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.


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


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


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


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


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

What can I expect?


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.


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


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


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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