What is an X-Ray?
X-rays are a form of radiation similar to visible light, radio waves and microwaves. X-radiation is special because it has a very high energy level that allows the X-ray beam to penetrate through the body and create an image or picture.
Plain X-rays are the simplest medical images created through X-radiation. Other tests that also use X-rays are more complicated and require the use of computers to generate a picture; for example, computed tomography: CT. Any image created using an X-ray is due to different X-radiation absorption by different structures or parts in the body. A dense structure, such as bone, absorbs a high percentage of the X-ray beam (which appears light grey on the image), whereas low-density structures, such as soft tissues, absorb a small percentage (which appears dark grey on the image). The body has many different structures of varying densities and this difference creates a picture or image. (O’Sullivan & Goergen, 2017)
How long does an X-Ray take?
The examination takes approximately 5-10 minutes. However, that can change based on how many body parts are being examined.
What happens when a patient comes in for an X-Ray?
The examination is performed by a radiographer (trained X-Ray technologist) who will give you specific instructions based on the body part being examined. It is important that you stay completely still when the radiographer instructs you to, as any movement might create a blurred image. After the X-rays are completed, you will be accompanied either to your next examination, changing room or exit. The radiologist, a physician, specialized in reading the images, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your doctor, who in turn will discuss the results with you.
How to prepare for an X-Ray?
There is no specific preparation required for an x-ray. Please inform the radiographer if there is any chance you may be pregnant.
O’Sullivan, B. & Goergen, S. ( 2017, August 31). Plain Radiograph/X-ray. Retrieved from www.insideradiology.com.au/plain-radiograph-x-ray/