X-rays are radiation, like light or radio waves, that pass through most objects, including the body.
Once it is carefully aimed at the part of the body to be examined, the x-ray machine generates a small amount of radiation that passes through the body, producing an image on photographic film or a special detector.
Different body parts absorb the X-rays; bones absorb much of the radiation while soft tissues, such as muscles, fat, and organs, allow it to pass through them. As a result, bones appear white, while soft tissues appear in shades of gray, and air appears black.
For example, in a chest X-ray, the ribs and spine will absorb much radiation and appear white or light gray on the image. On the other hand, lung tissue absorbs little radiation and will appear black on the image.
An X-ray does not require special preparation, except for certain special studies (colon enema, esophagogastroduodenal series, esophagogram, excretory urography, among others).
It may be requested to remove all or part of the clothing, jewelry, removable dentures, glasses, and any metal object or clothing that may interfere with the x-ray images; it may also be requested to wear a gown during the exam.
Women need to inform their physician and the x-ray technologist if there is a possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging exams are not performed during pregnancy because the radiation may be dangerous to the fetus. If necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
During the study, the patient should remain still while the image is being taken to reduce the possibility of blurring.
Upon completing the exam, it will be necessary to wait until the physician determines that all the required images have been obtained.
A medical degree is required to pursue a career in radiology. The path to follow is as follows:
First, pass the degree in Medicine, divided into six academic years.
Then, undergo the specific training system or MIR in radiology. This continuous training stage lasts four years.
Enter the employment exchange of the specialty or continue in the same hospital where the radiologist has completed the MIR.
As is always the case in Medicine, there are multiple subspecialties to consider within the specialty. These are some of the most frequent:
- Nuclear radiology.
- Pediatric radiology.
- Interventional radiology.
- Breast radiology.
- Veterinary radiology.
In addition to the traditional routes, radiology professionals can continue their training through masters or specialization courses. Although some people feel fatigued after ten years of career, radiology continuing education is essential since the technical means evolve very quickly.
This is also where the figure of the Senior Technician in Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine comes into play. This professional, formerly known as a radiological technician, is in charge of imaging the human body. The technician always works under the physician’s supervision and is responsible for informing the patient about fundamental issues, such as the position in which the X-ray should be taken. So, if you want to work side by side with a radiologist, radiology continuing education is an excellent way to go.