What to Expect

X-rays can be performed on an outpatient basis, or as part of inpatient care.

Although each facility may have specific protocols in place, generally, an X-ray procedure follows this process:

  1. The patient will be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry which might interfere with the exposure of the body area to be examined. The patient will be given a gown to wear if clothing must be removed.
  2. The patient is positioned on an X-ray table that carefully positions the part of the body that is to be X-rayed--between the X-ray machine and a cassette containing the X-ray film or specialized image plate. Some examinations may be performed with the patient in a sitting or standing position.
  3. Body parts not being imaged may be covered with a lead apron (shield) to avoid exposure to the X-rays.
  4. The X-ray beam will be focused on the area to be photographed.
  5. The patient must be very still or the image will be blurred.
  6. The technologist will step behind a protective window and the image is taken.
  7. Depending on the body part under study, various X-rays may be taken at different angles, such as the front and side view during a chest X-ray.