by Krisha McCoy, MS
X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body.
Reasons for Test TOP
X-rays can be taken of any part of the body. They are especially good for looking at teeth and injuries to bones.
X-rays can also be used to:
By using oral, rectal, bladder or IV contrast materials, x-rays can also used be for other reasons, including:
Possible Complications TOP
An x-ray uses radiation to make images. The low levels of radiation from a single x-ray will not affect most people. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, then talk to your doctor before the x-ray. Radiation may be harmful to developing babies.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Test
Before your x-ray is taken, you may be asked to remove jewelry and put on a hospital gown.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
You may be given a type of contrast material.
Description of Test
A lead shield may be placed on parts of your body that are not being x-rayed. This will help reduce your exposure to radiation.
The x-ray device will be placed over the part of your body being studied. You will be asked to remain as still as possible while the images are taken. The x-ray device will send x-rays through your body. The x-rays will be captured on the other side of your body by a computer or on film.
After Test TOP
You will be able to resume your daily activities after the x-ray is complete.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
A few minutes
Will It Hurt? TOP
The x-ray will be sent to a radiologist. A report will be sent to you and/or your doctor.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Food and Drug Administration
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North Americaf, Inc.
Canadian Association of Radiologists
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Patient safety: radiation dose. Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
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Accessed. Updated August 10, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Last reviewed February 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 2/27/2014