WHAT IS AN X-RAY
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to visible light. Unlike light, however, x-rays have higher energy and can pass through most objects, including the body. X-rays can’t be seen, felt or heard. Instead, they effortlessly pass through skin, bone and metal to produce images that the human eye would never be able to see.
WHAT ARE X-RAYS USED FOR
Conventional X-ray images can be very useful to doctors in evaluating symptoms that originate inside the body as well as diagnosing injuries. Among the most common uses of conventional X-ray are:
- Identifying fractures (cracks) and breaks or infections in bones and teeth
- Diagnosing cavities and evaluating structures in the mouth and jaw
- Revealing tumors on bones
- Measuring bone density as a means of diagnosing osteoporosis
- Finding evidence of pneumonia, tuberculosis, or lung cancer (chest X-rays)
- Looking for signs of heart failure or changes in blood flow to the lungs and heart
- Locating swallowed items such as a coin or tiny toy
HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN X-RAY
X-rays are standard procedures. In most cases, you won’t need to take special steps to prepare for them. Depending on the area of the body that your doctor and radiologist are examining, you may want to wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can easily move around in. They may ask you to change into a gown for the test. You may also be ask you to remove any jewelry or other metallic items from your body before your X-ray is taken.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS
X-rays use small amounts of radiation to create images of your body. The level of radiation exposure is considered safe for most adults, but not for a developing baby. If you’re pregnant or believe you could be pregnant, tell your doctor before you have an X-ray. Another modality may be suggested for your diagnosis.