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What is an x-ray?

X-rays use a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce images of the body's internal structures. X-rays are the most frequently used form of medical imaging. They are often used to help diagnose fractured bones, look for injury or infection such as pneumonia or arthritis, or 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.

What should I expect?

The radiologic technologist, who is specially trained and licensed, will perform your radiology examination. Depending on the type of exam, the technologist will position you either seated, lying down, or upright. The technologist may use an imaging plate to obtain the image. The imaging plate may be placed beneath the body part being imaged or in an imaging plate holder in the table or wall. When necessary, some positioning devices may be used to help maintain the proper position. A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic area, breasts, or thyroid when feasible to protect from radiation.

You must hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath for certain exams while the x-ray is being taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will stand behind a wall or outside the x-ray room during the exposure.

You may be repositioned for another view and the process is repeated. Multiple images from different angles will typically be taken.

How do I get the x-ray results?

Your exam will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the results will be sent to your physician, typically within 24 hours. Your physician will then contact you to discuss the findings and any treatment options if warranted.                                                                                            

Important Note: If you are pregnant or think that you could be pregnant, you must notify your physician or the radiologic technologist in the Imaging Department prior to the procedure.