An X-ray is an image of internal structures of the body which is produced by exposure to a controlled source of X-rays and stored on a special computer system. Despite all the development of more sophisticated forms of scanning, an X-ray examination remains one of the most accurate ways of detecting many clinical problems.
X-ray examinations are typically used for:
- Bones, teeth, bone fractures, and other abnormalities of bone.
- Joint spaces and some abnormalities of joints such as osteoarthritis.
- The size and shape of the heart.
- Changes in the density of some softer tissues.
- Collections of fluid - for example in the lung or gut.
X-ray examinations can be done as a simple outpatient procedure and you can go home straight afterwards.
There are risks associated with X-rays, but the exposure is kept to the minimum required to obtain an image of the area under investigation. However any female patient who is, or might be pregnant, must notify the Radiology Department in advance of their examination, and all patients should inform the Radiology Department if they have recently had an X-ray investigation.