General X-ray includes imaging of the chest, spine, skull, extremities, hips, pelvis and hips. These procedures are often used to evaluate suspected fractures and other indications of injury or abnormality.
X-rays use a small amount of radiation to capture a black and white image of a body part. Depending on the type of x-ray it is, the patient will be standing, sitting or lying down. A lead apron may be placed on the body to prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation.
There is very little risk in having a general x-ray, however, women who are pregnant should have little to no exposure to x-rays to prevent fetal tissue damage. Occasionally, x-rays are required to diagnose a fracture or an illness. In these cases, the benefit outweighs the risk. Limited exams are done, and patients are shielded with lead aprons as much as possible.
General x-rays may not show injuries to anything other than the bones. Muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries are better visualized with ultrasound or MRI. In depth views of internal organ are also not visualized with general x-ray. In these cases, MRI or CT scan is a better option.
General x-ray preparation
There is no preparation required for a general x-ray other than removing any metallic jewelry and possibly changing into a hospital gown for the exam.
What happens after my x-ray?
The images are read by specialty physicians who are board certified radiologists. The results are communicated to the ordering physician through the patient’s electronic medical record. In some cases, the results are phoned to the ordering physician by the radiologist. The results are communicated to the patient by the ordering physician either in person, over the phone, or a letter in the mail. Your results will also be available in MyChart.