X-Rays 101

X-Rays at your local Medical Clinic

Getting an X-ray, also known as Radiography, is probably the most well know of all medical imaging techniques used to see inside the body. Chances are you have probably had an x-ray at some point in your life, either at the dentist office or from a doctor. X-rays are one of the most common forms of medical imaging.

What is an X-ray?

X-rays use a low dose of ionizing radiation also known as electromagnetic radiation, this is what creates the picture of the inside the body. The way this works is that these electromagnetic waves are shot from an x-ray machine toward the object that needs to be mapped (in this case the area of the body), the body will absorb different amount of radiation and what passes through is captured by a detector. Depending on the technology available to the x-ray facility, these detectors can be either caught on film or reproduced digitally, but the purpose is the same, to interpret the information into an image.

The image created is generally in black and white, sometimes blue, but always monochromatic. This is because different materials in the body absorb the radiation differently. For example, when taking a chest x-ray, the lungs will be black, this is because the air in the lungs doesn’t absorb any radiation. Calcium in bones will absorb more radiation, so they appear white, whereas muscle, soft tissue, and fat will appear grey.

What are x-rays used for?

X-rays are used in the medical field to see if you have any broken bones, check for arthritis, and to detect tumors in mammograms to name a few. The ability to get an image of the inside of the body assists doctors in assessing the best course of action for treatment for each patient.

Preparing for an x-ray

Your doctor will discuss with you about preparing for your x-ray. If you have a broken bone or injury you will most likely get an x-ray the same day, for other x-rays you may have to schedule them in advance. X-rays require little prep, but your doctor will discuss with you if you need to prepare for it.

During your x-ray, you may have to change into a gown, and you will have to remove all of your jewelry. If you are pregnant or have a chance of being pregnant, you must consult this with your doctor, as x-rays can harm a developing fetus.

Here at Millennium Medical Group, we offer Radiology at both of our locations so you can get the appointment that works best for you. Call Westland Medical Clinic in Michigan at (734) 728-2130 to set up your appointment today!