A bone X-ray is a way to take pictures of bones. It may also be called bone radiography. In this test, a low dose of radiation (X-rays) is passed through the body, producing digital images of the bones or images on a piece of film.
Why might I need a bone X-ray?
X-rays of bones may be taken to:
- Find fractures (breaks or chips in the bones)
- Ensure that a fracture has been properly set for healing, or make sure that a fracture has healed properly
- Plan surgery on the spine and joints, or assess the results of this surgery
- Monitor the progress of arthritis and other bone or joint diseases
- Detect and diagnose bone cancer.
How do I get ready for a bone X-ray?
- You may be asked to change into a hospital gown. (This depends on the area of your body being examined.)
- Tell the technologist if there is any chance that you are pregnant.
- Remove hair clips, jewelry, dentures, and other metal items that could show up on the X-ray.
What happens during a bone X-ray?
You will lie, sit, or stand so that the part of your body being examined is underneath the X-ray equipment. The technologist will position you.
- Certain parts of your body, such as your reproductive organs, may be shielded to protect them from radiation.
- You will need to remain still while the X-rays are being taken. Pillow and foam pads may be used to help you stay in position.
- You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds at a time.
- You may need to hold several positions so that more than one view may be taken.
What are the risks of a bone X-ray?
Your health care provider can discuss the risks of radiography with you. In most cases, the benefits of bone X-ray far outweigh the risks.
What happens after a bone X-ray?
The whole procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes.
- You'll be asked to wait until the technologist has looked at the images to see if more need to be done.
- Your doctor will discuss the results with you when the images are ready.