X-Ray, also known as plain radiography, is the oldest diagnostic imaging procedure, and remains one of the most effective for its range of diagnostic applications. It uses small amounts of radiation that pass through the selected part of the body and is often used to evaluate the chest and skeletal system.
X-Rays are performed at all seven (7) SDMI locations on a walk-in basis. No appointment is needed. You will need to bring your physician referral with you. Click here for a list of our locations.
X-ray can evaluate abnormalities in the chest including pneumonia, fluid surrounding the heart and pulmonary embolism; the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts for detection of everything from blockages and stones to ulcers and tumors; and the skeletal system when bone or joint injuries or disease are suspected.
The X-ray is the longest running and oldest diagnostic procedure that is still in used today, as it remains one of the most effective in its range of diagnostic applications. X-rays are also referred to as plain radiography.
X-rays are said to have been discovered in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen (who also coined the phrase “X-ray”, signifying an unknown quantity).
X-rays are made up of an electromagnetic wave of high energy and a very short wavelength, which can be used to pass through several types of materials that are opaque to light. Based off the density of the material they pass through, X-rays are absorbed in different sets of amounts. On the electromagnetic spectrum, X-rays range between ultraviolet radiation and gamma radiation. X-rays use small amounts of radiation that pass through the selected part of the body most commonly the chest region and skeletal system.
When initiated, the machine produces a small burst of radiation, and the image is then recorded on a specialized plate. The X-ray radiation cannot be felt as it passes through the body, and therefore provides no pain issues, making it a relatively safe procedure. In addition, X-rays are regularly monitored and regulated to ensure that the patient only gets a minimum amount of radiation during the procedure. Different types of X-rays require different forms of preparation. Because of this, X-rays can be used on small children in case of injury or illness, though their bodies are more susceptible to any risk of radiation.
The general preparation is very simple, once the patient gets to the exam, is wearing a standard dressing gown (depending on what area is being X-rayed) In some cases, metallic objects such as jewelry, glasses, or watches may need to be removed, as they may interfere with the scan and show up in the results.
The technologist will help the patient maintain the necessary procedure to record the imaging, and in some cases, the patient may need to hold their breath while the testing is being performed to provide a clearer image. In other cases, the patient may be required to wear a lead apron to diminish the amount of radiation. Bone X-rays may only last a few minutes, though in more complicated cases, procedures can last over an hour.
Once the X-ray is complete, the patient can resume their normal level of activity without side effects. There may also be some slight discomfort depending on the positioning necessary to take the X-ray.
The results of modern X-rays are saved digitally on computers, which can be viewed in minutes. A radiologist will examine the results and report back to the doctor for patient explanation. In emergency cases, X-rays can be available in minutes if necessary. X-rays are performed at all seven SDMI locations.