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Useful Significance Of Radiology Artifacts

Radiology Artifacts are commonly asked in theory exam as a long question. Some viva examiners also like to ask questions about artifacts during practical exams. I am also posting relevant theory resources for various radiology artifacts. Most of the articles are available for free. You can request the ones that are not available or any other article for that matter in our radiology telegram group. An essay writer is a person whose job is to create articles and this important topic will also be highlighted in an essay format.


Radiology Artifacts: X-ray / RadioGraphy


An unintended, unwanted visual aberration in an x-ray image.

Types of artifacts

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Positive density x-ray artifacts

  1. Black Streaks
  2. Black Bands
  3. Black Spots
  4. Watermarks
  5. Developer streaks

Black Streaks/Black Bands /Black Spots


  • Black streaks sometimes are a result of developer streaks
  • Black bands and streaks are due to exposure of films to light
  • Leak in the cassette
  • If the film packet is kept open in the darkroom and the lights are put on accidentally
  • Black spots could be a result of mottle or due to spillage of the developer on the film
  • Power failure when the film is processed in an auto processor leading to dark wide band formation
  • If these are due to cassette leak then it would appear at the same side of the film
  • Light-exposed films from packet would show this defect mainly at the top of the films


  • Caused by water droplets on the film surface
  • Appear-round dark spots of various sizes because of migration of silver particles

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How to avoid dark spots

  • Improvement in dark room handling will solve the majority of these artifacts
  • However, for mottle, replacement is the only option. Change of cassettes in case they are defective will eliminate this problem.

Developer streaks

  • These appear as brown or black streaks or clouds appearing on the film
  • Sometimes they can cover the entire film surface
  • Usually not observed in all films in a packet, only some films will show such artifacts
  • They are usually prominent in the white portion (specifically of chest radiographs) of X-ray film


  • Exact cause is not known
  • Failure to agitate the films in the developer
  • Failure to rinse the films adequately
  • Failure to agitate the film when first immersed in the fixer
  • Failure to stir the processing solution thoroughly after replenishment
  • Seen very rarely in automatic processors, which clearly indicates this defect has a relationship to manual processing only
  • Use of ice in developer tank can sometimes give rise to these streaks due to the formation of temperature as well as different concentration zones of developer

How to avoid developer streaks

  • Agitate film vigorously in stop bath or rinser for 10 to 15 secs to stop the action of developer completely
  • Change water in stop bath every day.
  • Dilution of high activity developer.

Negative density artifacts (white spots)


  • As diffused white spots (diffused negative kinks are sometimes misinterpreted as white spots)
  • Shiny white spots with black centers
  • Small white spots running parallel from edges of the film (white streaks)  
  • Generalized white spots all over the film sometimes alternating with tiny black spots

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  • How to avoid
    • Proper storage under air-conditioned atmosphere and controlled humidity is the key
    • Regular cleaning of screens will help to remove dust
    • Usually, the inner pouch of films has enough margins to fold it back. A slight effort to fold it back after taking out the film would help minimize entry of moisture to some extent. This can avoid pre-exposure of films also
    • White spots due to screens would appear due to a damaged super coat. In such cases, change of screens will eliminate such defects.