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X-rays are forms of radiant energy, like light or radio waves. Unlike light, x-rays can penetrate the body, which allows a radiologist to produce pictures of internal structures. The radiologist can view these on photographic film or a computer monitor.
X-ray examinations provide valuable information about your health and play an important role in helping your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases x-rays are used to assist with the placement of tubes or other devices in the body or with other therapeutic procedures. The technologist performing your x-ray will be a licensed certified Radiologic Technologist.
X-ray procedures are only performed under a doctor’s written order.
As with other medical procedures, x-rays are safe when used with care. Radiologists and x-ray technologists have been trained to use the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain the needed results. The amount of radiation used in most examinations is very small and the benefits greatly outweigh the risk of harm.
X-rays are produced only when a switch is momentarily turned on. As with visible light, no radiation remains after the switch is turned off.
Pregnancy and X-rays
As with any aspect of medical care, knowing that a patient is or could be pregnant is important information. Pregnancy, for example, might explain certain symptoms or medical findings. When a pregnant patient needs an x-ray the technologist and Radiologist will consult for the safest procedure and lowest dose possible.