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General X-Ray Imaging

X-Rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.  It involves a painless medical test that assists physicians to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions.

  • General Information

    • X-Ray imaging is most often used to detect spine, bone and joint problems, or to examine the heart and lungs (chest X-Ray), or bowel and kidneys (abdominal X-Ray).
    • Radiography involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionising radiation to produce images of the inside of the body.
    • An X-Ray is an image (picture) of your bones and other internal organs.
    • If an X-Ray examination has been requested, your doctor has decided that its value outweighs its very small risk.
    • Radiation risk factors are controlled by following a strict Quality Control programme that adheres to all the legislation and standards of the SA Radiation Board.
  • Before your X-Ray examination

    • Please arrive 15 minutes early to complete all the necessary paperwork.
    • You can also download the patient information form here. [A1] 
    • You may be asked to remove your watch jewelry, or clothing with metal closures from the part of your body that will be imaged.  These items could block part of the images. In some instances, you may be asked to wear a gown.
    • You may be asked about your overall health or any medication you take.
    • No other special preparation is needed.
  • Let the Radiographer know

    • If there is any possibility that you might be pregnant.
    • If you have any metal in the part of your body being imaged.
    • Of any similar procedures you may have had in the past. A comparison with previous imaging, aids in providing a more accurate diagnosis. Please bring the previous test results along.
  • What to expect

    • The examination will be performed by a trained Radiographer and reported on by a Radiologist.
    • Depending on the part of your body being imaged, you will be asked to sit, stand, or lie on the X-Ray examination table.
    • A lead apron may be draped over part of your body to shield you from the radiation produced by the X-Rays.
    • The Radiographer will leave the room to stand behind a protective lead glass window while the X-Ray is taken and will communicate with you from behind this protective cubicle.
    • During an X-Ray examination of your chest or abdomen, you will be asked to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.
    • Each X-Ray examination may require two or more views. You may be required to change your position before each view. The Radiographer will guide you on which position you need to be in to optimise the image.
    • For best results:
      • Cooperation with the Radiographer is essential to the success of the procedure.
      • Please follow instructions and try to remain still during your procedure.  This will help prevent the need to repeat images.
    • The duration of the procedure will depend on the number of X-Ray views needed for the particular part of the body that is being examined.
  • After your X-Ray examination

    • After the procedure, you will have to wait briefly while images are reviewed.
    • You can return to your normal routine right away, unless you are advised not to.
    • Some patients will receive a CD containing the images to take back to their referring doctor.
    • Most of the reports are sent to the referring doctors via email or fax.

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