Saturday, July 14, 2012

Radiographer

Radiographer is a trained health professional who performs medical imaging by producing high quality X-ray pictures or images used to diagnose and treat injury or disease. It is an important part of medicine and a patient’s diagnosis and treatment is often dependent on the X-ray images produced.

Radiographers are very careful about the amount of radiation exposed to you. They will only use what's absolutely needed to get a good image.
Radiographer is an important member of the diagnostic health care team. They are responsible for producing high quality medical images that assist medical specialists and doctors to diagnose or monitor a patient's injury or illness.

They operate extremely technologically advanced equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerised tomography (CT), mammography, radionuclide imaging, angiography and digital radiography for the purpose of producing diagnostic quality medical images to enable the Radiologist (a specialist doctor in Radiology) to diagnose diseases and abnormalities of the human body.

Their roles are diverse and challenging, as radiographers are often trained in several specialist areas such as:

•Trauma radiography - challenging examinations on injured individuals.

•Computed tomography - perform cross-sectional x-ray scans of the head or body for specialists or consultants in the hospital. These cross-sectional images can be used to create 3D reconstructions of your body, giving important information which is not always visible on a conventional x-ray.

•Magnetic resonance imaging - 3D imaging test powered by a large magnet It is a way of taking images of your body without using x-rays. Any part of the body can be scanned and examinations can take up to an hour. Occasionally a small injection is given to highlight some parts of the body more clearly.

•Fluoroscopy – a continuous X-ray image is displayed on a monitor, allowing for real-time monitoring of a procedure or passage of a contrast agent, or “dye” through the body. Fluoroscopy can result in relatively high radiation doses, especially for interventional procedures (such as placing catheters, or other devices inside the body) which require fluoroscopy be administered for a long period of time.

•Angiography - this is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins and the heart chambers. This is traditionally done by injecting a radio-opaque contrast agent into the blood vessel and imaging using x-ray based techniques such as fluoroscopy.

•Operating theatre - assisting surgeons during operations with C Arm X ray Machine.


•Portable radiography - when patients are too ill to be moved to the department, a radiographer will x-ray the patient on the ward with a portable x-ray machine.
Portable x-ray machine


Radiographers need to show care, compassion and empathy to their patients. Whilst the role is highly technical, radiographers focus their efforts on patient care and welfare to ensure positive patient experiences. The radiographer works in a highly advanced technical profession that also requires excellent people skills. It is an exciting and rewarding profession to be a part of.

Radiographers have an extremely thorough understanding of the structure of the body, how the body can be affected by injury, and causes and effects of disease when taking X-ray images. However, they are not responsible for interpreting the images they produce. This is the role of a radiologist, who is a specialist doctor with a Master of Medicine (Radiology), and specialised in interpreting images and writing a diagnostic report for referring doctors. Radiologists rely on the input of radiographers and there is a very close working relationship.

Radiographers work in a variety of situations including radiography/medical imaging departments of large public hospitals with busy emergency departments, private hospitals and large and small private radiology practices, sometimes with only a couple of rooms and a few staff.

Radiographer must strive to get the cooperation of the patient to produce accurate X-ray films and at the same time maintain the privacy, dignity, security and comfort of the patient at all times.

Mr Khew, a senior radiographer
at Radiology Dept.  HUSM

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