X-rays or X-radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Since the year 1895, when a German professor named Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays, these have been used extensively in the field of medicine to look inside the body without cutting through it. An X-ray machine is a device that transmits X-rays through the body, and helps create and document images on a film or computer.
X-ray procedure is a very common medical imaging technique. It is usually recommended to identify the underlying cause of pain, track disease progression or monitor the effectiveness of treatment. X-rays are blocked by your bones but pass easily through the rest of your body, hence X-rays are widely used to find bony abnormalities such as fractures in the body. Some of the other conditions that may warrant an X-ray study include arthritis, osteoporosis, infections, dental problems, infections, swallowed items and abnormalities in the lungs or chest.
No special preparation is required for most routine X-ray procedures. Certain X-ray techniques such as barium enema or contrast radiography will require you to follow specific instructions, which will be given to you by your doctor depending on your condition. In order help your doctor better visualize the images, you may receive an injection of contrast material. Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies, have any underlying medical conditions, or have had any previous implants/surgeries before your X-ray procedure. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or suspect pregnancy. Wear comfortable cloths while going for your procedure and remove any metal objects such as jewellery.
An X-ray procedure usually begins with proper patient positioning. Your doctor or a technician will either make you sit, stand or lie on a special bed and position you in a suitable way to get the best quality X-ray images. He/she may then cover your adjacent body parts that are not being imaged with a lead apron to prevent radiation exposure. You will be instructed not to move, since any movement could affect image quality. The technician will then move the X-ray machine over the problem area in your body. The machine will capture several x-ray images, which will be either saved in a computer or printed on film. The X-ray procedure is deemed complete once your technician is satisfied with the images and you may return to your normal activities after the procedure. Your doctor will review and explain the meaning of your X-ray result usually on the same day.