5 Tips for Great X-Rays

5 Tips for Great X-rays

by Dr. Wallace Liberman of Panorama Equine in Redding, California.

  1. You must be a good radiographer.  Do not assume that digital radiography will automatically help you shoot better radiographs. Learn the art and practice! Post processing of the image will not always improve the image to what it should be.
  2. Thoroughly learn the system’s robust software to maximize the quality of the image. The ability to manipulate the image can help discern soft tissue problems or radio density issues. Filters can make an enormous difference in the quality of your images.  Also, every area of anatomy is different. Imaging algorithms are the mathematics behind each area of anatomy imaged and are built into the software, so always select the correct area of anatomy you are shooting.
  3. Calibrate your x-ray and DR panel to the software regularly. Most DR manufacturers have a recommended interval for this calibration.  This is very important to get consistently great images.  Also, understand the difference between kVp and mAs and how to manipulate these settings for better images.
  4. The inverse square law in focal film distance is real and is important with regard to image quality. Radiation spreads out as it travels away from the gamma or X-ray source.  Therefore, the intensity of the radiation follows Newton’s Inverse Square Law.  This law accounts for the fact that the intensity of radiation becomes weaker as it spreads out from the source since the same amount of radiation becomes spread over a larger area.  The intensity is inversely proportional to the distance from the source.
  5. It is important to take a full radiographic study in order to be thorough. Oftentimes a lesion is present, but you have not seen it because you have not taken the correct views.   A standard series of radiographs for an area of anatomy may miss the lesion. A “Radiographic Study” allows for you to evaluate the standard series and then go back to take special views at a different obliquity, different kVp/mAs or angle incidence changes, to see or even identify the lesion better. Do not be afraid to repeat views to make sure what you are seeing is real. The opposing side of the body is your best control for comparison.Remember – Not all lesions seen are the cause of the problem. That is the art of practice and a good clinical examination.
Vetel’s team of consultants, a group of practicing veterinarians, share advice and insight on how to get consistently great images from your diagnostic imaging systems.