Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Radiographic Position Terminology You Should Know About: A Guide

Becoming a radiologic technologist is one of the best choices you can make when you went to enter the medical field without spending a ton of time in medical school. Not only is it a field that takes only a couple of years of training to enter, but it’s also pretty lucrative!

If you’re thinking of becoming a radiologic technologist, then one of the first things you’ll learn about in your education is human anatomy and radiographic position terminology. Want to brush up on your knowledge before heading to class? Read on to learn some basic terms!

Body Planes

One of the first things you’ll learn about radiographic positioning is that the human body, as a whole, is divided into specific planes. In radiography, there are four different planes you know about in order to properly position a body for their x-rays or MRI: the sagittal, coronal, horizontal, and oblique planes.

The sagittal plane is the plane of the body as it would appear if you divided it in half between the right and left sides of the body. The coronal plane is the plane of the body as it would appear if you divided it in half between the front and the back halves of the body. The horizontal plane is the division of the body between the top and the bottom.

Finally, the oblique plane is considered perpendicular to the other planes in the body.

Body Positions

The importance of radiographic positioning is that it allows a physician to determine if anything is going on inside the body. As a result, you need to understand the names of certain positions when a physician orders imaging from you.

The term erect means that the subject needs to either be standing or sitting down for the imaging. Decubitus means the person should be lying down, while supine refers to lying on their back, and prone refers to lying face-down. The Trendelenburg position has the patient lying in a supine position, with their feet higher than their head.

Lateral refers to lying on their side. Right lateral means the patient’s right side touches the cassette and left lateral means their left side touches the cassette.


Projections refer back to the planes of the body, except in this case, the plane is the central ray.

A lateral position has the central ray parallel to the coronal plane, perpendicular to the sagittal plane, and moving from one side of the body to the other. In an oblique position, the central ray goes through the subject of the image at an angle to the transverse or coronal plane. In an axial position, the central ray moves parallel to the long axis of the body.

Have You Brushed Up on Your Radiographic Position Terminology?

Staying on top of your radiographic position terminology will help you succeed in your education. With a little bit of effort and persistence, you’ll soon be starting out on your career as a radiologic technologist! In today’s healthy job market, there’s never been a better time to get started on your new career!

Are you interested in learning about more great ways to take control of your future career? You’ve come to the right place! Check out the rest of our blog for tons of fantastic career advice!


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