General Information About General Radiology
The X-ray is the primary and most common examination within the specialty of radiology. X-rays provide valuable information to radiologists about your health and play an important role in diagnosis. X-rays of the chest, abdomen, spine, sinuses and extremities are all very common X-ray tests performed. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation producing wavelengths that are shorter than visible light and therefore invisible. X-rays also behave differently than light in that they are able to penetrate into matter (including the body) and can ionize matter which strips away the normally occurring electrons from atoms and creates radiation.
The radiologic technologists role:
Every technologist at St. Paul Radiology has special training and certification to operate imaging equipment. These technologists are trained to use the least amount of radiation possible and still produce an image that is of diagnostic quality. At St. Paul Radiology both medical physicians and a medical physicist monitor and oversee the technologists.
Measuring the radiation dose:
The unit of measurement for radiation dose, commonly referred to as effective dose is the millisievert (mSv). Different parts of the body have varying absorption rates for X-rays. Therefore the effective dose is measured in terms of the radiation risk averaged over the entire body. The effective dose accounts for the relative sensitivities of the different tissues exposed and allows for quantification of risk and comparisons to radiation that occurs normally within our environment.
In simple terms the effective radiation dose from a single chest X-ray is comparable to the amount of radiation you are exposed to from natural surroundings in about 10 days. Click here to learn more.