Who are you calling a technician?

I’ve been surfing the internet today reading other blogger’s posts and catching up on what the latest and greatest news is in the field of radiography.  I was excited to see that some fellow bloggers in the field of radiology were given some recognition on a top 50 list.  I clicked over to the “Top 50 Radiology and Sonography Technician Blogs”.  Now it may seem like a little thing, but there is a huge difference between a Technician and a Technologist.

I went to post in reply to this list and found that there was not a place to post, and further yet found that it was written to try and recruit people to sign up for a Radiology Technician School.  You could click to find a place to become a Radiology Technician, even a Radiologist.

I love this quote from x-rayschools.net

“It’s not as interesting a question as “X-Ray Technologist vs. X-Ray Technician: Who Would Win in a Steel Cage Death Match?”, but it’s important nonetheless to know that there is indeed a difference between the two titles, even though they’re often used interchangeably.”

The difference is that the Technologist has had formal education in the field of radiography.  Most Radiologic Technology courses when completed meet the requirements for an Associates Degree.  Also upon completion of the program they sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists board examination.( http://www.arrt.org )

I was shocked to see these bloggers giving thanks for making the list, and not one person making the correction that they themselves are actually Radiographers, or Radiological Technologists.  Especially after finding out the list was made for the purpose of advertising schools that would then produce Radiologic Technologists, not Technicians.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to correct everyone about this mistake it is a very common error.  I however think those that have completed their formal education and worked very hard to earn the right to be called Technologists should do so proudly.  For those Radiologic Technologists that have passed their ARRT registry be proud to have the initials RT(R) to show you are in fact a Registered Radiologic Technologist.

I feel that if you are going to post about a topic, you should do some research and find out a little about it.  A quick google search would let you know that you are posting about one thing and advertising another.

Congratulations to all of those Registered Radiologic Technologists out there for all your hard work and dedication to your field of expertise!

Save the darkroom!

The radiologic technology program I teach for is very lucky to have two different digital imaging systems.  We have the Fuji processor as well as a Kodak processor.  Having both has been an excellent way to prepare our students for their internships at the local hospitals.  All of our six clinical affiliates are using digital processing.  Most are using CR systems, and a couple have DR capabilities.

When using the CR systems we have in our lab at school it sometimes becomes frustrating to students and myself when they cannot see the effects of poor technique, grid alignment, or other tech errors because of the automatic correcting of the computerized processing.  This is why I believe we should save the darkroom in our learning environments.

When teaching students about the “S” number on the Fuji system, or the “EI” on the Kodak system, it is so valuable for them to first take the exposure with what I call “old school” film screen.  Having the film on the view box hanging next to the digital image they take next helps them to grasp what the numbers actually are representing.

With digital imaging taking over we hear a lot about dose creep and over exposure to our patients.  I believe that it is much more prevalent now that we only see a number and not the actual overall blackening of our films.  When we used film screen I would be embarrassed to hang a film that I just developed if it were over exposed.  Their was an unspoken quality assurance taking place every time you developed a film.

It is my hope that having the students use film screen in combination with the digital system that they will be more self-aware of the quality of films they are taking in regards to their “S” number or “EI”.

 

 

I’m Back!!

Thanks for being patient while I’ve been away.  I have finished up the classes I was taking and am now focusing on teaching and keeping up with my online social network. 

I stumbled accross a new website www.radiolopolis.com.  It is an excellent site for other radiology educators.  The site is set up like facebook for people who are in the field of radiology.  Most of the other members are radiologists.  It offers an excellent pool of people to ask questions to.  They also have  a case of the day feature, and a program designed to help you build a teaching file.  Please post if you have other great websites or resources you think would be helpful to others.

If you have a twitter account you can follow me at www.twitter.com/thexraychic  and I will follow you also.

Hope you are all having an excellent weekend…and happy Rad Tech Week to everyone!

Contrast

Contrast can have many different meanings even in radiography.  I will be describing image contrast.

First let’s define image contrast:  Image contrast is the difference between adjacent densities.  The adjacent densities can range from white to black and various shades of grey in between. 

When describing contrast of adjacent densities that are greatly different, such as a density of .25 (or a white density) and a density of 2.5 (a black density) these two densities adjacent to each other have a high contrast.  There are little or no shades of grey. 

When describing contrast of adjacent densities that are similar in shade, such as a density of 1.0 ( a gray density) and a density of 1.25 ( another shade of gray) these two densities adjacent to each other have a low contrast.  They are similar in color, or have many shades of gray.

High contrast films have few shades of gray, Low kVp technique, short scale of contrast, have a short or narrow window width.

Low contrast films have many shades of gray, High kVp technique, long scale of contrast, have a large or wide window width.

 The controlling factor has the most direct effect on the image.  Kilovoltage peak (kVp) is the controller of contrast.  As kVp increases contrast decreases.

Influencing factors can also effect contrast.  These include mAs, Focal spot size, anode heel effect, distance, filtration, beam restriction, anatomical part, image receptor, processing, and the use of grids.

The 15% rule.  In order to make a visible difference in contrast on a radiograph you must adjust the kVp between 4%-12% .  If the radiograph is outside acceptable limits at least 8%-15% change must be made.  This is how the 15% came about.  We tend to use higher kVp low mAs techniques, especially if you are using digital radiography.  When using higher kVp you must use the higher percentage for adjustment.

Physical contrast:  The total amount of densities recorded on the image.

Visible contrast:  The the total range of densities that can be seen by the human eye.

We must be careful not to under, or overexpose our film.  Having density values that are under exposed (in the toe of the D log E curve) or density values that are over exposed (in the shoulder of the D log E curve) will decrease the film density.

Anatomical Part:  If you are photographing a large anatomical part you will have more scatter to your film this will reduce the contrast on your film.  Part size is inversely proportional to film contrast.  Increased part size, decreased film contrast.

Film with low contrast                           Film with High contrast                            

                                  Film with high contrast

Density

Density is a very important word, yet seems to be one of the most difficult to understand.  I hope this will help clear things up. 

First, let’s start with the definition of Density. 

Density:  One of the photographic properties that comprise visibility of detail; the degree of overall blackening of the film.

Optimal density for human visibility is .25-2.5.  We give the different shades from white to black a number between 0 and 3. 

hand-xray.jpg

If I were to take the density reading of the bones in the hand the reading would be closer to zero.  When looking at the bones we can see they are mostly white and have low density number. 

Here’s the tricky part.  The bones in the hand are the thickest, or most dense part of the hand.  This makes it difficult for the x-rays to make it through to the film.  Not having the x-ray photons reach the film, or by having an insignificant amount hitting the film makes it appear white. 

The flesh, or soft tissue, of the hand is the least dense and therefore allows for the x-ray photons to pass easily to the film.  Having many x-ray photons interact with the film causes the density on the film to black, or grey.  The shades of grey fall between .25-2.5 with 2.5 being completely black to the human eye.

Knowing this we can say that the thickness of the body part is inversely proportional to the density on the film.  The thicker the body part, the lower the density number.

As you train to become a radiographer you start to refine your ability to tell if a film is of optimal density or not.  You will begin to notice the difference in the density of Chest x-ray which is for soft tissue, and a lumbar spine which is thick bone.

When a film is overexposed it has a high density number and has blackening on the film.  An overexposed has too much information on it.  Too many x-ray photons have made it to the film

When a film is underexposed it has a low density number and is white or lighter shades of grey.  An underexposed film has not received enough information on it. 

If too much information has made it to the film a bright light or “hot light” can be used, or better yet if you are using a digital imaging system the scanner can eliminate the excess information.  When using a digital system you are able to adjust your window level to help rid of the extra information.

If your film is underexposed and not enough x-ray photons made it to your film, not enough information, you cannot adjust your image or use a light to make the image appear better. 

Knowing this, if you were given the choice to use too much or too little it would make sense to use too much.  Having said that, you still need to consider patient dose and not consistently overexpose your patients.

~Hope this helps!

Amanda

Getting Started

I am starting a blog to get some information online to help radiology students, as well as educators.  This will be a fun site to share information, and experiences in radiology.  Thanks for stopping!

~Amanda