Everyone has heard of X-rays, as X-ray imaging has been used for decades to detect certain issues or abnormalities in an individual’s body. But despite its wide use, not many are aware of how beneficial X-ray procedures really are. If you are set to undergo an X-ray, it pays to know more about its purpose. Here’s your essential guide to X-rays and their purpose.
What is it?
An X-ray is essentially an imaging procedure or method which can help physicians and specialists view a person’s internal organs without the need to have an invasive procedure. X-rays help diagnose, treat, and monitor a range of medical issues and conditions.
There are different kinds of X-rays which are used for various purposes. A specialist, for instance, can recommend a mammogram for women in order to examine the breasts. Another X-ray procedure using a barium enema can also be recommended in order to get a closer look at a person’s gastrointestinal organs.
The purposes of an X-ray
X-rays are performed for a number of reasons. Physicians may ask for an X-ray procedure for the examination of a specific area which is uncomfortable or painful. It can also be recommended for the monitoring of a disease like osteoporosis, and X-rays can also check and assess how a person is responding to a specific medical treatment.
There are certain conditions which may require an X-ray, and these include bone cancer, an enlarged heart, tumours in the breast, blood vessels which are blocked, problems with digestion, lung conditions, infections, arthritis, fractures, tooth decay, and so on.
Preparation for X-rays
Preparing for an X-ray is relatively simple, as it has long been considered a standard medical procedure, as the experts in a private X-ray centre in London such as Alliance Medical will tell you. In most cases, there are no special preparations necessary, but based on the area which will be examined, it may be better to wear loose and comfortable clothes, or you may be asked to wear a hospital gown. Jewellery and other objects made of metal should also be removed.
If you have any implants made of metal, you should inform the radiologist beforehand, as the implants can impede the X-rays and prevent them from producing a clearer image. In particular cases, you may also be required to take a dye or a so-called ‘contrast material’ (often containing barium or iodine compounds) which can improve the clarity and quality of X-ray images. The ‘contrast material’ can be given in liquid form, injected, or given as an enema, depending on the purpose of the X-ray.
There are some specific X-rays which may require fasting beforehand. X-rays have long proven their merit, although it’s best to go with an X-ray specialist which can provide you with the precise results you require.