What is an x-ray?
An x-ray exposes part of your body to a small dose of radiation to produce images of the inside of your body. As the x-rays pass through the body, bones and soft tissue absorb different amounts, creating a black and white contrasted image.
X-rays are used to diagnose fractures, detect fluid around a joint, evaluate the lungs and heart, detect cancer, and many other things. Images can be taken of any bone in the body as well as the heart, lungs, and blood vessels in the chest.
What can I expect?
X-rays are completely painless. The technologist will only expose the part of your body being examined. You will sit, stand, or lie on the table as the technologist positions the part of your body that is to be imaged between the x-ray machine and the film holder. The technologist will then walk behind a wall to activate the x-ray machine.
You must remain completely still while the x-ray image is taken, and you will probably be repositioned several times for different views. You may experience slight discomfort from holding still in a particular position or lying on the examining table, especially if you are injured.
How should I prepare?
Wear comfortable clothing on the day of your appointment, and avoid jewelry or other metal objects. Be sure to tell your doctor and the technologist if you are nursing or may be pregnant.
What long will it take?
An x-ray exam usually takes fifteen to thirty minutes.