X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. Mainly because an x-ray is a painless way to produce an image of the body and can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions – from broken bones to tumors.
When you undergo an x-ray, electromagnetic beams pass through the part of the body in question and produce a digital or traditional film image – which our specially trained radiologists analyze to determine a diagnosis. X-ray technology has advanced significantly over the years, and the amount of radiation our patients are exposed to has lowered greatly.
Even though the amount of radiation exposure is lower, it’s still important for pregnant women, or those who think they could be pregnant, to let their Ballad Health physician or x-ray specialist know.
How Do X-rays Work?
X-rays are a form of radiation like light or radio waves, passing through most objects, including the body. An x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through the body and then records an image on photographic film or a special digital image recording plate.
Until recently, x-ray images were maintained as hard film copy (much like a photographic negative). Today, most images are digital files that are stored electronically, which is called PACS (Picture Archive Communication System). These stored images are easily accessible and are sometimes compared to current x-ray images for diagnosis and disease management. PACS is available at all Ballad Health facilities.
What Is Fluoroscopy?
While an x-ray takes a single picture, a fluoroscope takes x-rays and sends the images to a monitor screen. A fluoroscope is like a continuous x-ray, providing live images so your doctor can observe and perform certain procedures. It makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.
Fluoroscopy is mostly used to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal tract (GI) disorders. These images are also stored electronically in the PACS digital files.