An X-ray is an image created using digital detectors to diagnose disease and injury. During a medical testing procedure, a machine is used to take pictures of the body. The X-ray passes through various parts of the body to produce images of tissues, organs and bones.

What to expect during an X-ray

A procedure may take only a few minutes for a bone X-ray, but may take longer for a more involved procedure.

You will be positioned on the exam table in order to get the necessary views. Pillows may be used to help you hold the proper position. You will need to stay still when you are having an X-ray because motion can cause blurry images. You may be asked to hold your breath or not move for a second or two when the image is being taken.

A contrast medium may be administered before some procedures to help outline a specific area of your body on the X-ray image.

Preparing for an X-ray

How the X-ray is performed depends on the specific type of imaging procedure chosen by your physician, but typically, here’s how to prepare:

Before the X-ray, tell your physician if you are pregnant, may be pregnant or if you have an IUD. You may eat and drink prior to the exam. Please take any medications you may currently be taking.

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown or a lead apron (so as to limit exposure) to wear during the procedure. Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.