What Is An X-ray?

An X-ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation used in medical imaging to create images of internal structures, such as bones and organs. The images can be used to help diagnose a variety of medical conditions. X-rays can also be used in non-medical contexts, such as to check for structural damage in industrial equipment.

Preparation for an X-ray

Before getting an X-ray, your doctor will likely ask you to fill out a questionnaire about any medical conditions you have and whether you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Some X-rays may also require you to take medication or drink a contrast material to make the images more clear. Additionally, your doctor may ask you to remove any jewelry or other metal objects you are wearing, as these can affect the accuracy of the images.

The Procedure for an X-ray

During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on a table and then an X-ray machine will be used to take the images. You may need to remain still for the duration of the procedure, depending on which part of your body is being examined. The entire procedure typically takes about 5-10 minutes.

Types of X-rays

There are several different types of X-rays available:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) scans – These are three-dimensional images of any part of the body, produced by a special X-ray machine. They can be used to check for--among other things--tumors.
  • Mammography – This is a specific type of X-ray used to check for breast cancer.
  • Fluoroscopy – This type of X-ray uses a continuous X-ray beam to produce a moving image of the body.
  • Angiography – This is a type of X-ray used to examine the arteries and veins.

Risks of X-rays

X-rays are a relatively safe procedure, as the radiation levels are low and the exposure time is limited. However, there are risks, such as the possibility of an allergic reaction to contrast materials. Additionally, there is a small risk of cancer from prolonged exposure to radiation.

Why Would You Need an X-ray?

X-rays are generally used when a doctor needs to examine the internal structure of a patient’s body. It is often used to diagnose broken bones, tumors, and other medical conditions.

When Would You Get an X-ray?

Your doctor may suggest an X-ray if they suspect that you have certain medical conditions, such as a fracture or tumor. Additionally, X-rays may be recommended for routine check-ups to monitor for any problems.