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General radiography

Introduction

General radiographic imaging dates to the discovery of x rays by Conrad Roentgen in 1895. Radiographic imaging includes all plain film radiographic imaging of the body. (Radiographic imaging is also used in veterinary and industrial radiography.)

Important Principles

Radiographic imaging involves the complex interaction of various types of specialized equipment and processes. The equipment used for chest radiography is not satisfactory for mammographic imaging, nor is it suitable for radiographs of the pelvis and abdomen. Dental radiography is included in this area of imaging and has specialized equipment for general dental imaging, cephalometric applications, and panoramic (tomographic) imaging.
Image quality is dependent upon the x-ray tube kilovoltage, tube current and exposure time, the size of the x-ray tube focal spot, the focal spot to image distance, and the scatter reducing grids (used to increase image contrast). Although patient dose is important, image quality is the essential element in general radiographic imaging.

Introduction to References

As noted above, general radiography is a complex topic involving specialized equipment. Consequently, it is difficult to provide a specific reference to a single chapter. Bushberg, Dowsett, Sprawls, and the IAEA document "Handbook on the Physics of Diagnostic Radiology" each cover the topic of general radiography. However, these sources, and others, generally require several chapters on topics such as x-ray production, interaction of radiation with matter, x-ray image formation, scattered radiation and grids, x-ray tubes, x-ray generators, etc. Dosimetry applicable to general radiography is covered in the IAEA document entitled "Dosimetry in Diagnostic Radiology; An International Code of Practice." Quality control of general radiographic imaging is essential and is covered in the quality control references.