X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light. In a health care setting, a machines sends are individual x-ray particles, called photons. These particles pass through the body. A computer or special film is used to record the images that are created.
Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white. Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white. Structures containing air will be black and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.
How is the test performed?
The test is performed in Our radiology department. The positioning of the patient, x-ray machine, and film depends on the type of study and area of interest. Multiple individual views may be requested. Much like conventional photography, motion causes blurry images on radiographs, and thus, patients may be asked to hold their breath or not move during the brief exposure (about 1 second).
How to Prepare for the Test
Inform the health care provider prior to the exam if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or have an IUD inserted. If abdominal studies are planned and you have taken medications containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) in the last 4 days, the test may be delayed until the contrast has fully passed. You will remove all jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the x-ray examination because metal and certain clothing can obscure the images and require repeat studies.
How the Test Will Feel
There is no discomfort from x-ray exposure. Patients may be asked to stay still in awkward positions for a short period of time
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
- Cervical spondylosis
- Croup syndrome Epiglottitis
- Pelvis x-ray – A pelvis x-ray is a picture of the bones surrounding the hip area. The pelvis connects the legs to the body. In the following conditions the test may be performed
- Pelvic fractures
- Tumors of the ilium, ischium, or pubis (the bones of the pelvis) Sacroiliitis (inflammation of the area where the sacrum joins the ilium bone)
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Thoracic spine x-ray – A thoracic spine x-ray is an x-ray of the twelve chest (thoracic) vertebrae. The vertebrae are separated by flat pads of cartilage that cushion them. The x-ray helps evaluate bone injuries, disease of the bone, tumors of the bone, or cartilage loss. Hand x-ray – A hand x-ray is a medical image of one or both hands.
- Hand x-ray is used to detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the hand. Hand x-rays may also be performed to assist in determining the “bone-age” of a child in order to determine if metabolic or nutritional disorders are interfering with proper growth
- Lumbosacral spine x-ray – A lumbosacral spine x-ray is a picture of the small bones (vertebrae) in the lower part of the spine (the lumbar region) and the sacrum, the area that connects the spine to the pelvis. Lumbosacral spine x-ray helps evaluate back injuries and persistent numbness, low back pain, or weakness.
- Skull x-ray – A skull x-ray is a picture of the bones surrounding the brain, including the facial bones, the nose, and the sinuses. This test may be performed when there has been trauma and/or injury to the skull or when symptoms indicate a disorder involving structural abnormalities may be present inside the skull (such as tumors or bleeding). The x-ray is also used to evaluate an unusually shaped child's head.
- Bone x-ray – A bone x-ray may detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the bone
- Joint x-ray – This test is an x-ray of a knee, shoulder, hip, wrist, ankle, or other joint.
- Chest x-ray – A chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm. A chest x-ray may be ordered when a person's symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, a chest injury, or difficulty in breathing. The test is also used when tuberculosis, lung cancer, or other chest or lung disease is suspected.
Abdominal x-ray – Abdominal films are x-ray images of the abdomen. Abnormal findings include:
- Abdominal masses
- Build up of fluid in the abdomen
- Kidney stones
- Certain types of gallstones
- Intestinal blockage
- Foreign object in the intestines (an intestinal obstruction)
- Injury to the abdominal tissue
- Hole in the stomach or intestines