Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine of the Uniformed
Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Plain radiographs are often called "plain
X rays" - but you can't see the X-rays, only the images created by them. Radiographs
can be produced using a variety of imaging methods, and they all require
exposing the patient to X-ray radiation.
The image or picture is basically a shadow of the parts of the patient that absorb or block the X-Rays. The
image can be collected on photosensitive film, on a digital imaging plate,
or seen "live" on a fluoroscope - sort of like an X-ray TV camera.
The radiographic image is a "photographic negative" of the object
- the "shadows" are white regions (where the X-rays were blocked by the
object). The image is black in the regions that did not stop the Xrays, and they passed through to expose the film or sensor.
Plain radiographs ("plain films") are usually taken by a
Radiologic Technologist. The resulting films or images are then interpreted by
the Radiologist to make a diagnosis or suggest further tests.
Lateral plain radiograph
of skull. The dark "hole"
is an erosion made by a slowly growing