X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can pass through the body to produce images of internal organs and bones. X-rays are the most common imaging test referred by doctors, yet for many the thought of having an X-ray leaves them with questions as to the procedure’s safety and accuracy. If you or a loved one has undergone X-ray testing, or the thought of getting X-rays leaves you feeling uncomfortable, don’t worry. Here are some things you ought to know about X-rays.
X-rays use electromagnetic waves
Traditional X-rays are conducted using an X-ray machine that beams electromagnetic waves through the body. As tissues and bones absorb or block the energy from X-rays, black and white shadowy images show up on a film sensor. The images are used to reveal signs of certain diseases or injuries such as bone fractures, dental abscesses, bone tumors, lung cancer, and breast cancer.
There is more than one kind of X-ray
Besides the traditional X-ray, there are a number of imaging techniques that may be classified as X-ray technology that you might not have ever considered as such. For example, a bone density scan is a simple, non-invasive procedure that is used to measure bone mass and assist in the diagnosis of osteoporosis in people over 50. The Computer Tomography – the CT scan –uses X-ray technology to create cross-sectional, unobstructed images of organs and other structures in the body. Mammograms too are kind of X-ray; they aid in early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases by using a low dose of X-ray to see inside the breast.
X-ray Imaging is Safe
Undergoing an X-Ray procedure is nothing like the Science Fiction movies of the 1950s; in fact modern imaging is a safe and important part of your diagnostic care. As a precaution, patients often wear lead-protective devices to lessen the exposure to radiation; that radiation does not remain in the body after the procedure and adverse reactions are extremely rare.
They are quick to perform
X-rays are quick and usually painless procedure and most X-rays are done in 15 minutes or less, unless you’re getting a contrast X-ray. You may be asked to lie on a hard metal table, or with mammograms, assume an uncomfortable position; know that the discomfort is only momentary but may be unavoidable to capture the most comprehensive image for a full and accurate diagnosis.
Pregnancy and X-rays
The majority of X-ray exams — including those of the arms, legs, head, teeth or chest — won’t expose your reproductive organs to radiation, and you will be wearing a leaded apron and collar just in case. Still, always inform your doctor or radiologist that you are or may be pregnant; if you have had a diagnostic X-ray before you knew you were pregnant, it is best to advise your health care provider as soon as possible, as pregnant women are advised against undergoing X-ray surgery to avoid exposing the unborn child to radiation.
X-rays are Useful Diagnostic Tools
X-rays are very useful diagnostic tools. Still, some patients are apprehensive to get an X-ray due to the misconception that they are not safe. In fact, such fears may actually prevent people from getting the imaging diagnosis they need to keep small health problems from turning into life-threatening illnesses. Remember, a radiologist and his practice must adhere to all medical community guidelines to ensure patients undergo safe imaging exams.
Palm Beach’s X-ray Specialists
If you reside in the Palm Beach County area, look no further than Independent Imaging to serve all your imaging diagnostic needs. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists have years of experience performing every kind of imaging – from fractured bones and bone density scans to MRIs, CT Scans and mammograms. If you have any questions about our imaging services please call (561) 795-5558 or use our secure online appointment request form for your appointment in in Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth, or Royal Palm Beach.