X-Ray or Bone Radiography, is very useful in helping your
physican to diagnose and treat broken bones. More advanced
cancers are often detectable in the bones through X-ray as
well. Sometimes X-ray can be used to monitor the progression
of arthritis or osteoporosis.
X-ray works by exposing a small dose of radiation to the
affected part of your body. When the x-rays enter your body,
they are absorbed in varying amounts by different types of
cells. Denser parts of the body absorb more of the radiation
and so the film shows lighter there. Soft organs will show
up as darker because they do not absorb as much radiation.
When you arrive for your X-Ray you will be asked some
questions about your medical history and you will sign some
papers giving us permission to perform this exam on you. You
must tell the technologist at this time if there is any
possibility that you might be pregnant. You might need to
change into a gown before your examination and you will have
to remove any metal objects such as jewelry or eyeglasses
that could interfere with the imaging.
During the X-Ray exam you will be positioned on a flat
table, perhaps with pillows to hold the affected parts of
your body in the right position. You will have to hold very
still and not breathe for a few seconds while the
technologist steps behind a shielded wall and starts the
X-ray. The x-ray itself is on for only a fraction of a
second. The exam is usually completely painless except that
you might have to hold an uncomfortable position for a few
The results of your x-ray will be read by one of our
radiologists. Then the radiologist will send a copy of the
report to your physician. At the time you are referred for
your x-ray, your physician will make arrangements with you
to give you your results.
The risks of x-ray are worthy of mention, if only to put you
at ease about them. Since x-rays use radiation, you should
not have x-ray examinations that are not medically
necessary. If you are pregnant, or if there is any chance
that you might be pregnant, we need to know this. You can
still have an x-ray, but we will use a special lead apron to
protect your fetus. We take special care to make sure that
you only get the dosage of radiation that we need in order
to get a good diagnostic picture. We use only high-speed
x-ray film and the most modern equipment with very
tightly-controlled beams and little stray radiation.
During a typical x-ray series, depending upon the area that
you are having x-rayed, you will be exposed to about 20
milliroentgens of radiation. As a comparison, in a year, we
are all exposed to 100 milliroentgens from natural sources
like sunlight and the earth itself.