X-ray is a form of imaging that uses a small amount of radiation and a camera-like device to document conditions inside the body. It is a fast and easy way for physicians to view and assess conditions ranging from broken bones, to pneumonia, to cancer.

The image, or an X-ray film, is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through the body to expose sensitive film on the other side. The ability of X-rays to penetrate tissues and bones depends on the tissue's composition and mass. The difference between these two elements creates the images.

Who is it for?

X-rays are safe and effective for people of all ages, even young children. X-rays are particularly useful for examining the chest, bones, joints and abdomen. However, if you're pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, inform your doctor before having an X-ray. Though the risk of most diagnostic X-rays to an unborn baby is small, your doctor may prefer to wait or to use another imaging test such as ultrasound.

The Procedure

As you lie on a table, sit or stand between the X-ray machine and the X-ray film or plate, the technologist will position your body to obtain the necessary views. He or she may use pillows or sandbags to help you hold the proper position. The technologist then aims the machine at the area of your body that needs examination. An X-ray machine produces an X-ray beam using a tube that is carefully aimed and focused on the body part being examined. The machine produces a tiny burst of radiation, at a safe level, that passes through your body and records an image on film or on a specialized plate.

Before some types of X-rays you're given a liquid called contrast medium, or a dye. Contrast agents such as barium and iodine are injected, and can help outline a specific area of your body on X-ray film. In some cases, the contrast agent is swallowed and used to highlight the esophagus, stomach and intestinal tract.

After the Procedure

After an X-ray, you generally can resume normal activities. Routine X-rays usually have no side effects. However, if you receive an injection of contrast medium before your X-rays, call your doctor if you experience pain, swelling or redness at the injection site. Ask your doctor about other signs and symptoms to watch for pertaining to your specific X-ray procedure.


At Wilson, X-rays are recorded digitally. They can be viewed on-screen with our state-of-the-art Picture Archive Communication System (PACS) within minutes. A radiologist typically views and interprets the results and sends a report to your doctor, who then explains the results to you. In an emergency, your X-ray results can be made available to your doctor in minutes.

Possible Risks

The amount of radiation you are exposed to during an X-ray is so small that the risk of any damage to cells in your body is extremely low. For most X-ray examinations, the benefits of a medically indicated examination are thought to greatly outweigh the small risk. Great care is taken to use the lowest radiation dose possible to produce the best images for the radiologist to evaluate. No radiation remains after an X-ray examination.

For more information about X-Ray services, please call (937) 498-5336.