rays.
Lung infections or conditions like pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung cancer or evidence of any of these can show up on chest X-rays.
Breast cancer is often found and monitored through a special type of X-ray test called mammography, which examines and shows variations in breast tissue.
Enlarged hearts, one of the signs of congestive heart failure, can show up very clear many times on a chest X-ray.
Blocked blood vessels can be seen on X-rays when a contrast material containing iodine is injected into a patient's circulatory system.
Digestive tract problems can be revealed anywhere in the digestive system with the aid of Barium, a contrast medium a patient needs to either drink or recieve through an enema.
Swallowed items can be identified and located through X-rays. Notice the spoon in the abdomen of the x-ray on the right. Click here to see a collection of articles that people have swallowed and then showed up on an X-Ray.
These are just some of the many uses of X-Rays for medical purposes. And while X-ray images are some of the most clearest and detailed pictures of bones, they don't do as good of a job showing muscles, tendons or joints compared to some other tests.
MRI scans are very good at identifying legament tears and joint effusions in knee of shoulder injuries. They are also preferred often in the imaging of the spine since both the bones and the spinal cord itself can be evaluated. An MRI can also frequently detect a bone bruise when no crack is visible or hard to see on an X-ray.
CT or CAT scans are commonly used to assess trauma patients in emergency situations since they are non-evasive and can show images not easily seen on an X-ray. These situations might include complicated fractures, subtle fractures or dislocations. It's also used with elderly patients or people with osteoporosis.
3-D reconstructed MRI or CT images can be made without additional radiation to further or better assess a patient's complete situation.
Mammography is also a specialized version of taking X-rays of the breast tissue. Information about this can be read further in depth here.