What is an X-Ray?

An X-ray is an image created using digital detectors to diagnose disease and injury. During a medical testing procedure, an machine is used to take pictures of the body. The X-rays pass through various parts of the body to produce images of tissues, organs and bones.

What to Expect During an X-Ray

A procedure may take only a few minutes for a bone X-ray, or more than an hour for more-involved procedures, such as those using a contrast medium.

  • You will be positioned on the exam table in order to obtain the necessary views. Pillows may be used to help you hold the proper position.
  • You will need to stay still when you are having an X-ray. Motion can cause blurry images. You may be asked to hold your breath or not move for a second or two when they image is being taken.
  • A contrast medium may be administered before some procedures to help outline a specific area of your body on the X-ray image.

Preparing for an X-Ray

  • Before the X-ray, tell your physician if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or if you have an IUD inserted.
  • You may be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects that may obscure the X-ray image. Metal can cause unclear images.
  • You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.
  • You may be asked to wear a lead apron.
  • How the X-ray is performed depends on the specific type of imaging procedure chosen by your physician.