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X-ray

Definition

X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body.

X-ray of Teeth

Jaw x-ray teeth
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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:

  • Find an infection, especially pneumonia
  • Look for evidence of arthritis
  • Diagnose heart and large blood vessel problems
  • Look for fluid in the lungs
  • Look for problems in the abdomen

By using oral, rectal, bladder or IV contrast materials, x-rays can also used be for other reasons, including:

  • Looking at the stomach and intestines, gall bladder, or liver
  • Small blood vessel disease
  • Urinary tract or reproductive syatem abnormalities
  • Bleeding
  • Locating tumors

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

No

Results    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.

RESOURCES:

Food and Drug Administration
http://www.fda.gov
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North Americaf, Inc.
http://www.radiologyinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Association of Radiologists
http://www.car.ca
Canadian Institute for Health Information
http://www.cihi.ca

References:

Patient safety: radiation dose. Radiological Society of North America website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed. Updated August 10, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Last reviewed February 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 2/27/2014