X-Ray

X-ray examination is one of the most effective and widely used methods of diagnosing and monitoring internal illnesses and injuries.

The examination creates a two-dimensional representation of a person’s internal organs or bones, which greatly aids in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions.

An x-ray is a non-invasive procedure in which a small percentage of ionising radiation is used to illuminate the problem area.

Important: Please advise the radiologist if you are, or think you may be pregnant, as an alternative test may be recommended.

How does X-ray work?

X-rays are composed of ionising radiation, generated by an x-ray tube. Controlled by a shield and travelling down a narrow beam, the rays are directed toward the part of the body being examined.

On the opposite side of the body, an x-ray film is positioned in the path of oncoming rays, ‘exposing’ them.

Then the film is generated and a clear two-dimensional image is produced.

On the film, the areas in which x-rays pass through the body easily will show up as black. Whereas, the areas in which x-rays do not pass through the body so easily will show up as white and various shades of grey.

There are two types of health professionals involved in x-ray examinations: a Radiographer (the person conducting the examination) and a Radiologist (a medical specialist who interprets the x-ray images). 

What can X-ray diagnose?

An x-ray is one of the most commonly used medical procedures. More than seven million general x-rays are performed in Australia annually.

This is because the test is done quickly, it is one of the most efficient ways to diagnose & monitor the progress of various diseases & injuries and there are minimal side effects.

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Fractures: detecting broken bones is one of the most common reasons the test is performed.

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Dislocations: an x-ray will determine whether bones are abnormally positioned.

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Heart conditions: this x-ray is referred to as an echocardiogram.

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Chest conditions: such as pneumonia, lung cancer and heart failure.

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Dental issues: dental x-rays are routinely taken to survey damage, monitor changes and determine required treatment.

What can I expect?

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You will be asked to lie or stand on an examination table (depending on which body part is examined). A radiographer will place you between the x-ray machine and the imaging device which captures the x-rays.

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While each image is taken, the radiographer will man the controls from behind a screen, calling instructions to you as necessary.

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You may be asked to hold your breath as each image is taken, so the motion does not blur the images.

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Depending on which part of the body is being examined, x-rays can last from a few minutes to half an hour.

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