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May 22 2018


How X-Ray Technicians Mark X-Ray Films For Radiologists To Read

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An x-ray technician is someone who uses special equipment to take pictures of the inside of the human body. The images created through x-ray technology help doctors to investigate symptoms and diagnose a variety of conditions and illnesses. X-rays can reveal broken bones, enlarged organs, cysts, tumors, and many other medical conditions. When technicians take an x-ray, one of the crucial steps is marking the left and ride sides with x ray markers.

How X-Rays Work

An x-ray is an image produced by passing an electromagnetic wave of energy through a part of the body where it is absorbed by the bones and other internal parts. Since bones absorb the most radiation, they look white on an x-ray film. Soft tissues, like fat, absorb much less radiation from x-rays, so they show up as gray. Empty spaces, of course, are black. An x-ray doesn't provide as much detail as a photograph, but it is a very helpful diagnostic tool.

The Importance Of Markers

Technicians are required to use xray markers, in many cases with their initials, on all x-rays so that doctors can make accurate diagnoses and treatments. Without x-ray markers, or with incorrectly placed markers, patients can end up missing treatment they need or having treatment done to a healthy limb. Markers not only indicate left and right sides of the body, they can also clarify the positioning of the body part.

Standard Markers

Basic x ray markers use the letters "L" (usually in blue) and "R" (usually in red) made from lead or other radiopaque metal. Most x-ray technicians have their own markers personalized with their initials so that if there is any confusion about an image, the radiologist can find the technician who took it and clarify certain details about the patient, such as an unusual organ position. A lot of technicians further personalize their markers with glitter or different colors, just for fun.

Other Types Of Markers

There are other types of markers that perform different functions, like indicating the position of the patient's body. A doctor may need to know if a patient was lying down or standing up, for example, when the image was taken. Positioning markers contain ball bearings inside a bubble. The position of the ball bearings indicates the "down" position. Other types of markers give more information, such as the time an x-ray was taken, the time lapsed since an injury occurred, the name of the patient, the name of the doctor, and other relevant details.

X-ray technicians depend on markers to make their images meaningful to the radiologists and doctors who will read them. Personalizing markers with initials, colors, and unique shapes can help technicians quickly identify their markers and keep track of them.

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