How Does An X Ray Work

How Does An X-Ray Work?

X-rays are a frequently prescribed type of medical imaging scan used to see inside the body to determine if an injury has occurred and to what extent. Doctors might also order an x-ray when trying to figure out why you don’t feel well. X-rays are a type of light ray, much like the visible light we see everyday. The difference between visible light and x-rays is the wavelength of the rays. Human eyes cannot see light with longer wavelengths, such as radio waves, or light with shorter wavelengths, such as x-rays.

There’s no doubt the x-ray machine is very useful to doctors. X-rays can pass through nonmetallic objects, including human tissues and organs. An x-ray machine is like a giant camera that allows doctors to see what is going on inside a patient without having to do surgery.

It took a long time for scientists to make the x-ray safe for medical use. Today’s x-ray machines produce a stream of electromagnetic radiation that interacts with an anode in an x-ray tube. The x-rays made by this interaction are then directed toward the part of the body being examined. To reduce radiation exposure, x-ray machines aim the x-rays at only the focus area.  

When x-rays come into contact with our body tissues, they produce an image on a metal film. Soft tissue, such as skin and organs, cannot absorb the high-energy rays, and the beam passes through them. Dense materials inside our bodies, like bones, absorb the radiation.

Much like camera film, the X-ray film develops depending on which areas were exposed to the X-rays. Black areas on an x-ray represent areas where the x-rays have passed through soft tissues. White areas show where denser tissues, such as bones, have absorbed the x-rays. X-rays are frequently used for the chest and abdomen.

The technology used in x-rays are also used in mammograms and bone scans, also known as DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans.

X-rays require no special preparation. You don’t need to restrict your diet or avoid particular activities in preparation for a bone scan. However, it is important to tell your doctor if you are or may be pregnant or breastfeeding. Since x-rays use radiation, this may present harm to your pregnancy. Tracers used during the scan run the risk of contaminating breast milk. Let your doctor know if you’ve taken any medicine containing bismuth, such as Pepto-Bismol, or if you’ve had an x-ray or CT test using barium contrast material within the past four days. Barium and bismuth can interfere with results.

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.

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