DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

X-ray

A quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body.

What is an X-ray?

X-rays are a common type of imaging scan used to view the body beyond the soft tissue. X-ray beams pass through your body, and they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, appear white on X-rays. The air in your lungs appear black, and fat and muscle appear as shades of gray.

X-ray technology is used to examine many parts of the body:

Bones and Teeth:

  • Fractures and Infections – In most cases, fractures and infections in bones and teeth show up clearly on X-rays.
  • Arthritis – X-rays of your joints can reveal signs of arthritis. X-rays taken over the years can help your doctor determine if your arthritis is worsening.
  • Dental Decay – Dentists use X-rays to take pictures of the teeth and jaw and check for cavities.
  • Osteoporosis – Special types of X-ray tests can measure bone density.
  • Bone cancer – X-rays can reveal bone tumors.

Chest:

  • Lung Infections or Conditions – Evidence of pneumonia, tuberculosis or lung cancer can show up on chest X-rays.
  • Breast Cancer – Mammography is a special type of X-ray test used to examine breast tissue.
  • Enlarged Heart – This sign of heart failure shows up clearly on X-rays.
  • Blocked Blood Vessels – Changes in blood flow to the lungs and heart can be seen on chest X-rays.

Abdomen:

  • Digestive Tract Problems – Barium, a contrast medium delivered in a drink or an enema, can help reveal problems in your digestive system.
  • Swallowed Items – If your child has swallowed something like a key or a coin, an X-ray can show the location of that object.

BEFORE THE TEST

There is no physical preparation for an X-ray test. You should avoid wearing jewelry or clothing with metallic items on your test date. We allow walk-in patients for X-ray tests, so therefore, you may have to wait for your turn.

Please inform the technologist if you are or think you may be pregnant. You should not have an x-ray during the last 2 weeks of their menstrual period.

DURING THE TEST

You may also be required to remove your clothing and put on a paper gown. Some X-ray tests may require an x-ray dye to be injected or ingested. You may experience discomfort from the injection.

Let your physician or technician know if you have had an allergic reaction to X-ray dyes in the past.

During an X-ray, you will be asked to remain still while the process is being performed. The X-ray process is quick and usually lasts only a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the number of images required.

AFTER THE TEST

Once the test is completed, you are able to return to your normal activities. You may be asked to remain at the facility for additional x-rays while they are being developed. This is not a sign of abnormality, but only to ensure clarity of the images.

Source: Mayoclinic.org