An X-ray of the tibia and fibula is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to take a picture of the lower leg. During the examination, an X-ray machine sends a beam of radiation through the lower leg and an image is recorded on a computer or special X-ray film. This image shows the bones (tibia and fibula) and soft tissues of the lower leg. The X-ray image is black and white. Dense structures that block the passage of the X-ray beam through the body, such as the tibia and fibula, appear white on the X-ray image. Softer body tissues such as the skin and muscles allow the X-ray beams to pass through them and appear darker. X-rays are performed by an X-ray technician in the radiology department of a hospital, a freestanding radiology center, or a health care provider's office. Two different pictures are taken of the lower leg: one from the front (anteroposterior view or AP) and one from the side (lateral view).
An X-ray of the tibia and fibula doesn't require any special preparation. You may be asked to remove some clothing, jewelry, or any metal objects that might interfere with the X-ray image. Developing babies are more sensitive to radiation and are at more risk for harm, so if you are pregnant, inform the doctor and the X-ray technician.
It helps in finding the cause of symptoms such as pain, limp, swelling etc. It can detect broken bones. An X-ray can help to diagnose later stages of infections
This is a quick procedure. Although the tibia and fibula X-ray exam may take about 15 minutes, actual exposure to radiation is less than a second. You will be asked to enter a special room that will most likely contain a table and a large X-ray machine hanging from the ceiling or the wall. Parents are usually able to accompany their child to provide reassurance and support.
The technician will position you and then step behind a wall or into an adjoining room to operate the machine. Two X-rays are usually taken (from the front and side) so the technician will return to reposition the leg for each X-ray. Keeping the leg still is important to prevent blurring of the X-ray image.