Adult X-Ray and Fluoroscopy

Radiology patient getting an X-Ray.

X-Ray services are the core of our department and we are proud to offer superior care for Portland and surrounding areas. Our experience paired with the latest X-ray technologies keeps us at the cutting edge of healthcare. At OHSU Diagnostic Imaging Services your care and experience is our number one priority. Please feel free to call with questions regarding your appointment: 503 418-0990.

What should I expect during my visit?

X-Ray of a hand for radiology

Your appointment is unique to you. A scheduling professional will advise you on steps you will need to take before your exam. A technologist might ask you to remove any clothing, jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or other metal objects that may interfere with the procedure. If you are asked to remove any clothing, you will be given a gown or disposable paper shorts to wear. You will either be positioned on an x-ray table or against a wall-mounted x-ray panel. The radiologic technologist will ask you to remain still and hold your breath for a few moments while the x-ray exposure is made. It is important for you to remain as still as possible, so the image is not blurry.

What are the risks of the procedure?

There is concern over high and prolonged radiation exposure. We routinely review and incorporate dose reduction methodologies. Our facility is also fully accredited by the American College of Radiology assuring that our technologists and equipment are up-to-date. Our technologists are all accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, and our equipment is routinely inspected by both our in-house team of medical physicists and by Oregon Radiation Protection Services. You may want to ask your physician the risks related to your particular situation. If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician immediately.

What is an X-ray?

X-rays are invisible electromagnetic waves that we send through the body to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film for diagnostic purposes. When the body is X -rayed, different densities of the body allow varying amounts of the X-ray beams to pass through. The rays that pass through the body are then absorbed by detector plates that produce a "negative" type picture (the more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on the film). The soft tissues in the body (such as blood, skin, fat, and muscle) allow most of the X-ray to pass through and appear dark gray on the film or digital media.  The sinuses are usually filled with air, which appears black on X-ray film. Alternatively, bone or a tumor allows few of the X-rays to pass through and appears white on the X-ray. When there is a break in a bone, the X-ray beam passes through the broken area and appears as a dark line in the white bone.

Standard X-rays are performed for many reasons. They can obtain basic information regarding the size, shape, and position of organs. X-rays of the extremities may also be used to evaluate bone growth and development in children. The advantages of an X-ray are that it is simple, quick, noninvasive, relatively inexpensive, and can give the doctor useful information. However, a disadvantage is that an X-ray can determine only that a problem exists, not the specific cause of the problem. X-ray technology is used in other types of diagnostic procedures, such as computed tomography (CT) scans and fluoroscopy.


Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures--similar to an X-ray "movie." A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. Fluoroscopy may be used alone as a diagnostic procedure, or may be used in conjunction with other diagnostic or therapeutic media or procedures. Fluoroscopy can be performed for several reasons such as checking the function of the digestive system or Image-guided injections into joints or the spine.

OHSU Radiology X-Ray Machine