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What is a Chest X-Ray?

A chest X-ray is a radiology test that creates detailed pictures of your heart, lungs, and/or bones in your chest or spine. Another name for a chest X-ray is chest radiograph. Chest scans can also reveal fluid in or around your lungs or air surrounding a lung.

Patients who experience symptoms of chest pain, a chest injury or shortness of breath will typically get a chest X-ray. The image helps your doctor determine whether you have heart problems, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, broken ribs, emphysema, cancer, or any of several other lung conditions. 

Preparation

This exam requires little to no special preparation. You will be asked to remove extra metallic objects, such as jewelry, from the chest and neck areas for a chest X-ray to avoid interference with X-ray penetration and improve the accuracy of the interpretation. It is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing that does not contain metal.

If you have body piercings, ask your imaging center for specific instructions. Body jewelry can interfere with clear images. You may need to remove it or replace it with an acrylic retainer. 

How is it performed?

Patients getting a chest X-ray will often be requested to use an X-ray gown, and extra metallic objects such as jewelry are removed from the chest and/or neck areas. These objects can block X-ray penetration, making the result less accurate. Patients may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it during the chest X-ray in order to inflate the lungs to their maximum, which increases the visibility of different tissues within the chest. Some chest scans such as CT scans will use contrast dyes to better see the structures inside the body.

The chest X-ray procedure often involves a view from the back to the front of the body as well as a view from the side. The view from the side is called a lateral chest X-ray. Occasionally, different angles are added in order for the radiologist to see certain specific areas of the chest.

After the chest X-ray is taken and recorded on the X-ray film, the film is placed into a developing machine, and this picture (which is essentially a photographic negative) is examined and interpreted by the radiologist.

Radiation

Chest x-rays use a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the chest. Because chest x-rays are fast and easy to perform, it is particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment. Emergency rooms and outpatient imaging centers both list chest x-rays as one of the most frequently performed imaging scans.The radiation used is considered harmless in small quantities but it is important to tell your doctor of any scans/procedures you have received and whether or not you may be pregnant. Children receiving chest x-rays can be given lower levels of radiation to minimize risk.

After

After the X-ray, your radiation technologist may ask you to wait a few minutes while they look at the images. If any of the images are blurry, the technologist may have to retake the X-rays.

The X-ray images are sent to a radiologist who reviews them for normal and abnormal findings. Your healthcare provider will then review the images and radiologist’s report so they can discuss your X-ray results with you.

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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