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X-Ray & Scans

doctor examining an x-rayAn X-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. They can also often identify problems with certain soft tissues, such as pneumonia or breast cancer. X-rays expose your body to radiation and sometimes this risk must be carefully balanced aganist the benefits of the information the X-ray will provide. For this reason it is unusual to have x-rays of the spine (MRI gives better images for less radiation) or x-rays during pregnancy. Ultrasound and MRI scans do not involve radiation. CT scans do use x-rays.

If you have a X-ray, you will be asked to lie on a table or stand against a surface so that the part of your body being X-rayed is between the X-ray tube and the photographic plate.

An X-ray is usually carried out by a radiographer, a healthcare professional who specialises in using imaging technology, such as X-rays and ultrasound scanners.

You can find out more about x-ray tests, how they are performed, their function and the risks by visiting the NHS Choices website.

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