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X-ray exams use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce pictures of internal tissues, bones and organs on film. Standard X-rays are the most commonly used, and the oldest, form of medical imaging. They are performed for many reasons including diagnosing tumors or bone injuries and are painless.
For Your Safety
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant. Your doctor may decide whether to postpone the exam or use an alternative exam such as ultrasound to reduce the possible risk of exposing your fetus to radiation.
Some X-ray exams require patients to consume a contrast material (either by mouth or IV) in order to create a better image. If you have allergies or asthma and your X-ray scan requires a contrast material, there is a slight risk of an allergic reaction to the material. Most reactions result in itchiness or hives. For individuals with asthma who are allergic, the reaction can be an asthma attack. In very rare instances, an allergic reaction may cause swelling in your throat or other areas of your body. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or thyroid conditions also increase your risk of reaction to the contrast material. Immediately tell your technologist or doctor if you experience any of these symptoms during or after your exam. Our staff and physicians are prepared should any type of emergency situation occur.
Preparing for an X-Ray Exam
Before your X-ray, you will be asked to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses and any other metal or electronic objects from your body as these objects interfere with the quality of the images.
Further preparation for your X-ray depends on which part of your body will be examined.
Generally, the portion of your body that is being examined will be undressed and you may be asked to wear a hospital gown for your comfort. You may be also asked to wear a lead apron as a precaution to shield areas of your body not being examined from x-ray exposure.
What to Expect During an X-ray Exam
X-rays typically take only a few minutes when done without a contrast substance (usually a liquid such as barium or iodine that is generally ingested or injected, to help differentiate structures or fluids within your body). X-rays performed with a contrast substance may take up to 20 minutes or more.
Our technologist will prepare and guide you through your X-ray by explaining the procedure, assisting in removal of jewelry and other metal objects and positioning you to ensure the highest quality images are obtained from your exam.
You may lie on a table or stand or sit between an X-ray machine and the X-ray plate. The technologist supervises the X-ray from a shielded room and can always see and hear you.
The only discomfort you may experience is typically the hardness of the X-ray table or the cooler temperature of the room, which is necessary to keep the X-ray equipment from overheating.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.