An X-ray is a type of noninvasive medical imaging procedure. Digital X-ray machines emit beams of energy, called X-rays, that pass through your body tissues to create a contrasted black and white image.
Each type of tissue (e.g. bone, organs) absorbs the rays differently to appear as a different shade. For example, bones appear white in the image while muscle tissue looks dark gray.
X-ray energy contains a small amount of radiation that is safe for most adults, but the procedure isn’t the safest option for pregnant women and other at-risk patients. If a doctor has recommended an X-ray to you, they believe that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Why do I need an X-ray?
Physicians recommend X-rays in many cases and to view bones, organs, and various internal tissues. Specifically, your provider at Valley View Wellness Medical Center might recommend an X-ray to view:
- Bone breaks and fractures
- Arthritic joints
- Bone tumors
- Lung conditions
- Heart conditions
- Breast cancer
- Digestive blockages
With an X-ray, your provider can diagnose these and other conditions or causes of certain symptoms. They can also look at the progression of a disease before, during, or after treatment.
What steps should I take to prepare for an X-ray?
In many cases, you won’t have to go out of your way to prepare for an X-ray. However, you must tell your doctor if you have any metal implants in your body since they can block a clear X-ray image from appearing.
In some cases, an upcoming X-ray dictates that you must:
- Stop eating or drinking for some time (for digestive tract X-rays)
- Swallow or inject a contrast dye for better viewing
- Wear a hospital gown
You’ll also need to remove any jewelry before your X-ray procedure. Because of this, it might be in your best interest to leave valuable metal accessories at home.
Will I get any side effects from my X-ray?
Side effects from X-rays don’t always occur. However, you might get a few side effects if you needed a contrast dye for your X-ray. You might experience:
- A warming sensation
- Itching or hives
- The taste of metal
More severe reactions are extremely rare. Your physician can answer any of your questions about your risk of side effects before your appointment.
To find out more about how X-rays work and how they can aid in your diagnosis, call Valley View Wellness Medical Center or go online to book your appointment today.