What's an X-Ray?
An X-ray is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to make an image of bones, organs, and other parts of the body.
The X-ray image is black and white. Dense body parts, such as bones, block the passage of the X-ray beam through the body. These look white on the X-ray image. Softer body tissues, such as the skin and muscles, allow the X-ray beams to pass through them. They look darker on the image.
What's Involved in an X-Ray?
Taking an X-ray involves a machine that sends out X-ray beams to a table or other flat surface that is sensitive to the beams. What’s used can vary, depending on what body part is being tested.
Why Are X-Rays Done?
Health care providers order X-rays for many different reasons. These tests can help them find:
- broken bones
- causes of symptoms, like cough or belly pain
- growth or development problems
- dislocated joints and other joint problems
- soft tissue problems
- cysts and tumors
Dentists also order X-rays to look for problems with the teeth (such as decay, impacted teeth, and cavities) and jaws.
What Are the Types of X-Rays?
Common X-rays ordered for kids and teens include: