An x-ray examination is one of the most effective, and therefore, widely used methods of diagnosing and monitoring internal illnesses and injuries. The examination creates a two-dimensional representation of a person’s internal organs or bones, which aids greatly in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions. An x-ray is a non-invasive procedure in which a small percentage of ionising radiation is used to illuminate the problem area. Please advise the radiologist if you are, or think you may be pregnant, as an alternative test may be recommended.
x-rays are composed of ionising radiation, generated by an x-ray tube. Controlled by a shield and travelling down a narrow beam, the rays are directed toward the part of the body being examined. On the opposite side of the body, an x-ray film is positioned in the path of oncoming rays, “exposing” them. Then, the film is generated and a clear, two-dimensional image is produced. On the film, the areas which x-rays pass through the body easily will show up as black. Whereas, the areas in which x-rays do not pass through the body so easily will show up as white and various shades of grey.
There are two types of health professionals involved in x-ray examinations, they are: a radiographer (the person conducting the examination) and a radiologist (a medical specialist who interprets the x-ray images).
An x-ray is one of the most commonly used medical procedures. In fact, over 7 million general x-rays are performed in Australia annually. The main reasons for this are: the test is done quickly, it is one of the most efficient ways to diagnose and monitor the progress of various diseases and injuries, and there are minimal side effects.
Some of its main uses include:
- Diagnosing fractures – detecting broken bones is one of the most common reasons the test is performed.
- Diagnosis of dislocations – an x-ray will determine whether bones are abnormally positioned.
- Diagnosing heart conditions – this x-ray is referred to as an echocardiogram.
- Diagnosing chest conditions – detecting conditions such as: pneumonia, lung cancer and heart failure.
- Determining a course of dental treatment – dental x-rays are routinely taken to survey damage and monitor changes.
A typical x-ray procedure involves:
- Lying or standing on an examination table (depending on which body part is examined), a radiographer will place you between the x-ray machine and the imaging device which captures the x-rays.
- While each image is taken, the radiographer will man the controls from behind a screen, calling instructions to you as necessary.
- You may be asked to hold your breath as each image is taken so the motion does not blur the images.
- Depending on which part of the body is being examined, x-rays can last from a few minutes to half an hour.
- Our skilled and helpful radiographers will guide you at each step of the way should you require an x-ray at Iris Imagining.