18 May 2022


Density/ Brightness and Contrast in Radiography

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Ever since the invention of X-rays in 1895, the medical scene changed drastically. Doctors before then had a hard time examining patients especially when their medical issues involved the inner body parts. Things like fractures and tumours were thus hard to assess. However, with radiography, that problem was solved. Through the use of x-rays, images can now be produced to show a person’s medical condition. Nevertheless, some factors have to be considered in ensuring that the image produced is clear. These factors which include density/ brightness, and contrast play a significant role in radiography.

Radiographic density/ brightness refers to the degree of darkening on a radiograph. It is the measure of radiation exposed through the film. The most useful range of radiographic density is 0.3 to 2.0. Additionally, the density is measured in mA. The modern radiographic systems have, however, advanced much in visuals. The relationship between image brightness and the intensity of radiation exposure is not easily notable unless areas of differing tissue thickness are being radiographed (Long, Frank, & Ehrlich, 2012).

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On the other side, radiographic contrast refers to the difference in densities between radiographic regions (Long, Frank, & Ehrlich, 2012). Some films show some very light and very dark areas. Others seem to have some shades of grey running from one extreme to the other. This happens in regards to the contrast levels. Radiographs with many shades of grey are referred to as low contrast films or long grey scale (Long, Frank, & Ehrlich, 2012). Those with very light and very dark areas with few or no shades of grey are as a result of high contrast levels (Long, Frank, & Ehrlich, 2012).

In conclusion, it is paramount to ensure that these factors are set to their right standards so as a quality and interpretable image can be produced. The radiographer should obtain a clear image that shows and identifies a patient’s problem without much strain. This will ensure proper diagnosis of a medical situation.


Long, B. W.; Frank, E. D. & Ehrlich, R. A. (2012). Radiography Essentials for limited practise . Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Density/ Brightness and Contrast in Radiography.


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