What is an x-ray?

An X-ray is a painless and quick test that produces images of the structures inside your body — particularly your bones. X-rays used a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves.

Types of x-rays

  • Abdominal
  • Barium
  • Bone
  • Chest
  • Dental
  • Extremity
  • Hand
  • Joint
  • Lumbosacral spine
  • Neck
  • Pelvis
  • Sinus
  • Skull
  • Thoracic spine
  • X-ray of the skeleton
  • Upper GI and small bowel series

When do I need an x-ray?

Your doctor may order an X-ray to:

  • Examine an area where you’re experiencing discomfort and pain
  • Monitor the progression of a disease or illness

X-rays are used to detect the following:

  • Breast tumours
  • Enlarged heart
  • blocked blood vessels
  • conditions affecting your lungs
  • digestive problems
  • fractures
  • infections
  • osteoporosis
  • arthritis
  • tooth decay
  • needing to retrieve swallowed items

How to prepare for an x-ray

You may be asked to remove anything metal, such as jewellery or clothing, with metal closures. We will also ask you to wear a gown. We may ask about your overall health or any medication you take. No other special preparation is needed.

What to expect

Once you’re fully prepared, we will tell you how to position your body to create clear images. We may ask you to sit, lie down, or stand in several positions during the examination. We may take images while you stand in front of a specialized plate that contains X-ray film. It’s important to remain still while the images are being taken. This will provide the clearest images possible.