What is the Correct Placement Method for Radiography Markers?

Some of the latest chatter via Rad Tech communities have been directed at how we do our work.  I have always found this topic to be extremely interesting.  There are many rad techs who will insist that their method is correct.  After all, they have been doing it that way since they entered the field.  The question begs an answer.  Whose job is it to determine the correct positioning of the markers?  The only place in radiology where the marker position is specified by Rule is in mammography.  The MQSA Regulations do specify where the marker in a mammogram is to be placed, end of story.  But, it is the only rule that is nationwide and uncontested.  Is it personal preference, is it the Radiologist preference (who told him what it should be?), or is it facility or department protocol? Who makes the choice?

I have often asked a similar question in class about the correct end of the radiography table to place the patient’s head.  I, generally, get looks that say “Are You Kidding?” and the debate breaks out about whether the right or left side is correct.  I usually let this debate rage for a few moments before an intervention.  And, believe me, it is a lively discussion, every side justifying their answers.  Finally, I tell the class that I definitely know the correct answer.  The answer is:  “The correct end of the table to place the patient’s head is the end that contains the pillow.”  At that point most of the audience realizes what a foolish question it is and much laughter erupts.  It is apparent it has no correct answer.

The question regarding markers varies across the country by geographic region.  It is somewhat akin to asking whether you say “Ab-do-men” or  “A-do’-men”.  A lot of your medical characteristics are inherited from your instructors, your mentors, your school, and your first employment in your geographic region.  Please do not try to convince me that things are done the same way at the University of Alabama and the University of Texas, “Roll Tide and Hook ‘Em Horns”.

It was time to ask our readers what they thought and record their answers.  We don’t present this as the correct rules for marker placement.  It does tell us something about what we do in our work and how the influences got us to these opinions.


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