X-rays are performed in the radiology department or a clinic that specializes in the diagnostic procedure. The X-ray technician helps you settle in after you are fully prepared and directs the patient according to the requirements of the X-ray.
Since this X-ray requires an AP and lateral view, also known as anteroposterior projection, the X-ray technician will require the patient to be either erect or supine, depending on their clinical history. In ideal circumstances,
is taken in the erect position in the setting of non-trauma to give a functional overview of the thoracic spine.
On the other hand, if the patient has a suspected spinal injury, all of their imaging must be taken in a supine position without moving the patient unnecessarily. The patient needs to place their hands by their sides.
In some cases, the patient may be asked to flex their legs or be provided with a pillow to improve their comfort to reduce spinal lordosis.
The patient may also be asked to hold their breath and remain still while the image is being taken to ensure it's not blurry; otherwise, the procedure may have to be repeated. While the process is relatively short, it may take a longer time for the X-ray to come out if the patient has been injected with a dye to make the imaging come out clearer and detailed.
In terms of the lateral view, the patient is either erect, supine or lateral decubitus. The lateral projection requires the upper limbs to be removed from the path of the direct X-ray beam to reduce the superimposition of the proximal humeri over the thoracic vertebrae.