What to Expect During an X-Ray

Apr 21, 2014
Tagged with:  What to Expect During an X-Ray

Of all the medical procedures out there, the X-Ray is one of the most diverse. Technicians are able to focus on almost any set of bones in almost any part of the body. Whether you’re getting a quick X-Ray of your teeth for cavities or a scan of your lower leg, here’s what to expect.


Radiation Protection

Oftentimes, radiation protection comes in the form of a lead apron that the nurse or technician will drape over you. This is meant to reduce potential radiation exposure to your core organs. If you think of the apron as a cooling, calming blanket when it’s on you, then you shouldn’t have a problem with it on.

An Empty Room

This one can be hard for both kids and adults. Some people prefer to have loved ones in the room or even the nurse there for support. Unfortunately, the technician and your support system will be in another room during the procedure. While the lead apron is there to protect you from radiation, there’s nothing in the room to protect everyone else. They need to leave for their own safety.

A 10-15 Minute Process

If you’re worried about being alone, it’s going to be OK. The entire process usually lasts about 10 minutes. This includes the time it takes the technician to position you correctly, go into the other room to take the X-Rays, and make sure they have the shots they need. You won’t have the results right away, but the tech will know whether they have the right pictures at the right angles.

Some X-Rays, like the teeth scans mentioned earlier, will take less than five minutes, but others will take longer. It all depends on the injury and awkwardness of the angle.

Positioning Devices

It may seem unconventional, but some doctors will pull out sandbags and use them to prop up an arm or a leg in the exact position that they want. The purpose of an X-Ray is to get a clear picture of the bone, and the medical professionals will do what it takes to get that shot. Expect to be moved around and positioned until they’re able to get the angle they need. For adults, this could simply be a pillow placed under the back, but for kids it gets more complex. Some X-Ray positions require specialized pediatric positioning devices to hold the child in a perfect angle.

Scanning of Healthy Body Parts

If you’re going in because you broke your left leg, you might be wondering why they’re scanning your right one. Don’t worry; the tech knows what they’re doing. They want to take a comparison photo to see how much worse one looks over the other. This usually happens with new patients without a history of X-Rays to compare the new ones to.

Having X-Rays taken might seem intimidating at first, but most of the time they’re relatively painless. At least, they’re probably less painful than the actual treatment that you’re about to receive. Just take a deep breath and let the technicians take pictures of your bones.

Author: Bency George