Radiographic distortion

Mr Andrew Murphy et al.

Several factors contribute to radiographic distortion whereby the anatomy examined is misrepresenting on the plain radiograph. 

X-ray beam 

The x-ray beam originates from a point source within the x-ray tube. It is due to this point source nature that x-ray beams will all possess 'beam divergence'. As the beam exits the x-ray tube the beam will 'diverge' while the centre point (central ray) of the beam will not suffer from any divergence. All regions peripheral to the central ray will then suffer from some degree of distortion. The amount distortion can be limited via three factors. 

Centring 

Centring the anatomy to the central ray on the image receptor will limit beam distortion due to divergence. The point of the central ray is the focal spot on the x-ray tube; therefore one can angle the tube on a stationary axis and maintain the central ray at the level of the joint, seldom applied but useful for imaging that requires longer radiographs i.e. tibia/fibula x-ray.

Source image receptor distance 

The source image receptor distance known as the SID is the distance of the tube from the image receptor, affecting magnification. The greater the SID, the less magnification the image will suffer. Although 100cm is the universally accepted SID studies have shown that apart from improving distortion issues, increasing the SID from 100cm to 122cm decreases entrance skin dose despite any need for an increase in mAs 1.

Object image receptor distance

The object to image receptor distance (OID) is the distance between the object to the detector. The closer the anatomy is to the detector the less magnification/distortion. One can observe this when observing the shadow cast by the light source onto the anatomy.

 

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Article information

rID: 58719
Section: Radiography
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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