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What To Expect When Getting X-Rays For The First Time

X-rays, also known as radiographs, have been a standard medical diagnosis option for quite some time. However, if you've never before had an X-ray, you might be a little nervous and uncertain about the process. Knowing what to expect should make you more comfortable.

Little preparation is needed.

Unlike other more involved testing procedures that may require you to fast, stop taking some medications, or take other preparatory steps beforehand, X-rays require little to no preparation. You just show up on the day of your appointment and follow the radiologist's instructions to briefly prepare. Depending on what body part needs to be X-rayed, you may or may not be asked to change into a hospital gown. (This is common for chest X-rays and back X-rays, but there's no need to change if your hand or foot will be X-rayed!) You will have to take off all jewelry, too.

You'll be protected by a lead pad.

The radiation used in X-rays is not dangerous in small doses, but you don't want any organs that don't need to be exposed to be exposed unnecessarily. As such, your X-ray technician will have you shield the rest of your body with a lead apron or a lead pad. You may be asked to hold this lead pad in a certain area, such as over your pelvis, in some cases. The lead inside the pad prevents the X-rays from penetrating.

You won't feel a thing.

Don't worry about discomfort or pain before, during, or after X-rays. You will literally feel nothing. The only discomfort you may experience could be associated with having to hold an injured body part in a certain pose for the X-rays to be taken, but that's just situational.

You'll get the results soon.

Usually, after you have X-rays taken, the radiologist will immediately offer their opinion and feedback on the results. But then you will have to wait for your own doctor to get back to you with a more thorough interpretation of the findings. This does vary by hospital, though. At some hospitals, you'll be sent for X-rays and then you won't hear a thing back for a few days until your doctor gets around to evaluating them. 

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what to expect at your radiology appointment. Getting X-rays is really simple from a patient's perspective, so you can just relax and let this all happen.

Contact a hospital like Elkview General Hospital to learn more.