X-rays are made by using low levels of external radiation to produce images of the body, the organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic purposes.
X-rays pass through body structures onto specially treated plates (similar to camera film) and a negative-type picture is made. The more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on the film. For this reason, bones appear very white on an X-ray film, but less dense tissue such as muscle, blood, skin and fat appears darker. An X-ray provides a picture of inside the body by using special radioactive rays. An X-ray can show bones, tissues or parts of organs.
- To assess the heart
- As part of a physical examination
- Before hospitalization and/or surgery
- To assess symptoms of conditions related to the heart or lungs
- To check the position of implanted pacemaker wires and other internal devices such as central venous catheters
- To check status of lungs and chest cavity after surgery