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X-rays: Fast, Easy, and Painless!

X-ray imaging is the fastest and easiest way for a doctor to view and assess broken bones such as skull fractures and spine injuries. X-rays also play a key role in guiding orthopedic surgery and in the treatment of sports-related injuries.

How does the exam work?

Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce a picture of the internal organs.

How should I prepare for the exam?

There is no special preparation required for most bone X-rays. Once you arrive, you may be asked to change into a gown before your exam. You will also be asked to remove jewelry, glasses and any metal objects that could show up on the pictures and overlap key findings.

Tell your doctor or X-ray technologist if there is any chance that you may be pregnant.

How is the exam performed?

The X-ray technologist will place you on the exam table, and will place a film holder (cassette) under the table in the area of your body to be imaged. Sandbags or pillows may help you hold the proper position and you will be asked to hold very still for a few seconds. The machine is turned on, sending a beam of X-rays through your body to expose the film. The technologist will then reposition you for another view, and repeat the process. You will be asked to wait until the technologist checks the pictures for quality.

What will I feel during the exam?

X-ray exams are painless. Sometimes, to get a clear image of an injury such as a likely fracture, you may be asked to hold an uncomfortable position for a short time. Any movement could blur the picture and make it necessary to repeat the exam.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A radiologist is a doctor skilled in bone X-ray and all other types of radiology exams. The radiologist will review your results, but will not discuss the results with you. Based on the findings, you and your primary care doctor will decide the next step.