X-Ray: About This Test

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What is it?

An X-ray is a picture of the inside of your body. Depending on the part of your body to be X-rayed, the X-ray may show bones, organs, foreign objects, or pockets of air or fluid. Any part of your body can be X-rayed, including your head, chest, belly, arms, and legs.

Why is this test done?

Doctors use X-rays to help find out what's wrong or whether there is a problem, what is causing pain, or where a foreign object may be located in your body.

X-rays can also help check the position of a tube or device you've had put in your body. Examples may include a gastrostomy tube, a port, or a stent.

How do you prepare for the test?

  • In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How is the test done?

  • You will need to hold very still while the X-ray is taken. A padded brace, foam pads, a headband, or sandbags may be used to hold your body in place while the pictures are taken, depending on what part of your body is being X-rayed.
  • More than one X-ray view may be taken.

How long does the test take?

  • The test will take about 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the part of your body being X-rayed. You might be asked to stay longer if a picture needs to be retaken.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away. It depends on the reason for the test.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.