X-ray Test ยท Radiography

The Basics

An X-ray is an imaging test that uses radiation to create a picture of a body part. It is useful for looking at many conditions, such as:

  • head injuries
  • cancer
  • memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease
  • sleep disorders
  • brain surgery or inflammation
  • unconsciousness
  • brain death in coma patients
  • tooth damage or disease

The test is usually done at a hospital, at a doctor or dentist's office, or at a clinic by a trained health care professional.

Risks and precautions

An X-ray is usually a straightforward and safe procedure. Although X-rays use radiation to generate an image, the amount used is very small and the risk of developing cancer or other defects is low.

Tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant before having an X-ray because fetuses may be more sensitive to radiation exposure. Your doctor may recommend another test (such as an ultrasound) for you.

Before the test

No special preparation is necessary for an X-ray test. You may be asked to remove jewelry, glasses, or other metal objects that might interfere with the test.

If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications, supplements, or herbal products, make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist. Ask them whether it is necessary for you to stop taking any of these medications and products before the test. It is also important to tell them if you have allergies to certain medications or have certain medical conditions.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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