Uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of any bone in the body. It is commonly used to diagnose fractured bones or joint dislocation. Bone x-rays are the fastest and easiest way for your doctor to view and assess bone fractures, injuries and joint abnormalities.
Most bone x-rays require no special preparation.
You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
The technologist, an individual specially trained to perform radiology examinations, positions the patient on the x-ray table and places the x-ray film holder or digital recording plate under the table in the area of the body being imaged. When necessary, sandbags, pillows or other positioning devices will be used to help you maintain the proper position. A lead apron may be placed over your pelvic area or breasts when feasible to protect from radiation.
You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room to activate the x-ray machine.
You may be repositioned for another view and the process is repeated. Two or three images (from different angles) will typically be taken.
An x-ray may also be taken of the unaffected limb, or of a child's growth plate (where new bone is forming), for comparison purposes.
When the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.
A bone x-ray examination is usually completed within five to 10 minutes.