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A guide for understanding X-Rays

What is an X-Ray?

X-Rays are a type of radiation. X-Rays create pictures in different shades of black, grey and white depending on the density of the tissues and the presence of air within the body. An X-Ray is a quick and safe procedure that is commonly used as a means of looking at the lungs, heart, abdomen and bones.

How is an X-Ray performed?

Some X-Rays are performed in the standing position and others are taken lying down. The person undergoing the process stays awake during the procedure.

The part of your body to be examined will need to be exposed but the rest of you will be covered. You will be placed between an X-Ray tube and an X-Ray cassette and asked to lie still whilst the X-Ray is taken. To prevent movement and improve the quality of pictures, you may also be asked to hold your breath. Sometimes a dye is injected or ingested to get a better outline of the internal organs.

How long does the procedure take?

Some X-Ray procedures take a short amount of time and others may take longer depending on the complexity of the examination and the number of X-Rays required.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

While X-Rays are themselves painless, in some instances, you may experience slight discomfort caused by the position you are required to be placed in during the examination. Though safe, X-Rays are basically a type of radiation and they are done only when necessary.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the X-Ray is done, the reports are sent to a Radiologist – a medical doctor specialized in interpreting medical images for the purpose of providing a diagnosis. S/he will then review the images and provide a formal written report.

Are there any activity restrictions regarding reports?

Once performed, you are requested to keep your X-Rays at home, stored in a flat position in a dry and cool place.

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