An X-ray is a quick test that produces images of the compositional structures inside our body. It is often used to check for problems such as pneumonia or broken bones. The good news is that if you need an X-ray, there is usually almost nothing you need to do to prepare for it. X-ray beams pass through your body painlessly, and are then absorbed in different amounts, depending on the density of the material they pass through. For example, because bones are denser than fat, bones show up white, while fat will appear as gray on the X-ray film.
In some tests, a contrast medium such as magnesium citrate prep, iodine, or barium will need to be introduced into your body to provide greater details on the images. Your doctor will give you instructions, especially if you are scheduled for an IVP X-Ray, in which case you will need the contrast medium to help you prepare for an X-ray. Even so, if you are nervous or have questions, it is always good to ask the doctor or technician as soon as possible.
Some things you can do to prepare for an X-ray include:
- Talking to your doctor before the procedure. If you think you may be pregnant or you are currently breastfeeding, it is important to talk to your doctor. Even though small amounts of radiation can be harmless to an adult, it can be dangerous for the developing fetus. Your doctor may decide to utilize another imaging test in order to avoid radiation. Your doctor also needs to know if you have ever had an X-ray on that part of the anatomy before, of if you have any metal in your body in the area to be imaged.
- Fasting. Ask your doctor if you need to fast before the X-ray. Depending on the type of test you receive, it may be necessary, especially for imaging of your digestive tract. This usually requires you to not eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours before your X-ray. If you have to take medication during the fast, take them with only a small sip of water.
- Leave your jewelry at home. You will be asked to remove all jewelry before the test, so it is best to just leave it at home. If you have glasses, these will need to be removed as well.
- Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Clothing needs to be loose fitting and easily removed, and a front-clasping bra if one is worn.
- Go to the bathroom. It’s not something the doctors will tell you, however, you do need to be still for some time. Make sure your bladder is empty.
Knowing what to expect, helps to make preparing for an X-ray easy. Talk to your doctor after the imaging has been reviewed, so they can explain the results and where to go from there. To learn more about digital X-rays and other forms of diagnostic imaging, call Independent Imaging in Wellington, FL at (561) 795-5558 to request an appointment, or request one online.