Questions You May Have Before Your First X-Ray

Most people have X-rays numerous times in their lives in order to diagnose ailments like broken bones and respiratory conditions. However, if you have somehow managed not to need an X-ray prior to adulthood, you may feel a little "in the the dark" about your upcoming imaging appointment. Having your questions answered will help. Hopefully you find the answers you are seeking below.

Are X-rays safe?

Yes, X-rays are safe. Today, X-ray machines use a much lower dose of radiation than they used even a decade ago. While being exposed to large amounts of this radiation over time can cause damage to the body's tissues, you would have to undergo hundreds of X-rays in order to suffer any measurable amount of damage, and almost nobody has this many. Your X-ray tech will also have you cover the most sensitive parts of your body, like your thyroid gland, with a lead blanket to prevent radiation damage to these organs.

Will the X-ray hurt?

You won't feel a thing during the procedure. You will also only need to hold the body part being X-rayed still for a few seconds, unlike with an MRI or CT scan, which requires you to hold still for much longer. 

Do you have to prep for the X-ray?

You should not have to prepare in any way for the X-ray. Your doctor should not have to ask you to fast, take any medications, or change your medication routine before the procedure. When you are asked to do these things before other imaging appointments, it is often to ensure your digestive tract can be seen clearly, but X-rays are typically used to see the skeleton and lungs, which do not change as you fast or change your diet.

How long will it take to get your results?

This depends on where the radiology center is located and why you are getting X-rays. Usually, the X-ray technicians will read your X-ray immediately and give you some basic details. However, you will then need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to go over the images together in more depth and discuss how they affect your diagnosis and treatment plan. 

If you have more questions about X-rays, do not hesitate to ask your doctor. But rest assured — from a patient's perspective, this is probably the most straightforward and least demanding imaging technique you can undergo.

To learn more, contact a resource like Elkview General Hospital.