Introduction to X-Ray
An X-Ray is a non-invasive, painless procedure used to image inside of the body, and to visualise the human skeleton.
What is an X-Ray?
An X-Ray is a non-invasive, painless procedure used to image inside of the body, and to visualise the human skeleton. X-rays travel through the body at different rates due to different parts of the body (e.g. bones, fat, soft issue) absorbing the radiation at different speeds, this allows an image of the body to be constructed. Denser parts of the body appear white whereas soft tissues such as the lungs appear dark. X-Rays are an extremely common investigation, and are used to visualise that which cannot be seen with the human eye, e.g. bone fractures, lung problems, heart problems, and certain types of cancer.
How is an X-Ray performed?
When receiving your x-ray, you may be required to lie on a table/stand against a flat surface. The whole procedure will only last a few minutes. They are not painful and you may be required to expose the area of your body being x-rayed.
How to prepare for an X-Ray?
An X-ray doesn’t require the patient to prepare in a particular manner. You can eat/drink as normal and no medications cause complications with the procedure. However if you are receiving a contrast to aid the X-ray, you may be required to follow certain rules which will be clarified with the radiographer or doctor in question. X-Rays are not recommended for pregnant women except in exceptional circumstances.
What happens after an X-Ray?
Patients are allowed to return to their usual activities straight after the procedure, as there are no associated side-effects. However, if you have taken a contrast agent (a substance that enhances the image produced by the x-ray) you may have some minor, temporary side-effects including changes in the colour of your stool, a rash, or nauseous. These are temporary effects but if they become problematic it is recommended you seek medical attention.