Becoming a radiographer usually means graduating from an associate’s
degree program and passing a certification exam. Most radiographers
(also called x-ray technicians) need to complete continuing
education courses to renew certification every two years.
Many choose to continue their training on other equipment
so they can perform increasingly complex procedures. Here
are five different diagnostic tests that x-ray technicians
can learn how to do to advance in their careers.
Fluoroscopy is an imaging procedure that uses a constant x-ray
beam to make a real-time picture of a patient’s insides.
Generally, the patient will be given an IV or catheter with
a contrasting solution, and then the radiographer will use
the fluoroscope to project the image onto a monitor. This
diagnostic test can be used to study movement and processes
in internal organs, muscles, and even joints.
2. Computed Tomography (CT)
Some x-ray technicians specialize in computed tomography,
which is also referred to as CT or CT scanning. This is a
complex, three-dimensional picture of a person’s entire
body which gets made by taking lots of cross-section x-rays.
Instead of using a traditional x-ray machine that stays in
one place until the x-ray technician moves it, CT scans are
made with an x-ray machine that moves around the body and
responds to computer commands. CT scans are helpful in finding
things like tumors and blood clots inside the body that a
two-dimensional x-ray can’t see.
3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This is an additional specialization an x-ray technician can
have. An MRI scan is another way to get a three-dimensional
look inside a patient’s body, but an MRI machine uses
radio waves and a magnetic field to create an image. Besides
looking at bones, an MRI is a great way for a doctor to examine
organs and tissues for tumors and disease without cutting
a patient open. It’s also the best way to get a complete
picture a patient’s brain and spinal cord.
A mammogram is an x-ray of a patient’s breasts that
gets printed as a black and white picture. Doctors use these
images to check for irregularities that might indicate cancer.
Regular mammograms are recommended for women who might be
at risk for breast cancer, including those over the age of
Angiography is sometimes also called ateriography, and it
refers to the process of x-raying a patient’s arteries.
Like with fluoroscopy, the x-ray technician will insert a
contrast fluid into the part of the patient’s body to
be examined with a catheter so the arteries will show up in
the x-ray. Coronary angiograms can also be done to look at
the heart itself, and it is even possible to use angiography
to look at blood vessels in the brain.
If these sound like interesting procedures, find out more
about how you can become a certified x-ray technician. Check
out the X-Ray
Technician Schools directory today!