X-ray Radiography - Definition, Purpose, Preparation, Procedures, and Results
What is an X-ray Radiography?
X-radiations, often abbreviated as x-rays, is a type of imaging diagnostic procedure that uses electromagnetic radiation. It was aptly named x-ray because when it was discovered, it was a particularly unknown form of radiation.
The x-ray has been around for a long time and has helped numerous doctors in viewing the insides of a person’s body without ever having to make an incision. An x-ray is used to help doctors diagnose, monitor and treat many medical conditions.
What are the purposes of an X-ray Radiography?
An x-ray is used in many diagnostic procedures and can be used for different purposes. An example would be using a mammogram test in order to examine your breasts. An x-ray can also be used to take a look at your gastrointestinal tract with the use of a barium enema.
Some of the many purposes an x-ray serves are the following:
- Monitor - an x-ray can be used to monitor a certain condition’s progression, such as in the case of bone-related conditions. Examples include osteoporosis, arthritis, fractures, and spinal problems.
- Examination - an x-ray can also be used to take a closer look at an area of your body where you are experiencing discomfort or pain. These symptoms and sensations can be an indicator of another underlying condition that requires an x-ray in order to be diagnosed.
- Check the progress of a treatment - an x-ray is also sometimes used to check how well a treatment is working on a person.
How do you Prepare for an X-ray Radiography Test?
X-rays are considered a standard medical procedure in the medical field, and chances are, you won’t really need to make special preparations whenever you undergo one. However, it is better that you wear loose fitting and comfortable clothes. This is because what generally happens during an x-ray is you undress the part of your body that needs to undergo an x-ray. You may be encouraged by your attending radiologist to wear a hospital gown during an x-ray.
Do not wear too much jewelry and any metal objects before undergoing an x-ray radiography examination, as you will still be asked to take them off anyways. This is because metal objects tend to show up on an x-ray.
For x-rays that have the goal of examining your gastrointestinal tract, the attending physician or radiologist may ask that you undergo fasting for a certain amount of time before undergoing the procedure. Fasting involves avoiding eating and drinking anything before the procedure. Some doctors forgo the fasting part and actually prescribe you medications that will clear out your bowels (laxatives).
Different types of x-ray radiography examinations will require you to prepare differently. It is better to consult your doctor or nurse or give them a call ahead to see what preparations you can make before undergoing one. Another reminder, make sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant whenever you plan to undergo an x-ray examination so that he/she can suggest another imaging test such as an MRI or a CT scan.
What are the Procedures done when undergoing an X-ray Radiography Test?
Unlike other imaging tests such as MRI and CT scan, an x-ray usually doesn’t require a patient to lie down most of the time. What happens during an x-ray is that the corresponding technician or sometimes a radiologist will tell you how to position your body in order to get proper and clear images of the affected body part. This involves sitting, standing and lying in several positions during the procedure.
It is important that you stay completely still, especially when images are being taken over the affected body part by a specialized plate that contains x-ray sensors. This allows the resulting x-ray films to be clear and free of interference.
It is then up to the radiologist if he/she is satisfied with the images that are taken, then the procedure is finished.
What can I expect right after an X-ray Radiography Examination?
After an x-ray examination, you can then proceed to go on and resume your daily activities, as plain x-ray procedures will usually possess no side effects. In cases where you have been injected with a contrast medium, it is important to drink a lot of fluids to help your body get rid of it. If your body will show swelling and redness at the site of the injection, you should call your doctor immediately.
What results can I expect from an X-ray Radiography Examination?
A radiologist will usually interpret your test results and will relay the interpretation to the doctor, which will, in turn, explain the results to you. Depending on the severity of your condition, the doctor might advise you to rest while you wait for your results.