X-Ray Services

An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body, particularly of your bones and lungs.

X-ray beams can pass thru your body, but the are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they are passing through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up white on X-rays. The air in you lungs shows up as black. Fat and muscles appear as varying shades of gray.

X-ray technology is used to examine many different parts of the body.


In most cases, fractures and infections in the bone show up clearly on X-rays.


Chest X-rays are done to look for lung infections or other lung condition such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, COPD, lung cancerand a collapsed lung. Chest X-rays can also visualize enlarged hearts which could be a sign of congestive heart failure.


Abdominal X-rays can visualize digestive tract problems, or enlarged organs. Also if your child has swallowed something like a coin, an abdominal X-ray can also show the location of the object.

Radiation exposure:

Many people worry about the radiation exposure they are getting, and they worry that X-rays are not safe because radiation can cause cell mutations that could lead to cancer. But the amount of radiation you are exposed to during an X-ray is so small that the risk of any damage to any cell in you body are extremely low.

However, if you are pregnant or suspect that you might be, please notify your doctor before having than X-ray. Though the risk of most diagnostic X-rays to an unborn baby is small, you doctor may consider another test such as an ultrasound.

What to wear:

In general, you will need to undress whatever part of the body needs examining. You may wear a gown to cover yourself during the exam, depending on which area of the body is being imaged. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that may obscure the X-ray image.

During the X-ray

A technologist will position your body to obtain the necessary views. He or she may use sandbags or sponges to help you hold the proper positions. During the x-ray exposure, you will need to remain still and hold your breath to avoid moving, which can cause your image to blur.

If a young child is having an X-ray, restraints or a pig-o-stat wich is a device to immobilize the child, may be used to keep them still. These will not hurt your child and will prevent the need for a repeat procedure, which may be necessary if the child moves during the X-Ray exposure. You may be allowed to remain with your child during the exam. If so, you are typically asked to wear a lead apron to shield you from unnecessary X-ray exposure.

After the X-ray you can resume normal activities.


X-Rays are saved digitally on computers. Digital images can be viewed on screen within minutes of completing the exam. The Radiologist will view and interpret the results and will send a final report to your doctor, who will then explain the results to you.

Thursday the 13th. Copyright 2012, Three Rivers Hospital