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General Radiology

Xray

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An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. This involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.

Preparation
Most bone x-rays require no special preparation. You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.

You should always inform the x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

Procedure
X-rays usually require some patience, but are usually quick, easy and painless. Here is a walkthrough of the procedure:

  1. The technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, positions you on the x-ray table and places the x-ray film holder or digital recording plate under area being imaged.
  2. When necessary, sandbags, pillows or other positioning devices will be used to help maintain the proper position.
  3. You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce possibility of a blurred image.
  4. The technologist will walk behind a wall to activate the x-ray machine.
  5. You may be repositioned for another view and the process is repeated. Typically two or three images of different angles will be taken.
  6. When the examination is complete, you will be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.
  7. The procedure usually takes five to ten minutes.