What are X-rays used for?
X-rays are used to capture images of your body’s internal structures, such as your bones, to determine if there are injuries that aren’t visible from outside the body. X-rays are most commonly known for being used to diagnose broken bones as they show not only if a bone is broken, but also the exact location of the break, if there are multiple breaks and the extent of the damage done. When an x-ray is performed on the human body, an x-ray beam is passed through your body. The beams will be absorbed by the materials in your body based on their density, which determines how those materials show up in an x-ray. For example, bone and metal, which are very dense, show up in an x-ray as being white. The muscles and fat in your body show up as various shades of grey and the air found in your lungs will show up as black. In the case of finer detail being required from the x-ray, a contrast medium in the form of barium or iodine can be introduced into the body to provide greater contrast and highlight the area under investigation.
When should you get an X-ray?
Your doctor will determine when an x-ray is needed based on their ability to diagnose an injury without it, or if they want to see what is going on under the surface to confirm what they suspect the injury may be. When it comes to injuries such as a sprain or a broken bone, the symptoms can be very similar, and an x-ray will often be needed to confirm the type of injury. X-rays can be used for suspected fractures and infections that can affect the bones and teeth as they show up very clearly through an x-ray. Arthritis can also be confirmed through an x-ray and multiple images over a span of time can help a doctor to determine if the case of arthritis is getting worse. X-rays can be used to detect many additional conditions such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, lung infections or conditions, breast cancer, enlarged heart, blocked blood vessels, digestive tract problems and swallowed items.
What is the difference between a radiograph and an X-ray?
X-rays are often referred to as radiographs and vice versa which isn’t entirely right but also isn’t entirely wrong. A radiograph refers to taking radio images, of which an x-ray is a form of. So, while they might seem like the same thing, an x-ray is one type of a radiograph that uses x-ray beams in order to capture images of the internal structures of the body, known as projectional radiography. Other types of radiography include CT scans, bone densitometry, fluoroscopy, angiography, PET and MRIs – all different types of radiographs that use a different type of radiation to capture the image as well as a different technique of capturing images of the body’s internal workings for a radiologist to study. An x-ray is printed out onto a translucent sheet that then needs to be held up to a light source in order to be able to see the picture.
How long can I expect to get X-ray results back?
The turnaround time for getting an x-ray is dependent on many things. In most cases, x-rays are turned around and results ready for the ordering doctor to review with their patient in about 24 hours. That time can either be longer or shorter. In an emergency room or an urgent care where patients are being treated for acute and possibly life-threatening injuries, x-rays can be created and ready for review by the doctor in a matter of minutes. The prescribing doctor will specify the targeted area of the x-ray, along with the symptoms or suspected injury or illness being investigated so the x-ray technician knows what part of the body to shoot and can plan their images accordingly. The radiologist will review the x-ray images prior to sending them off to the doctor to ensure they are as clear as possible, as well as to detect any issues in the area the prescribing doctor what focused on. If you are in need of x-rays, then contact our team of healthcare professionals today at Midlands Family Urgent Care. You can contact us through our website or you can visit us – we are open 7 days a week. We serve patients from Omaha NE, La Vista NE, Fairview NE, Ralston NE, Bellevue NE, and surrounding areas.