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Can you look at an x-ray

X-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. X-ray imaging creates pictures of the inside of your body. The images show the parts of your body in different shades of black and white. This is because different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less and look gray.


SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: X-Ray Searching - Sourcing

5 Types Of X-Rays And How They Are Used

Bone x-ray uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of any bone in the body. It is commonly used to diagnose fractured bones or joint dislocation. Bone x-rays are the fastest and easiest way for your doctor to view and assess bone fractures, injuries and joint abnormalities. This exam requires little to no special preparation. Tell your doctor and the technologist if there is any possibility you are pregnant.

Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. An x-ray radiograph is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.

X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. A bone x-ray makes images of any bone in the body, including the hand, wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder, spine, pelvis, hip, thigh, knee, leg shin , ankle or foot. A bone x-ray is used to:. You will be asked to remove some of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye-glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.

Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby. See the Safety page for more information about pregnancy and x-rays. The equipment typically used for bone x-rays consists of an x-ray tube suspended over a table on which the patient lies.

A drawer under the table holds the x-ray film or image recording plate. Sometimes the x-ray is taken with the patient standing upright, as in cases of knee x-rays. A portable x-ray machine is a compact apparatus that can be taken to the patient in a hospital bed or the emergency room. The x-ray tube is connected to a flexible arm that is extended over the patient while an x-ray film holder or image recording plate is placed beneath the patient.

X-rays are a form of radiation like light or radio waves. X-rays pass through most objects, including the body. Once it is carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined, an x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through the body, recording an image on photographic film or a special detector.

Different parts of the body absorb the x-rays in varying degrees. Dense bone absorbs much of the radiation while soft tissue, such as muscle, fat and organs, allow more of the x-rays to pass through them. As a result, bones appear white on the x-ray, soft tissue shows up in shades of gray and air appears black. Most x-ray images are digital files that are stored electronically.

These stored images are easily accessible for diagnosis and disease management. The technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, positions the patient on the x-ray table and places the x-ray film holder or digital recording plate under the table in the area of the body being imaged.

When necessary, sandbags, pillows or other positioning devices will be used to help you maintain the proper position. A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic area or breasts when feasible to protect from radiation. You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room to activate the x-ray machine. You may be repositioned for another view and the process is repeated.

Two or three images from different angles will typically be taken. An x-ray may also be taken of the unaffected limb, or of a child's growth plate where new bone is forming , for comparison purposes. When the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.

You may experience discomfort from the cool temperature in the examination room. You may also find holding still in a particular position and lying on the hard examination table uncomfortable, especially if you are injured. The technologist will assist you in finding the most comfortable position possible that still ensures x-ray image quality.

A radiologist , a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician , who will discuss the results with you. Follow-up exams may be needed. If so, your doctor will explain why. Sometimes a follow-up exam is done because a potential abnormality needs further evaluation with additional views or a special imaging technique.

A follow-up exam may also be done to see if there has been any change in an abnormality over time. Follow-up exams are sometimes the best way to see if treatment is working or if an abnormality is stable or has changed. Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation. National and international radiology protection organizations continually review and update the technique standards used by radiology professionals.

Modern x-ray systems have very controlled x-ray beams and dose control methods to minimize stray scatter radiation.

This ensures that those parts of a patient's body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure. While x-ray images are among the clearest, most detailed views of bone, they provide little information about muscles, tendons or joints. An MRI may be more useful in identifying bone and joint injuries e. MRI can also detect subtle or occult fractures or bone bruises also called bone contusions or microfractures not visible on x-ray images. CT is being used widely to assess trauma patients in emergency departments.

A CT scan can image complicated fractures, subtle fractures or dislocations. In elderly or patients with osteoporosis, a hip fracture may be clearly seen on a CT scan, while it may be barely seen, if at all, on a hip x-ray.

For suspected spine injury or other complicated injuries, 3-D reconstructed CT images can be made without additional radiation exposure to help the diagnosis and treatment of the individual patient's condition.

Ultrasound imaging, which uses sound waves instead of ionizing radiation to create diagnostic images, has also been useful for injuries around joints, and in evaluating the hips of children with congenital problems. Please type your comment or suggestion into the text box below. Note: we are unable to answer specific questions or offer individual medical advice or opinions. Some imaging tests and treatments have special pediatric considerations.

Please contact your physician with specific medical questions or for a referral to a radiologist or other physician. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database. This website does not provide cost information.

The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America RSNA and the American College of Radiology ACR , comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas.

Outside links: For the convenience of our users, RadiologyInfo. Toggle navigation. What is Bone X-ray Radiography? What are some common uses of the procedure? How should I prepare? What does the equipment look like? How does the procedure work? How is the procedure performed? What will I experience during and after the procedure? Who interprets the results and how do I get them? What are the benefits vs.

What are the limitations of Bone X-ray Radiography? Which test, procedure or treatment is best for me? A bone x-ray is used to: diagnose fractured bones or joint dislocation. Most bone x-rays require no special preparation. A bone x-ray examination is usually completed within five to 10 minutes. A bone x-ray examination itself is a painless procedure.

Benefits Bone x-rays are the fastest and easiest way for a physician to view and assess bone injuries, including fractures, and joint abnormalities, such as arthritis. X-ray equipment is relatively inexpensive and widely available in emergency rooms, physician offices, ambulatory care centers, nursing homes and other locations, making it convenient for both patients and physicians. Because x-ray imaging is fast and easy, it is particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment.

No radiation remains in a patient's body after an x-ray examination. X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam. Risks There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.

The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies. Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. See the Safety in X-ray, Interventional Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Procedures page for more information about pregnancy and x-rays.

A Word About Minimizing Radiation Exposure Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation. Send us your feedback Did you find the information you were looking for? Area code:.

Sure, Superman Has X-Ray Vision. But How Would It Actually Work?

Many people may need to have an X-ray or MRI done after an injury or illness. These techniques provide an accurate solution to giving a patient the correct diagnosis. They both are tools used to take images and see inside of the body. This give pictures to the doctor that allows them to look at tendons, muscles, and bones that they cannot normally see.

There are a huge number of conditions that would be much more difficult, if not impossible to diagnose without the use of X-rays and other imaging technologies. From a simple toothache to a condition as complex as breast cancer, physicians and patients both would be playing a guessing game without the invention of X-rays. Physicians are able to utilize various types of X-rays to see inside your body without resorting to an incision, and the benefits of properly administered diagnostic images far outweigh any risks.

In the list of your favorite things, getting an X-ray at the dentist's office may not rank high. Wearing that heavy apron and holding a sometimes uncomfortable device between your teeth for even a few seconds isn't much fun. But X-rays show dental providers a lot. X-rays help them see the condition of your teeth, roots, jaw placement and facial bone composition. They also help them find and treat dental problems early in their development.

Dental X-rays

X-rays and other radiographic tests help doctors look for cancer in different parts of the body including bones, and organs like the stomach and kidneys. Contrast studies may require more preparation ahead of time and may cause some discomfort and side effects, depending on what kind you are having. For names of contrast studies, see Table 1. Radiographs, most often called x-rays, produce shadow-like images of bones and certain organs and tissues. X-rays are very good at finding bone problems. Still, x-rays are fast, easy to get, and cost less than other scans, so they might be used to get information quickly. Mammograms breast x-rays are a form of radiographic tests. To learn more about them, see Mammogram Basics. Special types of x-ray tests called contrast studies use iodine-based dyes or contrast materials, like barium, along with the x-rays to make the organs show up on the x-ray and get better pictures. For instance, a lower gastrointestinal GI series, often called a barium enema exam, takes x-ray pictures after the bowel is filled with barium sulfate.

Patient’s Guide to Looking at an X-ray

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to visible light. Unlike light, however, x-rays have higher energy and can pass through most objects, including the body. Medical x-rays are used to generate images of tissues and structures inside the body. One type of x-ray detector is photographic film, but there are many other types of detectors that are used to produce digital images.

Bone x-ray uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of any bone in the body.

I always worry about cancer risks when I have -x-rays or airport screenings. Am I overreacting? We use a lot of x-rays in medicine and in other places like airports.

X-rays and Other Radiographic Tests for Cancer

Back to Health A to Z. They can't be seen by the naked eye and you can't feel them. A detector on the other side of the body picks up the X-rays after they've passed through and turns them into an image.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How X-rays see through your skin - Ge Wang

Governor Hogan announced that health care institutions in Maryland can start performing elective surgical cases in guidance with the State Department of Health. Learn what Johns Hopkins is doing. X-rays use invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film. Standard X-rays are performed for many reasons. These include diagnosing tumors or bone injuries.

X-ray (Radiography) - Bone

There is a reason Superman is called "super". He has super-strength and super-speed. He flies, and he is mostly indestructible. He can shoot laser-like things from his eyes. Finally, he has some type of X-ray vision. Although comic book scholars have debated Superman's vision before, let's consider how it could work.

An abdominal X-ray can help find the cause of many abdominal problems, such If you stay in the room while the X-ray is being done, you'll be asked to wear a The X-ray will be looked at by a radiologist (a doctor who's specially trained in.

An abdominal X-ray is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to make an image of a person's abdomen belly. During the examination, an X-ray machine sends a beam of radiation through the abdomen, and an image is recorded on special film or a computer. This image shows the stomach, liver, spleen, small and large intestines, and diaphragm. The X-ray image is black and white. Dense body parts that block the passage of the X-ray beam through the body, such as bones, appear white on the X-ray image.

X-Ray Exam: Abdomen

Patients, your care and safety are our top priorities. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment. Click here for more information. The following procedures are performed by our Interventional Radiology team at designated hospitals.


An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body — particularly your bones. X-ray beams pass through your body, and they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up as white on X-rays. The air in your lungs shows up as black.

This is an article from Curious Kids , a series for children.

Most of us know what the basic purpose of an X-ray is. In reality, X-rays can be used to detect and monitor conditions ranging all the way from a minor bone chip to advanced stages of cancer. This radiation can pass through the skin instantly, but is absorbed in different ways once it gets inside the body and starts contacting other objects. Bones or other thick materials contain the most density, and they appear white and opaque in an X-ray.

Ask the doctor: Should I worry about x-rays?



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