X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation with shorter wavelengths than visible light. The high energy and short wave-length of x-rays let them pass through different materials in a way ordinary light cannot. As they pass through, these are absorbed in a different proportion by different materials. So, a hard body part, such a bone looks different from a soft body part like a muscle, which in turn looks different from liver.
In medical X-rays, a machine emits X-rays which pass through the body, and a detector records the X-rays that pass through. Hard tissues, like bones, appear white on the images, while softer tissues appear in various shades of gray.
X-rays are used in medical imaging to diagnose and monitor a wide range of conditions, including bone fractures, dental problems, lung diseases, and certain cancers.
Preparation for an X-ray depends on the specific type of X-ray being performed. In many cases, you may need to remove metal objects and wear a hospital gown. You may have to be fasting for some x-rays.
During an X-ray, you may be asked to lie down or stand in a specific position. A technician will operate the X-ray machine, and you may need to hold still for a brief moment while the images are captured.
The time it takes to receive X-ray results varies, but it is typically a matter of hours to a day.
X-rays produce 2D images, while computed tomography (CT) scans creates cross-sectional images. The data is used to make 3D images by taking multiple X-ray slices. CT scans provide more detailed information about internal structures.
X-ray machines are regularly calibrated and maintained to ensure they provide accurate images with minimal radiation exposure. This is done by trained technicians. These are regulated by AERB – Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
X-rays are generally safe when used in appropriate doses and for specific medical purposes. However, excessive or unnecessary exposure to X-rays can be harmful. The primary risk of X-rays is exposure to ionizing radiation, which can damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer. The level of risk depends on the amount of radiation and the frequency of exposure. Can X-rays be harmful if overused? Overexposure to X-rays can be harmful and increase the risk of radiation-related health problems.
X-ray exams are generally safe when performed by trained professionals and within recommended dose limits. The level of radiation exposure is typically minimal in diagnostic imaging.We use the "ALARA" principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) to minimize radiation exposure.
Pregnant women and the developing fetus are more sensitive to radiation. While some X-ray procedures can be performed during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks, these are avoided as far as possible.