What is an X-ray?
A X-ray is a fast, painless imaging test that has been in use for decades. It may help your doctor to look inside your body without making an incision. It can assist them in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating many medical conditions. It’s the most common imaging test.
Various kinds of radiographs are used for various purposes. As an example, your doctor may prescribe a mammogram to examine your breasts. Or they can order a radiograph with an enema of baryum to see your digestive tract.(1)
X-ray carries certain risks. But for most people, the possible benefits are greater than the risks. Ask your doctor for help to learn more about your needs.
What is the purpose of an X-ray?
Your physician may request an X-ray for:
- examine any place where you have pain or discomfort.
- monitor the development of a diagnosed disease, including osteoporosis.
- verify that a recommended treatment works properly.
Conditions that may call for an X-ray include:
- bone cancer
- breast tumors
- enlarged heart
- obstructed blood vessels
- conditions impacting your lungs.
- digestive issues
- tooth decay
- need to clean up swallowed items
How should you prepare for an X-ray?
X-rays are common procedures. In most cases, you do not need to go through special steps to prepare. Depending on the area examined by your doctor and radiologist, you may want to wear loose and comfortable clothing in which to move about easily. You may be asked to change clothes and wear a hospital gown for the exam. They may also require you to remove any jewelry or other metallic items from your body before your radiography is performed.
Always let your physician or radiologist know if you have metallic implants from previous surgical procedures. These implants may prevent x-rays from crossing your body and creating a clear image.
In some cases, you may need to take a contrast agent or “contrast dye” before your radiograph. It is a substance that will help to give clear images. Iodine or barium compounds may be present. Depending on the reason for the X-ray test, contrast dye can be administered in a number of ways, such as:
- a liquid you can swallow.
- by injecting directly into your body.
- We’ll give you an enema before the test.
If you do an X-ray of your gastro-intestinal tract, Your doctor may require you to fast ahead of time. You should not eat something while fasting. It may also be necessary to avoid or restrict the consumption of certain fluids. In some cases, they may also require you to take medication to drain your bowels.
How is the procedure performed?
A radiology technician or radiologist may perform radiography in a hospital radiology department, at a dental practice or diagnostic clinic.
Once you are ready, your radiology technologist or radiologist will tell you how to position your body to take clear photos. They may ask you to lie, sit, or stand in a variety of positions during the examination. They can take pictures while standing in front of a specialized plate containing film or x-ray sensors. In certain cases, they may also ask you to lie or sit on a specialised plate and move a large camera fixed to a steel arm above your body to take x-ray pictures.
You have to sit still while the photos are taken. This will make it possible to obtain the brightest images possible.
The test is completed when the radiologist is satisfied with the imagery collected.
What are possible side effects of X-ray radiation?
X-rays use low levels of radiation to take pictures of your body. The amount of radiation exposure is considered safe for most adults, but not for a growing baby. If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, speak to your doctor before taking an X-ray. They can recommend another way of imaging, such as MRI.
If you are taking a radiograph to help diagnose or control a painful problem, As a fracture of a bone, you may experience pain or discomfort during testing. You will have to keep your body in certain positions while the photos are taken. It can be painful or uncomfortable. Your physician may suggest that you take analgesics in advance.
If you swallow a contrast agent before your radiography, it can cause side effects. These include:
- a metallic taste through the mouth.
In a very small number of cases, the dye may cause a serious reaction, like anaphylactic shock, reduced blood pressure or heart failure. If you are unsure of a serious reaction, contact your physician as soon as possible.
What happens after an X-ray?
After your radiographic images are collected, You can get dressed. Depending on your health, your doctor may suggest that you do your regular job or rest while you await your results. Your results may be available the day of the surgery or at a later time.
Your physician will review your radiographs and the radiologist’s report to determine how to start treatment. Based on your results, they can request additional tests to establish a proper diagnosis. This may include ordering additional imaging, blood tests, or other diagnostic procedures. They are also able to recommend treatment.
Consult your physician for more information on your specific condition. diagnosis, and treatment options.