X-ray of ribs: indications, preparation, conduct, results


X-ray of ribs is a non-invasive (no penetration) imaging examination procedure. When it refers to x-ray examination of the chest. The technique is based on the property of x-rays passing through tissues of the human body with different intensity.

Bone tissue, being most dense in the body, and containing a large amount of calcium, transmits rays slightly, or not pass them at all. Therefore, the image of bone structures is most clearly expressed on the x-ray. The internal organs of the chest pass x-rays better, so in the picture they appear looser and have different shades of gray.

  • Ease of implementation and ability to quickly get the answer. Chest injuries often carry different degrees of risk to the life of the patient, as the frame edges are hidden by nature the most important for human organs: heart, lungs. Without prompt diagnosis and urgent treatment of their injury may lead to very sad consequences. Broken ribs injury can turn from a protector of these organs to cause damage to their soft structure with sharp atomtime.

X-rays of the ribs is the best method of research when the need for the most rapid diagnosis of thoracic injury. The method does not require prior training. In just 5 minutes, the radiologist will be able to determine the risk of injury, and after 10-15 minutes it will be ready the and conclusion.

Pneumothorax, as a result of chest trauma or spontaneous, is a life threatening condition. The air accumulating in the pleural cavity compresses the lung, causing acute respiratory failure. In this situation, x-ray of the ribs will allow to urgently diagnose pathology and physician emergency physician and the surgeon to decide on the tactics of urgent treatment.

  • Accessibility. Today x-ray installation is in any hospital. CT and MRI is also informative, however, these devices are only in large medical institutions. And transporting heavy patient with respiratory and heart failure, which developed after the injury, and progressive increase, dangerous. Moreover, without urgent assistance there is a risk of additional damage sharp broken ends of the ribs lung tissue.
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  • Democracy. X-rays of the ribs remains the lowest cost of all the imaging methods for the study of edges.
  • The ability to diagnose the pathology and to monitor the results of treatment of internal organs of the chest. Chest x-ray will show not only the pathology of the rib frame and the condition of the lungs, suggests heart disease. Healthy easy air. By itself, the air passes x-rays without absorbing them. Visible in the picture, only the roots of the lungs and the arteries of the large bronchi. In pathology of the lung tissue thickens due to the stagnation in them. It may contain pus, blood, fluid in trauma, pneumonia, purulent abscesses, pulmonary edema… Any liquid and seal worse than the air, missing x-rays are therefore determined on the film in the form of blackouts. All these pathologies have specific radiological symptoms, so a chest x-ray is the main diagnostic method for these conditions. Be conducted, this study may again to determine the dynamics of state changes in the treatment with a view to its correction.

Informative research and for the assessment of the pulmonary sinuses. When pleurisy and bleeding from the lung tissue, for example, in case of its damage in the sinuses there is fluid or blood, which also becomes apparent in the chest x-ray.

Who appoints radiography of the ribs?

To recommend x-rays of the ribs can any doctor specialization: General practitioner or a pulmonologist to diagnose pathologies of the lungs, trauma to identify fractures bone structures of the chest, the pediatrician or pediatric surgeon to diagnose congenital abnormalities of the thorax, the oncologist.

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Special instructions

It is not recommended to x-ray pregnant women and children. If the research is necessary, you should consider the alternative: MRI, ultrasound. However, in individual cases, when the state of health in danger, time on transportation and waiting, no delay is critical for life, x-ray examination is necessary for diagnosis and treatment, x-ray assigned.


Advance preparation is minimal. The day before trial when it is conducted in a planned manner, from the diet excludes gas-forming foods, as bloated gases in the intestine can raise the diaphragm, squeezing the lungs.

Before the study the patient removes clothing from the top half of the body. Also should not be on the neck and chest of any jewelry: chains, pendants… Long hair is also necessary to raise, so they were not included in the image region.


As a rule, immediately is plain radiography of the chest in frontal and lateral projections. It allows to assess the overall picture of the state of the chest. If you want to hold the sighting radiography region of the nidus.

Directly before the photo is taken, the patient pressed her chest against the screen and takes a deep breath.

The image is made on the patient’s breath with the breath. In this position, the intercostal spaces are expanded, the contours of the edges become more distinct.

In order to further protect not studied the lower part of the body from x-rays, a lead apron is used.

The interpretation of radiographs

Describes the x-ray doctor radiologist. He does not make the diagnosis, but only describes what he saw x-ray abnormalities, or indicates their absence. He begins with a description of image quality: the clarity, contrast. Then goes to the direct image analysis. Describes:

  • the symmetry of chest structures;
  • violation of integrity of bone structures;
  • the change in lightness of the lung fields, their size;
  • the structure of the roots of the lungs;
  • the presence of pathological formations of the lung cavities, cavities;
  • any abnormal shade, shape, sharp contours;
  • the state of the pulmonary sinuses;
  • the level of the diaphragm;
  • the boundaries and dimensions of the heart shadow.
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Description of x-ray and the snapshot is transmitted to the attending physician, they are stored in the history. The diagnosis of the pathology exhibited by the attending physician. He decides on the treatment.