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General Radiology (X-ray)

An X-ray (radiology exam) is a medical test that produces images (pictures) of a part of a body. These images help doctors diagnose health conditions. Routine radiology exams include x-rays of the chest, abdomen, spine, sinuses, skull, and extremities. Some x-ray exams may use an iodine-based contrast material or barium to help improve the visibility of specific organs, blood vessels, tissues or bone. When contrast or barium are used, these exams are done under fluoroscopy.

Radiologists and radiologic technologists are specifically trained to use the minimum amount of X-rays needed to produce a diagnostic image. These experts understand how to image both adults and children safely.

How to Prepare

Most x-rays require no special preparation.

You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear radiology attire during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.

Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

What to Expect

Depending on the area of interest, you may be placed on the X-ray table or the exam may be done standing. Various X-rays may be taken at different angles to best visualize the area. The duration of the exam ranges from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of X-ray or number of images ordered by your doctor. Barium and contrast studies, may take from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

After the Procedure

When the examination is complete, you may be asked to dress and wait while the images are reviewed.

A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring doctor. You will receive your results from the doctor who ordered the test.

Types of X-ray Exams:

  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Sinuses
  • Skull
  • Extremities
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