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What is an X-ray?

An X-ray (radiograph) is a test that doctors use to diagnose their patients’ medical conditions. It’s the oldest and most common form of imaging test.

The X-ray procedure is painless and quick. It involves exposing the area of your body requiring investigation to a very small dose of ionizing radiation. The radiation passes through most objects, including human tissues, but some parts of your body absorb it differently from others.

Dense bone absorbs a lot of radiation, while soft tissues like fat, muscle, and organs allow more radiation to pass through them. Because of these different absorption rates, bones are white on an X-ray, and soft tissues show up in shades of gray. Air appears black.

Why would I need an X-ray?

X-rays have many uses. At Advanced Diagnostics and Imaging, they frequently use X-rays to diagnose pneumonia, heart failure, emphysema, and lung tumors. An X-ray is typically the first procedure doctors use to evaluate abdominal pain from a bowel obstruction or kidney stones.

X-rays are invaluable for conditions affecting the bones and joints, including arthritis and dislocated joints. Orthopedic surgeons use X-rays to evaluate fractures and plan the patient’s treatment. They also use them as a guide when performing open (manual) and closed (surgical) reduction to realign the broken bones.

In addition, X-rays are useful for assessing how well you’re responding to treatment and how a fracture or other injury is healing.

How is an X-ray performed?

A standard X-ray is a straightforward, painless procedure. The technologist at Advanced Diagnostics and Imaging positions you so the area needing the X-ray is between the plates used to capture the images.

You need to be in close contact with the plates, hold your breath, and keep still to ensure the image is clear. Most X-ray procedures take about 10-15 minutes.

What other uses do X-rays have?

In addition to regular X-rays, Advanced Diagnostics and Imaging performs specialized breast X-rays for cancer screening and diagnosis. X-rays also perform an essential function in CT (computed tomography) scanners.

Another kind of study that uses X-rays is fluoroscopy. A fluoroscope consists of an X-ray machine and a fluorescent screen that enables your provider to view your internal organs. Fluoroscopy is particularly useful for diagnosing digestive tract, kidney, and gallbladder problems. A fluoroscopy exam typically lasts 10-15 minutes.

To find out more about the many uses of X-rays, call Advanced Diagnostics and Imaging today. You can also book an appointment using the online form.