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When sick or injured, doctors often need to use diagnostic imaging tools to help determine how to treat a particular ailment precisely. Of these options, X-rays are usually the most common. In conjunction with digital imaging equipment, X-rays are used throughout an entire treatment plan as a way of assessing the effectiveness of the plan itself.
X-ray technology has advanced rapidly in the last several years and is today an almost indispensable tool among physicians. X-rays specifically come in high-resolution images that can be “zoomed” in and out for close inspection of even the tiniest details. These images are often printed on film, but recently, X-rays have become more readily available in digital formats that can be stored electronically.
While undergoing an X-ray, the patient may be asked to stand or sit in several positions between an X-ray camera and a digital X-ray recorder. While the X-rays are being taken, the patient should feel nothing, let alone pain. Once the X-rays have been taken, the images are typically available soon after.
Small amounts of radiation will pass through your body during an X-ray. However, as a tool of diagnostic imaging, X-rays are captured efficiently to reduce patient exposure as much as possible while still acquiring usable images. As a result, patients should not have to worry about suffering adverse effects from an X-ray.
Alternatives to X-rays should be discussed with a doctor. These tests include EKGs, mammograms, ultrasounds, spirometries and other procedures. Usually, these tests are meant to check a specific body part or organ and are not as versatile as X-rays. For example, EKGs are used to check heart function, while a spirometry can examine the lungs.