An X-ray uses a small amount of radiation to make images of your bones and internal organs. X-rays are most often used to detect bone or joint problems, or to check the heart and lungs (chest X-ray).
They are also used to check for calcifications in your body, such as renal stones. You may also have an X-ray to check for problems in the bowel such as an obstruction or free air in the abdomen. X-rays are also used to look for a foreign body, such as metal. This can be from trauma or a swallowed object.
Things to be aware of
Tell the technologist if you:
- Are or may be pregnant
- Have had an X-ray of this part of your body before
- Have metal in the part of your body being imaged
Before your test
Here is what to expect before the test:
- You may be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, or garments with metal closures from the part of your body being imaged. These items can block part of the image.
- You may be asked to put on a gown.
- You may be asked about your overall health or any medicines you take.
During your test
Here is what to expect during the test:
- You will be asked to lie on a table, sit, or stand.
- A lead apron may be draped over part of your body to shield it from the X-rays.
- With an X-ray of your chest or belly, you may have to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.
- Each exam usually needs at least 2 X-rays. You may need to move your body before each new X-ray.