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Radiology Terms

If you are scheduled for a dental or other medical x ray, you may want to consider learning the following terminology. Being informed will help you better communicate with the x ray technician in the radiology lab.

  • Superior - If the imaging specialist or medical doctor makes reference to a superior location on the x ray, he or she is referencing something above a reference point.
  • Inferior - Inferior is a term meaning below a set point of reference. These terms are often used on health insurance forms.
  • Cephalic - Cephalic references the upper part of the body, or toward the head.
  • Caudad - Caudad may also be used in a hospital or medical center to reference a location toward the feet.
  • Physiology - If the imaging technician, dental hygienist, or radiology doctor mentions physiology, he or she is simply referring to the physical actions of the human body.
  • Pathology - Pathology, on the other hand, is a term used if inspection of the x ray proves suspicious change. Lab tests are used to confirm the suspicion of pathology.
  • Osteology - Osteology is specifically the study of bones. This may include teeth, but often it is a sub-specialty.
  • Distal - If something is distal on your x ray, the technician or doctor means it is relatively far form the point of reference.
  • Proximal - Proximal, on the other hand, is used if the x ray machine produces an images that reveals something close to the reference point.
  • Diagnostic - Diagnostic tools, such as an x ray, bone scan or ultrasound, is used to determine a medical diagnosis for a patient.
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    Radiology Imaging
    19455 Deerfield Ave Ste 102, Leesburg, VA 20176
    (703) 729-3542
    Heathcote Health Center
    15195 Heathcoat Blvd, Haymarket, VA 20169
    (571) 261-3300
    Frederick Memorial Hospital
    7211 Bank Ct, Frederick, MD 21703
    (301) 228-2465
    Sterling-Dulles Imaging & MRI Center
    4 Pidgeon Hill Dr, Sterling, VA 20165
    (703) 450-6091
    Robinwood Medical Center
    11110 Medical Campus Rd Ste 146, Hagerstown, MD 21742
    (301) 714-4200
    Robinwood Medical Center
    11110 Medical Campus Rd Ste 146, Hagerstown, MD 21742
    (301) 733-0022
    Frederick Memorial Hospital
    1562 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702
    (240) 566-3155
    Frederick Memorial Hospital
    3430 Worthington Blvd, Frederick, MD 21704
    (301) 874-2163
    The Imaging Center
    715 Williams St, Cumberland, MD 21502
    (301) 759-3410
    Advanced Diagnostic Radiology LLC
    952 Seton Dr Ste 210, Cumberland, MD 21502
    (301) 777-3522
    S & W Imaging
    9434 Gas House Pike, Frederick, MD 21701
    (301) 663-8135
    Greencastle Health Services
    50 Eastern Ave Ste 145, Greencastle, PA 17225
    (717) 597-5537
    Frederick Memorial Hospital
    400 W 7th St, Frederick, MD 21701
    (240) 566-3300
    Insight Imaging-Fairfax
    10721 Main St Ste 105, Fairfax, VA 22030
    (703) 591-8020
    Imagimed
    9601 Blackwell Rd, Rockville, MD 20850
    (301) 251-7897


    X ray laboratories, or x ray labs for short, can be found in medical offices and radiology departments of hospitals, medical centers, and clinics. X ray is a crucial part of the diagnostic process, providing images and pictures of the body to detect anything from cancer to broken bones. X ray laboratories use radiation to examine body parts. Some are geared toward dental procedures, only taking pictures of the teeth, while others are full-body x ray and MRI machines used in hospitals for a variety of purposes. Some provide x ray inspection services on or off site, offering real time x ray inspection and scanning electron spectroscopy. Most hospitals and clinics have x ray labs on site. Small doctor's offices, however, may not have these capabilities and must send patients to area labs for radiology services. Some laboratories are affiliated with a hospital or clinic, while others operate independently and are located in a separate facility. X ray machines and equipment are operated by qualified x ray technicians, who must attend school and obtain certification in this field. They use a variety of instruments, high tech machines, imaging equipment, and supplies to perform their jobs. Some technicians have various specialties, as one may work in a dental office while another may work in a medical center. Many x ray diagnostic procedures are covered by health care insurance, at least partially. How does an x ray machine work? Basically, medical x rays are produced when a stream of electrons come to a sudden stop at a metal plate within the machinery. Because the calcium in bones absorbs these x rays the best, bone structures show up bright white on the imaging film. Soft tissues, such as organs and fat, appear gray due to the lower x ray absorption.
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