Factors like image contrast and brightness govern how medically useful an x-ray image is. To minimize the exposure of the patient to x-rays, it is important to understand how some of the user controlled factors can be manipulated to generate a medically relevant image in the first attempt.
These were some of the factors that play a role in impacting the image quality of an x-ray image. Of course, there are other system details that also impact the final image quality, but these factors can be manipulated by the user to achieve best possible performance with the system at hand.
Now we will discuss the applications of x-ray imaging in the medical domain.
Radiography is a common diagnostic application for x-ray imaging. A single snapshot of body parts, such as the chest or the joints, is captured using an x-ray film or a digital detector. The difference in x-ray absorption properties of hard tissues and soft tissues makes radiography a very useful technique for capturing high contrast images of bones and other hard tissues. These images are used for detecting fractures and abnormal growths.
Fluoroscopy is the x-ray imaging technique that is deployed when real-time imaging of the internal body parts is required. The most common uses include orthopaedic surgery and placement of catheters in the body. Fluoroscopy continuously generates x-ray images, as per the desired frame rate, to help guide the surgeon. It provides an exact representation of the placement of the surgical tools with respect to the tissues in question.
Angiography involves the examination of the veins and arteries to detect any blockages or build-ups. A contrast material is injected into the veins so that the blood vessels can be viewed clearly on the x-ray image. Continuous frames are generated to get x-ray snapshots of the entire blood vessel to diagnose any unusual observations.
Mammography is a screening technique for early breast cancer detection, where the breast tissues are exposed to a very low dose of x-rays. Any abnormal growth or lumps can be detected by this imaging technique, thereby making it a very crucial part of women’s healthcare.
A CT scan is effectively a 3D representation of organs created using projections of multiple x-ray images taken from different angles. These x-ray projections are generated with the help of a rotating x-ray generator and detector pair. CT Scans provide a very clear, visual depiction of internal body parts and are extremely useful for detecting internal injuries. This technology provides quick results in critical scenarios such as head injuries, strokes and heart disease.
X-ray images help with accurate diagnosis as well as surgical procedures for life-threatening diseases. This is why x-ray exposures in limited doses are allowed by medical bodies around the world, for the prompt detection and effective cure of various conditions.