A common imaging test that has been around for a while is the X-ray. Without having to make an incision, it may enable your doctor to view the interior of your body. They can use this to identify, track, and treat a variety of medical conditions.
There are various uses for various X-ray types. For instance, to check your breasts, your doctor might prescribe a mammogram. To take a closer look at your digestive system, they might also order an X-ray along with a barium enema.
Receiving an X-ray carries some risks. However, for the majority of people, the potential advantages outweigh the risks. To find out more about what is appropriate for you, speak with your doctor.
What happens after an X-ray?
You can put on your regular clothes once your X-ray images have been collected. Your doctor may advise you to carry on with your regular activities or rest while you await your results, depending on your condition. The day of your procedure, or the day after, your results might be ready.
To decide how to proceed, your doctor will examine your X-rays and the radiologist’s report. They may request additional tests based on your results in order to make a precise diagnosis. For instance, they might request more imaging scans, blood work, or other diagnostic procedures. Additionally, they might suggest a course of treatment.
Find out more about your condition, diagnosis, and available treatments by speaking with your doctor.
How X-rays work
Radiation that can pass through the body includes X-rays. You cannot feel them and you cannot see them with the unaided eye.
The energy from X-rays is absorbed by various body parts at various rates as they move through the body. The X-rays pass through the body and are picked up by a detector on the opposite side, where they are processed into an image.
Bone, which is dense and more difficult for X-rays to penetrate, appears as clear white areas on the image. Darker areas appear where there are softer tissues that are easier for X-rays to pass through, like your heart and lungs.
You will typically be asked to lie on a table or stand up against a flat surface during an X-ray so that the area of your body being examined can be positioned properly.
The radiographer will carefully aim the X-ray machine, which resembles a tube with a sizable light bulb, at the area of the body that needs to be examined. They will control the device from the adjacent room or from behind a screen.
The X-ray will only be visible for a brief period of time. You won’t experience any discomfort as it is being done.
You must remain motionless throughout the X-ray process to prevent blurry results. To gather as much data as possible, multiple X-rays may be taken from various angles.
Are X-rays really safe?
Radiation doses received during diagnostic procedures rarely have negative effects. For instance, the radiation dose absorbed during a straightforward X-ray examination like a chest X-ray (radiograph) or an X-ray of the head, abdomen, pelvic area, arms, shoulder, or knees is quite low and is lower than that obtained yearly from natural sources. It is still possible that the radiation exposure could have genetic or cancerous effects even at these low doses. Although no human studies have provided any concrete evidence of such effects to date, it is not possible to completely rule out the theoretical possibility.
What negative effects could an X-Ray have?
For the majority of adults, the level of radiation exposure is regarded as safe, but not for a developing baby. Before getting an X-ray, let your doctor know if you’re pregnant or think you might be. They might recommend a different imaging technique, like an MRI.
You might feel pain or discomfort during the test if you’re having an X-ray taken to help diagnose or treat a painful condition, such as a broken bone. During the photoshoot, you’ll need to hold your body in a specific way. Your doctor might advise getting some pain medication first.
Different X-ray Types
The heart, lungs, blood vessels, airways, and lymph nodes in the chest are all visible on an x-ray image. The picture also shows the collarbone, ribs, and breastbone. The upper part of the spine is also partially visible. A chest x-ray is used to identify medical conditions like pulmonary and respiratory issues, heart conditions, and other conditions that manifest symptoms in the chest region. A chest x-ray typically consists of two images—one taken from the back and the other from the side.
An image of the spine is captured by a spinal X-ray, which is useful for identifying illnesses and injuries that affect the spine, its joints, and its discs. Spinal x-rays can be used to diagnose a variety of health issues, such as tumors, disc issues, infections, and fractures of the spine. However, the diagnosis of spine-related issues like scoliosis or Spina Bifida is where spinal x-rays are most frequently used. Depending on which part of the spine is being examined, there are different subtypes of spinal x-rays. A cervical, thoracic, sacral, coccyx, or lumbosacral x-ray may be necessary for patients.
The term “extremity x-ray” describes x-ray scans of the hands, wrists, arms, feet, knees, legs, ankles, and hips. This is frequently necessary for the identification and examination of illnesses and injuries like fractures and dislocations. Tumors, osteoporosis, and arthritis are a few conditions that can affect the extremity and necessitate such an x-ray.
What advantages do x-rays have?
The diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury have been significantly improved by the quick advances in clinical radiology technology and theory.
Several advantages of clinical radiology exist for the patient:
It may make exploratory surgery unnecessary.
It’s employed to decide whether a patient requires surgery.
It aids in the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of the majority of bodily conditions.
In comparison to open surgery or key-hole (laparoscopic) surgery, interventional radiology, which includes treatment as well as diagnosis, carries a lower risk and requires less time in the hospital for recovery.
Treatment for ailments like heart disease and stroke is visually aided by it.
Mammography is used in the screening for diseases like breast cancer, with early detection lowering mortality rates.
Additionally, it is a successful treatment for both cancer and other diseases and enhances cancer diagnosis (known as radiation oncology or radiation therapy).
Why don’t you get x-rays more frequently?
You probably don’t think about how much radiation you’ll be exposed to when your doctor orders an occasional x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan; instead, you concentrate on the results. However, if you require a lot of tests, you might be concerned about how much radiation you are exposing yourself to and whether it is safe. Concern over radiation exposure is a higher chance of getting cancer in later life. It is possible for ionizing radiation from exams like x-rays or CT scans to harm body tissue, including cell DNA.
People frequently worry about radiation exposure during X-rays. The area of your body that is being checked, however, will only be subjected to a very low dose of radiation for a brief period of time.
In most cases, the radiation you receive during an X-ray is similar to between a few days and a few years of exposure to environmental radiation.