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Radiography (X-ray)

X-RayX-ray examinations are performed by medical radiography technologists who completed a three year program to be qualified and competent to perform a variety of X-ray imaging procedures.

For years, X-rays have been relied upon as a basic tool for the diagnosis of illness or injury. It is the most frequently used imaging method for visualizing the inside of the body.

Images are produced when radiation is passed through a part of the body. Internal structures block different amounts of radiation to create an image. Images are reported by specialized doctors, called radiologists. X-rays are still used in the majority of cases as the most economical way to diagnose such conditions as chest infection or broken bones.

Fluoroscopy is performed by technologists and radiologists. It is an imaging technique which allows radiologists to view images in real time. Radiologists can use fluoroscopy to visualize blood vessels and internal organs as they work. It is used to perform barium enemas (bowel X-rays), upper GI series (stomach X-rays) or to guide procedures such as angioplasty or lung biopsy.

Contrast studies uses a contrast or dye such as barium, water, iodine and air, to visualize certain parts of the body. Barium, water and air are used to visualize the colon or bowels and the stomach. Iodine is used to image the kidneys, other organs and blood vessels.

Contrast studies are not unique to any one imaging method. They can be performed in X-ray, CT, mammography, MRI, angiographyinterventional and nuclear medicine.

The technologist will ask patients to sit, stand or lie flat on an X-ray table and to remain still. Several X-rays may be taken from different angles. Procedures are generally painless and usually take less than 30 minutes. If patients have broken bones some discomfort during positioning may be experienced while the technologist positions the body to obtain the required images for diagnoses.

Some examples of X-ray tests include:

  • All bone examinations, hands, feet, spine, head, etc 
  • Chest and abdomen images 
  • Examinations of the stomach and bowel (barium is used to visualize the organs)


Updated May 9, 2019