X-Ray Testing: Procedure, Results, Side Effects

X-Ray Testing

X-ray is the leading imaging test that has been used for years. The x-ray testing is essential because it helps the doctor see inside your body without incision.

The procedure enables the doctor to diagnose, monitor, and treat several medical ailments. X-rays come in different types, and each style has its purpose. For instance, the doctor may use a mammogram to examine your breast.

They might as well order an x-ray with a barium enema to help discuss your gastrointestinal tract. The x-ray testing involves several risks. However, for many people, the risks outweigh the risks. Ensure that you always talk to your doctor to see the proper test. Keep reading this post to determine what x-ray testing is all about.

Why Do an X-ray Testing?

The doctor might order the x-ray to;

  • Check the site where you feel discomfort
  • Regulate how the diagnosed ailment is progressing, like osteoporosis
  • See how well the prescribed treatment is progressing Ailments That Require X-ray Testing are;
  • The bone cancer
  • Breast tumors
  • Enlarged heart
  • Blocked vessels
  • Conditions affecting your lungs
  • Digestive issues
  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Tooth decay needs to retrieve swallowed objects

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X-ray Testing Preparations

These are standard procedures. You do not need to take specific steps to prepare for them. Based on the examination site, you might be required to wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can quickly move around. The doctor might request you to wear a hospital gown for the test. You might as well be asked to remove any jewelry or metallic things in your body before the x-ray is performed.

Suppose you have metallic implants in your body. Make sure to tell your doctor before then. The implants tend to block the x-ray from passing over your body and generating a clear image. Sometimes.

You might be required to take a contrast material or dye before the x-ray treatment. The substance helps in improving the quality of the photos. It might have iodine or barium compounds. Based on why the x-ray is being done, you might be given the contrast dye in separate ways, which include the following;

  • Through a liquid to swallow
  • It can be injected into your body
  • You can receive it as an enema before the test

Suppose the x-ray you are having is to examine your gastrointestinal tract. The doctor might first request you to fast for a specific time before the tests. You need to avoid eating anything during the fast.

You might well be asked to avoid or limit drinking in particular. Also, you might be asked to take some medications to clear out the bowels.

X-ray Procedure

The x-ray test is usually performed by a radiologist in a hospital radiology department, a dentist’s office, or a clinic for diagnostic procedures. After you are fully prepared, the technician or radiologist will instruct you on positioning your body to generate clear images. You might be requested to sit, lie or even stand in different positions during the tests.

The radiologist might ask you to stand in front of a specialized plate with x-ray film or sensors. Sometimes you might be asked to lie or sit on a specialized leaf and move a considerable camera connected to a steel arm via your body to capture the x-ray images. It is usually essential to stay still while x-rays are being done. This will help provide clear photos. The testing is done when the radiologist is okay with the images they gathered.

Potential Side Effects of X-ray

These tests use a small amount of radiation to generate images in your body. The level of these radiations is considered to be safe for many adults. However, it is not ideal for a developing baby. Suppose you are pregnant or believe you could be, inform your doctor before going for the test. They might tell you to go for different imaging techniques like MRI.

Suppose the x-ray test you are having is to diagnose a severe condition like a broken bone. You might experience some pain or discomfort during the tests. You might be needed to hold your body in specific positions when the trials are being done. This might result in some pain or discomfort, but the doctor may tell you to take painkillers before the treatment.

If you take a contrast material before this test, you might experience complications like:

  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • A metallic taste in your mouth

The dye can also cause severe reactions like anaphylactic shock, external blood pressure, or cardiac arrest, but this is in sporadic cases. Suppose you feel you are having severe reactions after x-rays, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.

The X-ray Results

The doctor will examine your x-ray results. The radiologist is a professional doctor who has received training in reading and understanding the outcome of x-ray imaging. The images are digital, and therefore the radiologist can see them in minutes in an emergency. If the tests are not agents, the radiologist may take a day or more to review and provide you with the outcome.

What X-rays Does Not Show

X-ray testing is the best way to check broken bones or rotten teeth. However, other imaging tests are the best if you have issues with the soft tissues part of your body, like the kidney, intestine, or brain.

The doctor may ask you to go for MRI other than an x-ray to diagnose injuries like ligament tear in the knee or torn rotator cuff in your shoulder. The MRI tests show minor fractures or bone bruises that the x-rays tend not to show.

The test is as well used to diagnose a broken hip. MRIs are ideal for diagnosing spine injuries because the doctor can see both the bone in your spine and the spinal cord.

The doctor may as well ask you to undergo a CT scan. These scans are well used in Emergency rooms to diagnose issues like head injuries, kidney stones, or the cause of abdominal pain or to diagnose a blood clot in the lungs, which is referred to as a pulmonary embolism.


After the x-ray testing, the doctor will advise you on how to go about your activities based on the diagnosis. The outcome will be out the same day or later. The doctor will have to review the tests and report from the radiologist to know how to continue.

Based on the outcome, you might be requested to undergo additional tests to get an accurate diagnosis. Ask your doctor for more details regarding your medical issue and treatment options.


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