An x-ray is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
X-rays can produce diagnostic images of the human body on film or digitally that allow doctors to view and assess broken bones or other injuries.

X-rays are an important tool in guiding orthopedic surgery and in the treatment of sports-related injuries.
An x-ray may uncover more advanced forms of cancer in bones, although early screening for cancer findings requires other methods.

What are some common uses of x-rays?

  • Assist doctors in identifying and treating bone fractures
  • View, monitor or diagnose joint injuries and infections, arthritis, artery blockages, abdominal pain.
  • Cancer screening; although usually computed tomography (CT) or MRI is better at defining the extent and the nature of a suspected cancer.


There is no special preparation required for most bone x-rays. You may be asked to change into a gown before your examination and remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects during the exam.

Women should always inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.


X-rays are conducted either standing up or lying down.

  • The technologist positions you on the exam table and places a film holder under the table in the area of the body to be imaged.
  • Angled sponges may be used to help support you and hold the proper position. In this way, the technologist can x-ray different views of the area being imaged.
  • The technologist then steps behind a radiation barrier and asks you to hold your breath and remain motionless for a few seconds.
  • The x-ray equipment is activated, sending a beam of x-rays through the body to expose the imaging plate.
  • The technologist then re-positions you for another view, and the process is repeated as necessary.

For more information, visit: Radiologyinfo.org/X-ray