An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive exam that aids in diagnosis and treatment of many pathologies and ailments. Imagine with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation. National and international radiology protection councils continually review and update the technique standards used by radiology professionals. All radiology professionals here at TMH are continually educated in these new techniques and standards for shielding and minimizing patient dose.
X-ray systems have tightly controlled x-ray beams with significant filtration and dose control methods to minimize stray or scatter radiation. This ensures that those parts of the patient’s body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
A bone x-ray is used to:
- Diagnose broken bones or joint dislocation
- Demonstrate proper alignment and stabilization of bony fragments following treatment of a fracture
- Look for injury, infection, arthritis, abnormal bone growths, or bony changes
- Assist in the detection and diagnosis of bone cancer
- Identify foreign objects in soft tissues around or in bones
- Visualize air-fluid levels in the abdomen and chest
How should I prepare?
Most bone x-rays require no special preparation.
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the exam.
Exams such as Upper GI, Lower GI, or Myelograms and Arthrograms will require the patient to wear a gown. Women will be required to remove their bra, especially if it contains underwires. The technologist or tech assistant preparing you for the exam will give you instructions on what can or cannot be left on in the dressing room.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby. If you have questions or concerns about this, please discuss them with the physician ordering the exam. The radiologist or technologist will be able to answer questions for you as well.