Thank you for joining me again this evening for our nightly podcasts. I perform these podcasts in the hopes that you will be able to education yourself on the topics discussed so you can make better informed medical decisions regarding your health in the future. I am doctor Harrison Campbell of Restoration Health a premier sugar land chiropractors office. Previously we discussed MRIs and how they function. Tonight, we will return to a previous discussion we had on X-rays.
Last night we briefly mentioned X-rays when drawing a comparison to magnetic resonance imaging or MRIs as most people know it. We will start with how an X-ray machine functions in brief detail then move into the pros and cons of using X-ray imaging. In short, an X-ray machine uses radiation to pass through the body and expose on film behind the patient. Now is days past there was literally film, similar to camera film which was placed in what is called a Bucky which when exposed to radiation produced an image. This is how camera film worked but replace the radiation to light and the principle was the same. Now days, it is more likely the X-ray film is actually a digital case similar to how digital cameras are the normal mode of image capture today. The principle remains the same, the only thing which has changed is the film is now a digital cassette which can be reused after the image has been downloaded. For the sake of this discussion when the term filmed is used we are referring either to the actual film or the digital version of an x-ray.
Now sugar land chiropractors can tell you that the radiation used in X-ray imaging passes through the body, but the density of the tissue which is passes through determined what part of the film is exposed. What this means is that tissue which is less dense will allow more radiation to strike the film producing a darker image. Therefore, soft tissue such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, water, air, and fat will produce varying shades of black to grey on an X-ray. Bones or other dense tissue such as calcifications on the other hand will block most of the radiation which produces the whiter spots on the X-ray. This is why most pictures of X-rays people know are white and black images with the bones being white and the rest of the X-ray being pitch black. While not exactly true if the X-ray is done correctly, you get the general picture.
Since the X-rays pass through the soft tissue with ease, there is little to no definition in the structures. What sugar land chiropractors do is to make sure the soft tissue correctly corresponds to anatomy. For example, a chest X-ray shows mostly black lung space, but you can see the trachea and the main branch bronchi. Are these aligned properly? Do they shift off to a side? Is there a patch of dense tissue in the lung field which is usually black? We as sugar land chiropractors know what is normal for the anatomy of the area being X-rayed. This allows us to interpret the X-rays or read the images and see what is actually going on.
The X-rays also provide good imaging of the boney structures in the body. This allows more information to be obtained about a body area. Is there a fracture to a bone? On a flexion or extension X-ray is there excessive motion of the vertebrae which would indicate either a ligament issue or a fracture? Additionally, since the X-ray is not affected by inflammation, X-rays can be performed without having to reduce inflammation and produce a good image.
A final point in favor of X-rays is the cost. X-rays are very inexpensive when compared to the cost of an MRI. This means whether an insurance is covering the cost of the imaging or you are paying out of pocket, it is more economically feasible for you to have the imaging needed to help you get better.
Now let us switch gears to the downsides of X-ray imaging. We stated before that this form of imaging using radiation, which is true. While the amount of exposure is very limited, and it would take thousands of X-rays for problems to occur due to the levels of exposure, you must be careful. This is also why sugar land chiropractors only take X-rays when they are required or what is called medically necessary.
The biggest downside of X-rays is what they show which comes down to how they operate. What I mean by this is the inability to discern differences in soft tissue reduces the usefulness of X-ray imaging for sugar land chiropractors when using it diagnostically. There are instances where you can perform a computerized tomography or CT scan which uses several X-rays in different angles to help visualize some soft tissue in some areas like the intervertebral discs, but generally soft tissue in missed on X-rays.
There are cases where X-ray imaging also misses the fractures in the bones. This can occur due to the location of the fracture being on a side of the bone not targeted by the X-ray. This makes it to where the break in the cortical margins or the edge of the bone do not show or come through on the X-ray. Now sugar land chiropractors can still determine if there is a fracture based on other symptoms or they can re X-ray again later to get a better visual but missing the fracture on the first imaging can be a weakness of X-rays.
Thank you for joining me again this evening for another great podcast. I hope you enjoyed the discussion on X-ray imaging. As always should you or someone you know require a sugar land chiropractors services or simply have more questions on what was discussed please call Restoration Health today. We would love to schedule you an appointment and get you on the path to better health today. Thank you once again for joining us. Have a good night.