Technical Factors That Affect Radiographic Quality

Jessyca B. Wagner, PhD, RT(R), CIIP*

*Assistant Professor, Radiologic Sciences, Shimadzu School of Radiologic Sciences, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX.

Address correspondence to: Jessyca B. Wagner, PhD, RT(R), CIIP. E-mail:

Disclosure statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


There are 3 main determinants of radiographic quality: receptor exposure, spatial resolution, and distortion. Many factors can affect these elements of quality which can ultimately impact the diagnostic quality of the image. Radiologic technologists (RTs) need to understand the relationships between these factors and the 3 factors that affect image quality. Receptor exposure can be affected by milliamperage (mAs), kilovoltage peak (kVp), source-to-image distance (SID), grids, tube filtration, beam restriction, the anode heel effect, and patient factors. Spatial resolution can be affected by object-to-image distance (OID), SID, focal spot size, motion, and patient factors, as well as tube, part, and receptor angle. Distortion can be affected by OID, SID, and patient factors, and tube, part, as well as the receptor angle. Understanding these individual elements and how they relate to receptor exposure, spatial resolution, and distortion will allow RTs to produce the highest quality diagnostic image possible while minimizing radiation dose to the patient and personnel. This CE course seeks to explain these factors and explore their relationships to improve RTs' grasp of radiographic quality.

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