One of the oldest forms of medical imaging, x-ray is an extremely, simple, painless and relatively quick medical test that can help your doctor provide you with appropriate treatment. It’s a fast, easy and safe way for your doctor to view and assess conditions ranging from broken bones to pneumonia to cancer. Many different types of x-rays, such as bone or chest x-rays, exist. The type your doctor uses depends on what part of your body needs examining and for what purpose.
X-ray imaging can be used to help determine and diagnose a number of conditions and injuries such as joint injuries and bone infections, broken ribs or a punctured lung, and chipped, dislocated or broken (fractured) bones. It can also be used to diagnose the cause of persistent coughing or chest pain, monitor the progression of degenerative conditions, such as arthritis and the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, detect scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, and determine whether there is a build-up of fluid in the joint or around the bone.
In general, preparation for an x-ray is relatively simple. You will be asked to undress the area of your body that needs examination and to remove any objects that may interfere with the x-ray image.
Prior to commencing the procedure, the technologist helps position your body to obtain the necessary views requested by your doctor. During the actual x-ray, you will be asked to remain still to avoid causing any blurring on the film. The technologist may take x-rays from multiple angles to ensure they obtain exactly what your doctor is looking for.
When properly used by a radiologist and technologist specially trained to minimize exposure, x-rays are safe and no radiation remains afterward.