General x-ray, or radiography, is an exam that captures clear, precise images using radiation.
Radiation, a form of energy, exists in nature and emanates from the atmosphere and earth. As with many naturally-occurring substances, radiation, in moderation, is considered harmless.
X-ray beams can pass through the human body. When they strike a detector, they produce a picture.
Traditional film-based exams have been replaced by digital imaging in many cases. Digital radiography requires no film processing. Test results can be viewed seconds after the exposure is made.
X-rays is the most commonly performed investigation to assess a wide variety of conditions including bone injuries, infections, arthritis and cancer. A doctor can get a detailed view of the spine, fingers, toes, abdomen, urinary tract, gastrointestinal system, chest, ribs, skull, sinuses, facial bones and other specific areas of the body.
Depending on the part of the body being x-rayed, you may be asked to lie on a table, sit, or stand while the images are taken.
Some types of x-ray exams require the use of a “contrast medium” that is either injected or taken orally in order to allow the doctor to see inside blood vessels or the urinary tract.
The exam usually takes 10-45 minutes to complete. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
Women who are, or may be, pregnant or are breastfeeding, must alert their doctor and the technologist if they are being scheduled for an x-ray procedure.
No preparation is required for general x-ray, but may be required for other x-ray procedures involving x-rays.