Category: Rad Tech Talk

Radiologic Technologist Blog

Reducing Radiation Exposure in Digital Imaging

reducing radiation exposure with equipment configuration
A fluoroscope with an overcouch configuration

Digital imaging techniques provide important information to healthcare professionals. But, exposure to ionizing radiation can be harmful to patients. In digital fluoroscopy, an increase in the number of images per exam reveals greater diagnostic information but is associated with an increased dose. Similarly, magnification improves spatial resolution and image quality but may lead to an increase in skin dose. High-dose mode is associated with an improvement in image quality but is associated with a high radiation dose to the patient. What are some of the methods of reducing radiation exposure? What can X-ray techs do to follow the ALARA principle and ensure the safety of their patients?

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Implementing Radiation Safety in Digital Radiography

implementing radiation safety
PACS helps improve efficiency in radiology departments

Digital radiography is a powerful tool in the medical management of patients. It has distinct advantages over film-screen technology in terms of image acquisition (wide dynamic range), image manipulation (post-processing functions), and image distribution (electronic transfer and archiving). Digital radiography equipment provides diagnostic information that is equal to or superior to film-screen systems at comparable radiation doses. It is therefore an important technological advancement that has aided RTs in implementing radiation safety. It should be noted that conventional radiographic images can be converted to a digital format with a digitizer for electronic storage and some post-processing. However, such converted images are not considered true digital radiographic images.

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Radiation Safety for Healthcare Workers

radiation safety of healthcare workers
A healthcare worker positions a patient for a mammogram

It is estimated that approximately 1 million people employed in health facilities around the world are exposed to radiation in the course of their work duties. This makes the radiation safety of healthcare workers an important consideration. The International Labor Organization regards any exposure to ionizing radiation received at the workplace as occupational exposure. A healthcare worker’s total radiation exposure also includes natural background exposure received during working hours. However, since the latter is a consequence of living on Planet Earth and occurs regardless of occupation, it is not the responsibility of the employer and is not subject to regulatory controls.

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An X-Ray Tech’s Quick Reference Guide to Bone Cancers

bone cancer types and radiographic appearance
Bone metastases from prostate cancer

There are several bone cancer types with varying incidence. They include both primary neoplasms as well as bone metastases. Primary neoplasms (new and abnormal growth of tissue) of the bone, such as osteosarcoma and multiple myeloma, are less common compared to secondary bone metastases (spread of a primary tumor to the bone from another site in the body).

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DXA Technologist : Advice for Patients with Osteopenia

Calcium and vitamin D Supplements
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones. Supplements may be necessary in people with inadequate dietary intake of these essential nutrients.

Radiologic technologists, especially those working as DXA operators, may often come across patients who do not qualify as osteoporotic, but still have low bone mass. Osteopenia is a term used to describe low bone mass which is lower than normal but not low enough to qualify as osteoporosis. People with osteopenia are at an increased risk of fractures. This can be likened to the classification used for “bad” cholesterol (LDL) where individuals are at high risk if the value is more than 160 mg/dL and moderate risk if the value is between 130 and 160 mg/dL. What is osteopenia treatment? And what advice should be given to patients who are osteopenic?

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