Elsevier Logo

ThisisPatientEngagementcontent

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PATIENT GOES HOME?

Learn more about our Patient Engagement products now! Turn your patients into active participants in their healthcare by giving them easy access to the same evidence-based information you trust – but delivered in an easy-to-understand format.

Apr.28.2021
 X-Rays

X-Rays

X-rays are pictures of the inside of the body. An X-ray machine creates these pictures using waves of energy called radiation. Bones and tissues in the body absorb different amounts of radiation, which show up on the X-ray pictures in shades of black, gray, and white.
X-rays are used to check for many health conditions, including broken bones, lung problems, and some types of cancer.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant. If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, talk to your OB/GYN before getting an X-ray. You will need to take certain precautions, such as placing a protective apron over your abdomen to protect the baby.

What are the benefits?

X-rays are very helpful in diagnosing health problems. Here are some of the benefits of X-rays:
  • They are fast, easy, and do not hurt.
  • They do not involve any surgery or anesthesia.
  • They are useful in an emergency when you need a quick diagnosis.
  • They offer an accurate diagnosis of many types of injuries and conditions.
  • They usually do not cause side effects.
  • The radiation exposure is very small.
  • The radiation does not stay in your body after the X-ray is finished.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, being exposed to too much radiation over a lifetime can increase the risk of cancer. The risk from a single X-ray test is small.

What happens before the procedure?

  • You may need to remove glasses, jewelry, and any other metal objects.
  • You will likely be asked to undress whatever part of your body needs the X-ray. If needed, you will be given a hospital gown to wear.
  • You may be asked to wear a protective lead apron to shield parts of your body from the X-ray.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will lie on a table or stand up depending on which part of your body needs the X-ray.
  • You will be asked to stay as still as possible during the exam in order to get the best possible images.
  • The X-ray machine will create a picture by using a tiny burst of radiation. This is painless.
  • You may need to have several pictures taken at different angles.
The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What can I expect after the procedure?

  • You will be able to return to your normal activities.
  • The X-ray images will be examined by your health care provider or an X-ray (radiology) specialist.
  • It is up to you to get your test results. Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test, when your results will be ready.

Summary

  • X-rays are pictures of the inside of the body. An X-ray machine creates these pictures using waves of energy called radiation.
  • Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, being exposed to too much radiation over a lifetime can increase the risk of cancer. The risk from a single X-ray test is small.
  • You will be asked to stay as still as possible during the exam in order to get the best possible images.
  • It is up to you to get your test results. Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test, when your results will be ready.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

;