X-ray is a painless and speedy examination that generates pictures of the constitutions within your body – your bones.
The X-ray radiations move through the body and they get absorbed in different quantities in the substances they move through.
Opaque substances, like metal and bones appear as white on X-ray outputs. The lungs’ air appears in black. Muscles and fat show up in a gray shade.
In certain X-ray examinations, a contrast dye, like barium or iodine is introduced into the organs of the body for obtaining superior imaging details.
Why it’s done
The technology of X-ray is useful for examining many body organs.
- Bones and teeth
Infections and fractures: In most of the cases, infections and fractures in the teeth and bones are clearly visible on X-ray images.
Arthritis: X-rays performed on your joints may help in revealing the presence of arthritis. X-rays performed periodically may help in ascertaining and determining the deterioration of arthritis.
Dental decay: Dentists make use of X-rays for verifying the presence of cavities in your teeth.
Bone cancer: With X-rays, tumors can be detected.
Lung conditions or infections: Verification of tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lung cancer can be detected with the help of X-ray performed on Chest.
Breast cancer: With a special kind of X-ray, known as Mammography, breast tissue is examined for tracing any kind of cancerous tissue.
Enlarged heart: This is a warning indication of possible heart failure because of congestion, which is clearly revealed on X-rays.
Blood vessel blockage: By introducing the contrast substance containing iodine may help you in highlighting parts of the circulatory system for making it observable on X-rays.
Digestive tract issues: A contrast medium, Barium, given in an enema or a drink may help in revealing issues with the digestive system.
Swallowed articles: In case you suspect your child may have swollen something such as a coin or a key, an X-ray test may reveal the location of that article.
Several people may be concerned that X-ray tests are not safe as the beams it emanates may make mutations of exposed cells leading to cancer. The radiation amount you get exposed to in an X-ray test may depend on the organ or the tissue under scrutiny. Radiation sensitivity may depend on your age. Children are more sensitive as compared to adults.
However, beams exposure is low with X-rays and the benefits from X-ray examinations outweigh the involved risks.
Nevertheless, in case you believe you may be pregnant or are pregnant, inform your doctor before undergoing an X-ray test. Though the risk from the investigative X-rays to yet-to-be-born baby are low, your doctor may Though the risk of most diagnostic X-rays to an unborn baby is small, your doctor may prefer to conduct a different imaging examination, like Ultrasound.
In certain individuals, the contrast medium injection may develop side effects like:
- A feeling of flushing or warmth
- A metallic taste
Although rarely, stern responses to a contrast medium may happen, such as:
- Cardiac arrest
- Low blood pressure
- Anaphylactic shock
How to prepare for the test
Each kind of X-ray needs unique preparation. Seek specific instructions from your doctor or the nurse.
What to wear
Usually, you uncover whatever organ of your body requires an X-ray test. Or, you may be allowed to wear a gown during the test, depending on which part or the organ is being X-rayed. You may be told to remove metal articles, jewelry, eyeglasses as they may also appear in the X-ray images obstructing the correct diagnosis.
Before performing certain X-rays, a liquid, known as contrast medium or substance, like Iodine or Barium, is introduced in the organ or the area undergoing X-ray. The contrast medium helps in highlighting the precise area of the body on the X-ray picture. You are made to ingest the contrast medium or the substance or get it as through an enema or an injection.
What to expect from the X-ray Test
X-rays are done in hospitals, emergency wards, dentists’ and doctors’ clinic wherever an X-ray apparatus (machine) is available. The apparatus generates safe radiations, which pass through a particular organ of your body for obtaining an image on a specialized slide. You may be able to see, but can’t feel undergoing an X-ray test.
For obtaining the required image of the view, a technocrat may thus position your body using sandbags or pillows. At the time of the X-ray exposure, you may be asked to stay still and, at times, holding your breath. This is required for avoiding the blurring of the X-ray image.
While a bone X-ray may take a few minutes, more involved processes, like contrast medium X-rays, may take a longer time ranging from an hour or more.
X-rays for children
If a child is undergoing an X-ray, other techniques and restraints are used for keeping her or him still. This way the child does not receive possible harms and avoid the requirement of a repeated procedure.
During the procedure, a child is always accompanied by a responsible adult. In case you are accompanying the child for the procedure, you may be told to wear a lead apron for shielding yourself from unwanted radiation exposure.
Subsequent to the X-ray
After performing the X-ray procedure, you are usually allowed to resume routinely activities. Usual X-rays do not cause any side effects. Nonetheless, in case a contrast medium is introduced before doing the X-ray, you are advised to drink enough liquids for ridding it from your body after the procedure. Consult your doctor in case you confront any swelling, redness or pain at the place of injection and seek her or his help on the possible symptoms or signs to care about.
X-rays are electronically saved on computers, which may be seen on the computer screen within practically no time. A radiologist usually reads (views) and construe the meanings for sending the results to your doctor. In case of an emergency, the outcome of X-ray is made available to your treating doctor within minutes.