The x-ray machines that are used today uses a beam of photons for bombarding the body. The image formed on a film would show the dense parts of the body to be distinct from the softer tissues. It could also reveal the location of any foreign objects that might be there. This is the general way that x-ray machines function.
Types of X-Ray Machines
There are different types of x-ray machines that are in use today. Here are just some of those:
CT Scanner- This machines looks like a tunnel where the body of the patient is placed. It takes two dimensional images of the patient’s body. There are several x-ray detectors arrayed inside the tunnel and while the patient is in there, these detectors get the needed data and then send that to a computer which produces a detailed image that can be used by the doctors.
Bone X-Ray Machine- This machine consists of a tube that emits an x-ray beam over a table where examinations are held. The film is placed under the table. It could make images of the body. It is most often used for looking at the bones and see if there are any damages of fractures there. It could also be used for checking other internal organs.
Linear Accelerator- Instead of being used for making images of the body, this kind of x-ray machine is actually used for treatment. The radiation that it emits is used for bombarding cancerous growths in the body. The intense radiation is supposed to kill the growth without affecting the rest of the body. The photons used in this machine are a lot stronger than in the ones used for taking images of patients.
Backscatter X-Ray Machine- This is the kind of machine used in airport security. It uses a different principle as compared for those used in x-ray machines found in hospitals. This machine measures the amount of photons that passes through an object, what it measures instead is the ability of a material to scatter the photons. It can create an image faster than other types of x-ray machines and so can be used for real time imaging. The image could actually be viewed on the screen as the objects are passing through.
Those are the more common types of x-ray machines that are in use today. As you can see, these machines are not just used in medicine but other industries as well.
X-Ray technicians are the people who operate the x-ray machines. They work hospitals, medical and dental clinics. They are the ones who perform x-ray examinations on the head, torso and the limbs of the patients.
Diagnostic radiographers as they are known in Australia should possess certain qualities. These are personal qualities as well as certain educational achievements.
Personal Qualities of an X-Ray Technician
Radiographers use state of the art technology in their work. It is therefore important that they should be interested in science and the latest technology as well. They don’t have to be geniuses on the level of a rocket scientist, but they should have enough interest and knowledge in the field. Since they would be dealing with patients, some of whom might be seriously sick, it is therefore crucial that they should have excellent skills when it comes to dealing with other people. They should know how to sooth the feelings of the patients who might be distressed.
In order for you to work as an x-ray technician in Australia, you should have studied medical imaging or diagnostic radiography in an institute of higher learning. These courses last for three years. After that period of study, you need to do a PDY or what is known as a professional development year. There are also some universities that are offering 4 year courses in the field. If you opt to go for the longer educational program, then you no longer have to do the PDY.
One must complete these educational and training requirements before being accredited as a qualified x-ray technician. Foreigners who wish to work as diagnostic radiographers in Australia need an additional requirement. They should also show evidence that they have a certain level of fluency when it comes to the English language.
Registration and License
The licensing and regulation of x-ray technicians is the task of each state. Each state has its own regulation and laws that concern the licensing and the registration of x-ray technicians. The fees and cost involved in the process would also be different for each state.
Persons who have not practiced for several years and would like to get a license again are required to undergo a special course which would help to refresh their skills. Those who have not practiced for ten years or longer may even be required to retake the original program for training. This is needed because the technology changes so rapidly that their knowledge becomes obsolete.
An X-ray machine is a highly complicated and specialized device. Because of that, its repair should only be entrusted to someone who is properly trained and is very knowledgeable on how it works and how it functions. Letting someone who is not properly trained to handle the repair of this kind of machine can be dangerous for both patients and the technician.
As you know, this device emits radiation which can be very dangerous and harmful to humans who are exposed to it. That’s why if there is anything wrong with the machine, it should be repaired and taken care of right away. This makes it even more important that only a qualified person should do repairs on a machine.
Hiring an Electrician to Fix an X-Ray Machine
Though an X-Ray device runs on electricity, it does not mean that an electrician would be able to repair any damages to it. There are certain conditions that might be handled by an electrician. One such situation is when the power supply of the machine is not working or the lines leading to it is damaged. Then an electrician should be called in to do the repair. Repair or maintenance work on the machine itself should only be done by a qualified X-Ray technician.
Tasks and Training of an X-Ray Repair Technician
The task of an X-Repair technician might include some tasks performed by an electrician such as using instruments like voltmeters and multi-testers and understanding how to read a schematic diagram. There are also other tasks that only they could perform. Things like operating the machine and knowing all the safety precautions are things that only radiographer, as they are called would know about.
The training of a radiographer is very comprehensive and it involves anatomy and the study of healthcare and medicine. They would also learn how to use instruments for testing and making sure that the machine is maintained properly.
Normally it would take two years in order for one to become a qualified X-Ray technician, especially if one were pursuing an associate degree. If you want to learn how to operate and maintain an X-Ray machine then you would really have to undergo training for it. It is not enough that you have some knowledge of electrical devices or you are a qualified electrician. There are just some things that are complicated, which only an expert and a trained person would understand.
When it comes to helping doctors in diagnosing the problems of patients, x-ray machines have been very useful for a long time now. They can be used for identifying problems with different internal organs such as the heart and lungs. They can also be used in looking for problems with bones and in identifying the location of foreign objects within the body.
Precautions in Using an X-Ray Machine
These machines are reliant on radiation in order for them to serve their function. It is common knowledge that too much exposure to the radiation that it emits can be harmful to humans. Normally it should not be dangerous, but it might cause some problems if the proper precaution is not taken. That is why it is necessary to take the extra precautions that you see on the X-Ray rooms of clinics and hospitals.
There are concerns regarding the effects of the radiation generated by the machine on the reproductive system of a patient. This is the reason why an X-Ray should be performed on a pregnant patient unless it is absolutely necessary. In some places the patients and the personnel inside the X-Ray room are all required to wear protection made from lead. This metal is known to stop radiation from penetrating.
How the Machine Works
The machine generates a beam that is changed into X-ray photons. This new beam can then be projected onto a surface such as the body of the patient. The denser parts of the body such as bones will absorb the X-ray while the skin and the softer tissues will not. The beam will then hit the exposed film and produce the images that we are all familiar with. We could clearly see the denser organs and parts of the body.
How to Clean a X-Ray Machine
Like all machines, an x-ray machine would require to be cleaned in order for it to function properly. The tube that generates the powerful beam is the most essential component of the device. It has to be kept clean at all times in order to ensure that it is going to function properly.
Like all machines that uses electricity to function, one has to make sure that the X-Ray machine is powered down and disconnected from it power supply before starting to clean it. One should not use anything that is not recommended by the manufacturers of the machine or by experts in cleaning it.
If you are a doctor or a dentist and you are running your own clinic, then you should consider having your own x-ray machine. This is far better than having to refer your patients to diagnostic laboratories and other clinics. There are several advantages to this:
- You will be doing a great service to your patients, since it would be more convenient for them
- Having your own machine could help you in making diagnose
- It could improve your reputation
- It would be an additional profit maker for you
Because of these reasons, you should really look into the possibility of getting your very own x-ray machine to help you in your clinic.
Buying Your Own X-Ray Machine
There are two things that have to be purchased. These are the machine itself and the darkroom. The darkroom is where the film is developed. These are both necessary in order for you to use the system.
Cost of an X-Ray Machine
There are different types of x-ray machines and each type would cost differently. The difference in the prices is substantial. While all x-ray machines are expensive, some types would really cost a great deal of money.
Buying anew x-ray machine can cost about $20,000. There are cheaper machines but if you are going to buy expensive equipment anyway, why go for the cheap ones? Then there are the additional costs of the films and the operation of the whole system. Operational and maintenance cost could be several hundred dollars each month and then you might have to hire someone to operate and maintain the machine. Having your own machine can be very costly and expensive. That’s why you need to really think about it if it is something that you would want to have.
Is it Worth it?
Now, the question is whether it is worth it to buy such an expensive machine. It is, but you have to look at it in the long run. If you are referring your patients to other clinics that has an x-ray machine then that is not going to help you at all. That would be like a restaurant telling a customer to buy their drink at the other joint across the street and to come back and eat their food. Patients would naturally go to a place that has everything in it. So, if you want to build your reputation, then you should get your own machine now.