Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Ebola: what you should know
Health Library
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

X-ray
X-ray


X-ray
X-ray


Definition:

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light. In a health care setting, a machines sends are individual x-ray particles, called photons. These particles pass through the body. A computer or special film is used to record the images that are created.

Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white. Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white. Structures containing air will be black and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.



Alternative Names:

Radiography



How the test is performed:

The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technologist. The positioning of the patient, x-ray machine, and film depends on the type of study and area of interest. Multiple individual views may be requested.

Much like conventional photography, motion causes blurry images on radiographs, and thus, patients may be asked to hold their breath or not move during the brief exposure (about 1 second).



How to prepare for the test:

Inform the health care provider prior to the exam if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or have an IUD inserted.

If abdominal studies are planned and you have had a barium contrast study (such as a barium enema, upper GI series, or barium swallow) or taken medications containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) in the last 4 days, the test may be delayed until the contrast has fully passed.

You will remove all jewelry and wear a hospital gown during the x-ray examination because metal and certain clothing can obscure the images and require repeat studies.



How the test will feel:

There is no discomfort from x-ray exposure. Patients may be asked to stay still in awkward positions for a short period of time.



Why the test is performed:



Normal Values:



What abnormal results mean:



What the risks are:

For most conventional x-rays, the risk of cancer or defects due to damaged ovarian cells or sperm cells is very low. Most experts feel that this low risk is largely outweighed by the benefits of information gained from appropriate imaging. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image.

Young children and fetuses are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays. Women should tell health care providers if they think they are pregnant.

For additional information regarding why the test is performed and normal and abnormal results, please see the specific x-ray topics:



Special considerations:



References:

Mettler FA. Introduction: an approach to image interpretation. In: Mettler FA, ed. Mettler: Essentials of Radiology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 1.




Review Date: 8/15/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100