X-rays are a form of radiation that can pass through your body. Once it is aimed at the part of the body being examined, an x-ray machine produces a small amount of radiation that passes through the body, creating an image on the film placed underneath or behind the patient.

X-rays interact differently with different parts of the body. Bone absorbs much of the radiation while soft tissue, such as muscle, fat and organs, allow more of the x-rays to pass through them. As a result, bones appear white on the x-ray, soft tissue shows up in shades of gray, and air appears black.

Following the exam, no radiation will stay in your body. X-rays are used for a variety of reasons including diagnosis of broken bones, joint dislocation, infection, arthritis or other changes in your bones, and are sometimes used to locate foreign objects.

What to expect when coming in for an x-ray

1. Although most x-rays require no special preparations, you may be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry that might interfere with the exam. In this case, you will be provided with a gown to wear during the exam.

2. X-ray exams usually consist of 2-3 images per body part, depeneding on the doctor’s orders.

3. You may experience discomfort in holding some positions that are necessary to complete the exam, especially if you are injured.

4. The Imaging Department will send your digital images to the ordering doctor and also to a radiogist who will develop a report of the findings.