X-Ray (or Radiography) is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. Radiographs are created by passing small amounts of radiation through the human body and capturing the resulting shadows and reflections of bone and tissue onto a photographic plate. X-Rays are the fastest and easiest way for a physician to view and assess broken and/or injured bones.
Probably the most common use of radiographs is to assist the physician in identifying and treating fractures. Images can show very fine hairline fractures or chips, while images produced after treatment ensure that a fracture has been properly aligned and stabilized for healing. Chest X-Rays can evaluate phenomena, tumors and heart failure. Abdominal X-Rays can image fluid and air levels, kidney or gallstones and tissue inflammation.
The technologist positions the patient on the examination table, places a flat holder (cassette) under the table or under the area of the body to be imaged. Then, the technologist goes to a small adjacent room and asks the patient to hold still without breathing for a few seconds. The radiographic equipment is activated sending a beam of x-rays through the body part which produces a picture on the film. The technologist then positions the patient for another view and the process is repeated as necessary.
Patients may be asked to change into a gown for the x-ray depending on the body part under examination. There is no special preparation required for most plain film radiographs such as bone, the chest and abdomen.
The exam will be read by a board certified radiologist and a report will be sent to your physician.