What is an X-Ray?
An x-ray (radiograph) is a quick, painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. They are often used to help diagnose fractures in bones, or infection, injury or locating a foreign object in soft tissue. Different parts of the body absorb the x-rays in varying degrees. Dense bone absorbs much of the radiation while soft tissue, such as muscle, fat, and organs, allows more of the x-rays to pass through them. As a result, bones appear white on the x-ray, soft tissue shows up in shades of gray and air appears black.
Preparation for Procedure
In most cases, you won’t need to take special steps to prepare for them. Depending on the area that your doctor and radiologist are examining, you may want to wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easily move around in. They may ask you to change into a hospital gown for the test. They may also ask you to remove any jewelry or other metallic items from your body before your X-ray is taken.
Always tell your doctor or radiologist if you have metal implants from prior surgeries. These implants can block X-rays from passing through your body and creating a clear image.
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What to Expect During the Exam?
X-Rays are fast, easy, and painless. The part of your body to be examined will be properly positioned, and several different views of that part may be obtained. The technologist will instruct you to hold still and in some cases hold your breath while the X-ray is being taken to eliminate blurring. X-ray exams generally take around 5 minutes, after which you will be able to return to normal activities.
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What About the Results of X-Ray?
You will be free to leave the facility and resume normal activities as your health permits. A radiologist reads your x-ray, and the results are reported directly back to your doctor.
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