X-ray or radiography uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the body's internal structures. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. They are often used to help diagnosed fractured bones, look for injury or infection and to locate foreign objects in soft tissue. Some x-ray exams may use an iodine-based contrast material or barium to help improve the visibility of specific organs, blood vessels, tissues or bone.
- examine an area where you’re experiencing pain or discomfort
- monitor the progression of a diagnosed disease, such as osteoporosis
- check how well a prescribed treatment is working
- bone cancer
- breast tumors
- enlarged heart
- blocked blood vessels
- conditions affecting your lungs
- digestive problems
- tooth decay
- via a liquid that you swallow
- injected into your body
- given to you as an enema before your test
How is the procedure performed?An X-ray technologist or radiologist can perform an X-ray in a hospital’s radiology department, a dentist’s office, or a clinic that specializes in diagnostic procedures. Once you’re fully prepared, your X-ray technician or radiologist will tell you how to position your body to create clear images. They may ask you to lie, sit, or stand in several positions during the test. They may take images while you stand in front of a specialized plate that contains X-ray film or sensors. In some cases, they may also ask you to lie or sit on a specialized plate and move a large camera connected to a steel arm over your body to capture X-ray images. It’s important to stay still while the images are being taken. This will provide the clearest images possible. The test is finished as soon as your radiologist is satisfied with the images gathered.
- a metallic taste in your mouth