What is an X-Ray?
X-rays are a form of ionizing radiation that can penetrate the body to form an image on film. X-rays can provide information about obstructions, tumors, and other diseases.
Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles and will appear white. Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white. Structures containing air will be black and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.
How the Test is Performed
An x-ray technologist performs the test. The positioning of the patient, x-ray machine, and film depends on the type of study and area of interest. Multiple individual views may be requested.
Much like conventional photography, motion causes blurry images on radiographs, and thus, patients may be asked to hold their breath or not move during the brief exposure (about 1 second).
How to Prepare for the Test
Inform the health care provider prior to the exam if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or have an IUD inserted.
You will remove all jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the x-ray examination because metal and certain clothing can obscure the images and require repeat studies.
How the Test Will Feel
There is no discomfort from x-ray exposure. Patients may be asked to stay still in awkward positions for a short period of time.
For the exposures encountered in conventional radiography, the risk of cancer or heritable defects (due to damaged ovarian cells or sperm cells) is very low. Most experts feel that this low risk is largely outweighed by the benefits of information gained from appropriate imaging. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image.
Young children and developing fetuses carried by pregnant women are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays. Women should tell health care providers about suspected pregnancy.
Types of X-Rays Performed at Quincy Medical Group
- Routine diagnostic x-rays
- Fluoroscopic Barium Work (Upper GI, BE)