An X-ray is a quick and safe procedure that is commonly used as a means of looking at the human body-usually the bones. Some X-rays are performed in the standing position and others are taken lying down. Whilst X-rays themselves are painless, in some instances, you may experience slight discomfort caused by the position you are required to be placed in during the examination.
Almost all studies now involve digital imaging- and no X-ray plates are taken. The images are of higher quality and less radiation is used. The images are stored digitally much like the modern day camera and can be viewed on Computers in your doctors office in hospital wards and on mobile devices that are enabled to view images and which are password protected so not just anyone can see your images.
The images are stored at our practice on a System called PACS which stands for a Picture Archiving Communication System and so old images are accessible to the clinicians and radiologist which is valuable for comparison.
You are not required to undertake any advance preparation for an X-ray.
Once at our rooms, you will be taken to a change room. You will be requested to remove relevant clothing and jewellery and to wear the provided examination gown.
All metal objects, such as keys, clips, buttons, coins and mobile phones, must be removed from the path of the X-ray beam.
Some body parts which are sensitive to radiation may be protected with a lead shield. The area to be examined will need to be exposed but the rest of you will be covered.
You will be placed between an X-ray tube and an X-ray receiver and asked to lie still whilst the X-ray is taken (less than a second). You may also be asked to hold your breath.
Some X-ray procedures take a short amount of time and others may take longer depending on the complexity of the examination and the number of X-rays required.
X-rays may be taken from several different angles so that the radiologist can gain as much information as possible.
Female patients who know or think that they might be pregnant, must advise the radiographer of this upon arrival and before the examination.
If there is any doubt, a different test that doesn’t use X-rays may be performed.
If no substitute test is appropriate, then the test may be postponed and the need for the examination discussed with your clinician.
X-rays due to their use of radiation are better avoided especially during the first trimester. However should you be x-rayed most studies use low amounts of radiation and do not pose a serious risk to your unborn child.
The risk of harm from a diagnostic X-ray scan in an adult is very small and needs to be balanced against the risk of not performing the study. The information gained from an X-ray, such as an early diagnosis and treatment, may have significant health benefits.