Digital x-ray images allow physicians to study the inner structures of the body. X-ray imaging is mostly commonly known for producing images of the skeletal structure, but the modality can also be used for visualizing the body’s soft tissues, such as the lungs and intestines.
Below is a list of the various types of x-rays that referring providers may request and some representative images:
Chest x-rays are an important diagnostic tool for assessing a variety of symptoms, including fever, shortness of breath, pain, injury, and persistent coughing. These exams can help a radiologist diagnose whether a patient is suffering from pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, or lung cancer.
Normal chest x-ray
X-ray images are ideal for assessing bony structures, particularly if a patient is suffering from a dislocation or fracture. A shoulder x-ray provides a clear and detailed image of the shoulder’s bones, including the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone).
Left shoulder X-ray with a surgical anchor in place following repairs of a rotator cuff tear and of a glenoid labral tear
Spine x-rays show comprehensive images of all the spine’s bones, including cervical (head and neck), thoracic (ribs), lumbar (lower back), sacrum, and coccygeal (tailbone) vertebrae. The spine x-rays can help visualize fractures, tumors, arthritis, infection, and osteoporosis.
Normal x-ray of the cervical spine on lateral view
A pelvis x-ray displays the pelvis, hips, and upper legs (femurs). This exam can be used to diagnose fractures, arthritis, and tumors, among other conditions.
Normal x-ray of the pelvis
Catheter angiography involves placement of a catheter (a thin tube) throught the skin and into an artery to enable contrast agent injection into various arteries in the body, including those supplying the brain, abdomen, heart, and liver, for diagnosis under flouroscopic guidance. These x-ray images of the contrast flow patterns allow for the assessment and treatment of a range of diseases, including aneurysms, atherosclerosis, and pulmonary embolisms, in a minimally-invasive way.
Catheter angiography of the left internal carotid artery in the lateral projection demonstrating a carotid stent's patency
Cerebral angiography is a variant of catheter angiography focused on the brain’s arterial vascularity. Once contrast has circulated through the brain’s arteries, the radiologist can diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases, including aneurysms, stenoses, strokes and arteriovenous malformations.
Conventional cerebral angiography via a right internal carotid artery injection in the anteroposterior projection
The Intravenous Pyelogram procedure (IVP for short) uses x-ray imaging after IV contrast injection to study the anatomy and physiology of the urinary tract. Diagnostic radiologists can diagnose a variety of medical conditions, including enlarged prostates, kidney stones, and tumors.
Normal intravenous pyelogram study (study of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder)
The cystourethrogram procedure uses images to view the bladder and urethra while the patient is urinating after the bladder has been filled with contrast via a catheter This procedure is primarily used to diagnose ureteral reflux and bladder obstructions.
Abnormal cystourethrogram demonstrating reflux (backwards flow) of contrast from the bladder into the right ureter and into the right renal collecting system
These are procedures in which the patient swallows contrast material while being observed by fluoroscopy. This procedure allows radiologists to view the esophagus and stomach and assess a number of GI-related diseases, including achalasia (difficulty swallowing), aspiration (leakage of contrast into the lungs), tracheoesophageal fistula (irregular connections between the trachea and esophagus), gastroesophageal reflux, and esophageal or stomach cancer.
Esophagram that highlights the contour and function of the esophagus