Radiographic positioning

Our guide to positioning – here are our 6 top tips

Posted: 11 January 2018

Radiographic positioning

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Radiology is a one of the most useful diagnostic tools available and is widely used in all species including rabbits. However you do need to approach a rabbit with a bit more caution. By virtue of being a prey species they are good at hiding illness and disease. It’s therefore essential that critical patients are stabilised first before attempting a stressful procedure - any dyspnoeic rabbit needs supportive oxygen before radiography.

Positioning prior to exposure is critical and helps to;

  • Improve diagnostic quality – good positioning is more likely to help you make an accurate diagnosis. Poor positioning will only create confusing imagery, preventing structures from being distinct and relevant.
  • Minimise errors – a correctly placed animal, limb or body cavity will reduce the chances of misinterpreting artifacts and shadows.
  • Ensure patient and staff safety – all appropriate radiation safety measures have to be taken to avoid or reduce the risk of exposure to yourself or your colleagues.

Our guide to positioning – here are our 6 top tips

1. Use sedation or anaesthesia – it’s much safer and less stressful to both the animal and the clinician if the patient is immobilised. Trying to restrain a conscious animal will cause stress and is likely to result in movement and a compromised radiographic image.

2. Use sandbags of various shapes and sizes – these can be used in calm conscious, lightly sedated or fully anaesthetised patients. The sandbags can be used to raise, pull forwards or hold down limbs.

3. Intubation for longer procedures - endotracheal intubation should be considered if a long sequence of x-rays are to be taken. If you are intending to xray the head, jaw bones and dental architecture, the position of the tube has to be taken into account to avoid it causing artefacts and complicate the image interpretation.

Have you seen our rabbit intubation video? 

4. Understand symmetry – examining and imaging all animals requires a natural understanding of symmetry, and radiographic imaging is no exception.  In most situations it is of utmost importance.

5. Use positioning aids - pieces of foam, sandbags or tape can be used to help with correct positioning and to secure the patient to the radiographic plate, without interfering with the images.

6. Take multiple views - correct radiographic interpretation usually requires more than one view to be taken for each anatomic area studied. Standard practice is to take two views 90° apart (a lateral and a dorsoventral or ventrodorsal view) of the area of the body of interest.

 

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