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NEWSLETTER

X-rays


X-rays are electromagnetic radiation waves that are used to create images of organs and other body components. X-rays possess an extremely small wavelength. They are absorbed in varying amounts by different body tissues when they penetrate the body. Soft tissues (skin, fat, muscle) enable more X-rays to flow through. On a film or fluorescent screen, the result is an X-ray shadow in which images of bones appear white and shadows of soft tissues appear in varying hues of gray.



What is an x-ray Used For?

X-rays are used for a variety of purposes, including assessing whether or not a bone is shattered, determining whether or not an internal organ is contaminated, and detecting cancer. There are numerous forms of X-rays in use today. For example, the most common screening test for early breast cancer diagnosis is mammography (a series of breast X-rays). A computed tomography (CT) scan, which displays accurate cross-sections of the body, provides significantly more detail than simple x-rays for checking for cancers in precise cross-sections of the body. A CT scan is a collection of X-rays that are joined together using computer technology.



Preparation
There are numerous types of X-ray techniques, some of which necessitate particular preparation. For example, you may need to adjust your diet, fast completely, or use laxatives or enemas before getting X-rays of your digestive tract. You should avoid using deodorants, body powders, fragrances, and body creams before having a mammogram since they can cause aberrant shadows in the image. Remove all jewelry from the area of your body that will be X-rayed.

A developing fetus can be harmed by X-rays. If you're a woman and think you could be pregnant, let your doctor know before getting an X-ray.

What's Involved and How It's Done
You'll very certainly be asked to take off your clothes over the region of your body that will be X-rayed. A hospital gown will be handed to you. You will also be provided a flexible lead apron or another sort of protective drape for certain X-ray operations to shield parts of your body from unnecessary X-ray exposure. In an X-ray room, you will be asked to stand on the floor, lie or sit on a table, and a technician will position your body to provide the finest X-ray view.

The technician will position the X-ray machine close to your body so that the X-ray tube (from which the X-rays are emitted) is facing in the right direction. The technician will step behind a protective panel and click a button to take the X-ray image.

The method is slightly more complicated for more specialized series of X-rays, such as mammography or a CT scan.


Follow-Up
A radiologist will read your X-rays and relay the results to your doctor. For the official X-ray report, contact your doctor's office.

Risks
Although high amounts of X-ray radiation are dangerous, current X-ray facilities employ techniques and equipment that minimize your X-ray exposure. During the X-ray operation, lead aprons and other types of lead shields might be utilized to protect your reproductive organs and other portions of your body.

X-rays should be avoided by a pregnant woman in general because they pose a risk to her unborn child. When scheduling X-rays for their growing children, parents should ensure that the tests are truly necessary, that there are no non-radiation alternatives (such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound), and that as little of their child's body as possible is exposed during the X-ray session.

You can help reduce your X-ray exposure over time by keeping track of where and when you've gotten X-rays in the past and alerting your doctor about them when it's appropriate. This may help you avoid having redundant X-rays in some circumstances.

When Should You Call a Professional?
Diagnostic tests are performed on a regular basis. X-rays normally have no negative side effects. If you had a contrast medium injection before your X-rays, call your doctor if you have bleeding, discomfort, edema, or redness at the injection site. Inquire with your doctor about any other indications or symptoms to look out for following your X-ray procedure.

Additional Information

American College of Radiology
https://www.radiologyinfo.org/

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
https://www.fda.gov/

National Library of Medicine (NLM)
https://www.nlm.nih.gov

Photo by Ivan Samkov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-black-pen-and-an-x-ray-4989192/

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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