X-Ray

By Robert S. Dinsmoor

A type of radiation that is used to create images of the inside of the body. The various tissues throughout the body absorb different amounts of radiation, creating images that range from black to different shades of gray to white. For example, bones appear white on x-rays because they absorb the most x-rays; fat and other soft tissues absorb less, creating various shades of gray; air absorbs the least, so the lungs appear black. X-ray imaging can be used to detect a wide variety of problems, including broken bones, pneumonia, dental cavities, and cancer. X-rays of the joints can be used to detect arthritis, and x-rays taken over the course of years can help a doctor determine whether a person’s arthritis is worsening.

Some people are concerned about radiation exposure during x-ray procedures, but the exposure is so small that it presents only minimal risk. However, if you’re pregnant or suspect that you might be pregnant, be sure to alert your doctor before undergoing an x-ray. The doctor may opt to use a different imaging technique, such as ultrasound.

Last Reviewed On December 16, 2014

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Robert S. Dinsmoor is a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

Get the latest news and tips from Arthritis Self-Management Extra, delivered to your inbox twice a month!

Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter

We're on Facebook

Become a Fan