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- Chest X-ray facts
- What is a chest X-ray?
- What is a shadow on a chest X-ray?
- How is the chest X-ray procedure performed?
- How do doctors interpret chest X-rays?
- Where are chest X-ray's performed?
- What are the risks of a chest X-ray?
- What are reasons for ordering chest X-rays?
- Who can interpret chest X-rays?
- What can be seen on a normal chest X-ray?
- What are some common chest X-ray abnormalities?
How do doctors interpret chest X-rays?
A radiologist is a physician specialist trained to interpret images of the body produced on films. After the films are produced by the technician they are developed and reviewed by the radiologist for interpretation. After the radiologist reviews the chest X-ray, occasionally further images or angles may be necessary. Once all the films have been reviewed by the radiologist, a report is generated which is transmitted to the ordering practitioner.
The doctors interpreting the films place the films in front of a source of light for better visualization of the shadows on the chest X-ray. This usually consists of a fluorescent light source placed in metal box and covered by a white plastic.
More recently, newer technology has replaced this old reading technique in many health care facilities and radiology offices. This advanced technology has eliminated the need for the actual physical films to be placed on a light box for interpretation. The images, once taken and developed, are uploaded into a computer with special software that enables digital images to be viewed on a computer screen. The doctor can look at the images on the screen, interpret the results, and comment on the computer all within minutes after the images were taken.
Additionally, this technology may allow for ability to look at any previous images taken from the same patient. It also essentially eliminates the possibility of lost X-rays and speeds up the interpretation of X-rays, and the communication between doctors about the results.