X-ray imaging is a common diagnostic procedure that helps medical professionals examine the body’s internal structures. If you’re scheduled for an X-ray, it’s essential to understand the process and its risks. In this article, our Newcastle team will provide you with valuable information about X-rays and their uses. We will also discuss the potential risks and the precautions you can take to mitigate these risks.
What Are X-rays And How Do They Work?
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation (similar in many ways to visible light, radio waves and microwaves). During an X-ray procedure, the machine produces a beam that penetrates through the human body and creates an image which is then captured on a digital detector on the other side. As different body tissues absorb X-rays differently, the resulting image can clearly depict bones, organs and other internal structures.
What Are The Uses Of X-rays?
X-rays serve various diagnostic purposes, including:
- Examining bones: X-rays are commonly used to detect fractures, dislocations and infections in bones.
- Inspecting joints: Medical professionals can use X-rays to evaluate joint conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis.
- Investigating chest issues: X-rays can reveal lung infections, heart enlargement or fluid accumulation in the chest cavity.
- Detecting foreign objects: X-rays can help locate foreign objects, such as swallowed items and other foreign bodies.
- Screening for cancer: X-rays can detect abnormal masses, such as tumours, in different parts of the body.
What Are The Risks Of X-rays?
While X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool, there are a couple of associated risks, namely radiation exposure and risks to pregnancy. X-rays expose patients to a small dose of ionising radiation, which may slightly increase the risk of developing cancer. It should be noted that this risk is minimal and the benefits of accurate diagnosis generally outweigh this risk. If possible, pregnant women should avoid X-rays, as radiation exposure can harm the developing foetus. Always inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
What Precautions Should Be Taken To Minimise Risks?
- Inform your healthcare provider of your medical history: Share your medical history, including any previous X-ray examinations, with your healthcare provider. This will prevent unnecessary duplicate X-rays being conducted on the same body part.
- Wear appropriate clothing: Remove any metal objects, such as jewellery, as they can interfere with the X-ray image. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown during the procedure to further mitigate any risks.
- Follow instructions: Carefully follow your healthcare provider’s instructions during the X-ray examination to ensure accurate results and minimise radiation exposure.
Got An Upcoming X-ray?
At In Focus Radiology, we understand that having an X-ray can be a source of anxiety for some patients. Our team of compassionate radiologists and X-ray technicians have been providing safe and accurate radiology services to patients across Newcastle for many years. If you have any questions about your upcoming X-ray, please feel free to reach out to our friendly staff. We’re more than happy to address your concerns and guide you through the process.