What is an X-Ray? What is an X-Ray used for?
An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians
diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing
a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures
of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used
form of medical imaging. X-Ray imaging is used for diagnosing various
medical problems in bones, chest, upper and lower gastrointestinal tract,
contrast studies and a myriad of fluoroscopic studies. For example, a
radiograph can determine broken bones, joint dislocation, fracture, infection,
arthritis, bone cancer and locate foreign objects in soft tissue. Another
common test is a chest x-ray which is typically the first imaging test
used to help diagnose symptoms such as:
- shortness of breath
- a bad or persistent cough
- chest pain or injury
Physicians use the examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for
conditions such as: pneumonia, heart frailer, emphysema, lung cancer or
other medical conditions.
Some of the exams we offer in Diagnostic X-Ray imaging at MMCSC include
Routine Radiography, Tomography, Barium Studies (upper and lower GI tract),
Contrast studies (IVP, Hysterosalpingogram, Arthrograms, Cholangiogram).
Fluoroscopy studies are mainly performed in our state of the art new digital
fluoroscopy unit enabling our Radiologists to interpret accurate diagnosing
and early treatment plan.
Most X-rays do not require preparation prior to the exam. Special studies
such as fluoroscopy exams (Upper GI, Lower GI) require specific preparation
which will be explained to you by our schedulers during the scheduling process.
You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown
during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses
and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there
is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not
performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation.
If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation
exposure to the baby.
Frequently asked questions:
How long will the X-Ray exam take?
Depending on the type of exam a routine x-Ray takes about five to fifteen
minutes. The contrast and fluoroscopy cases may take anywhere from fifteen
minutes to forty five minutes.
What is oral contrast and when is it used?
Oral contrast is used during a fluoroscopy exam of the Upper GI tract.
It aids the Radiologist in better visualization of the body the part.
The patient is instructed to drink the fluid (contrast) while the Radiologist
and/or the technologist take pictures during the exam. Once the exam is
complete the patient is instructed to drink plenty of water to help remove
the contrast from the body.
Getting your results:
Your X-Ray images will be analyzed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes
in diagnostic testing. The radiologist will send a signed report which
includes an interpretation of the image to your primary physician. Your
physician will receive your results soon after. At MMCSC we also offer
our patients a free copy of their exam on CD to share with their physicians.
Our Team of Specialists:
Our board certified Radiologists are specially trained to diagnose and
interpret the images. At MMCSC the Radiography technologists are specially
trained in the theory and practice of Diagnostic Radiography procedures
and operate the equipment used during the procedure. The technologists
are board certified and licensed (ARRT), and MMCSC Radiology Department
is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.