A New Take On Old Tech
X-rays have been in use for more than a century, but modern X-ray technology has grown steadily more complex and sophisticated. Despite development of new technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, X-ray images remain a vital tool for diagnosing diseases and injuries.
What’s an X-ray?
An X-ray image is basically a photograph. Using x-ray beams, a machine similar to a camera produces images of the structures inside your body.
How X-rays Work
As X-ray beams pass through your body, different materials absorb different amounts of energy. Dense materials (bones) show up as white on an X-ray image. Other tissues will be varying shades of gray.
Many different X-ray tests and procedures are available for various parts of the body. For some types of X-ray tests, a contrast medium — such as iodine or barium — is introduced into your body to provide greater detail on the X-ray images.
Preparing for Your X-ray
X-rays can be performed on just about every part of your body, for many different reasons. So preparations may range from zero to substantial. Ask your doctor’s office about preparations you need for your particular X-ray.
Some of the exams requiring preparation are:
Arthrogram/Arthrocentesis – Discontinue aspirin and Coumadin five days before the exam.
Barium Enema (child) – Use one Dulcolax tablet and one suppository at 6 p.m. the evening before.
Barium Enema (adult) – Consume nothing but clear liquids 24 hours before the exam. You’ll be given a bowel cleansing kit with additional instructions.
Biopsy – Nothing to eat or drink for four hours before the procedure.
Esophogram – Nothing to eat for drink for eight hours before the exam. (Four hours for children 5 and younger.)
Lumbar Puncture -- Discontinue aspirin and Coumadin five days before the exam.
Myelogram – Discontinue aspirin and Coumadin five days before the exam. Nothing but clear liquids for six hours before the exam. Diabetic patients should stop taking Metformin drugs 48 hours before the exam.
Small Bowel – Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
Upper GI -- Nothing to eat for drink for eight hours before the exam. (Four hours for children 5 and younger.)
Make sure you understand what preparations are necessary for your test. If you have any questions, please check with your doctor’s office, or phone one of our imaging technologists at (541) 269-8090.
What to Expect
When you check in at the Medical Imaging office, you’ll be given a wristband to wear. Then one of our radiologic technologists will escort you to an exam room. The technologist will explain the procedure step by step. Depending on the procedure, we may ask about any allergies you have and the medications you take. You may be asked to remove some of your clothing, and you’ll need to remove any metal objects, including body jewelry.
A simple X-ray exam can be quick and painless, though certain procedures may take longer and cause some discomfort. Some procedures use contrast material (typically barium), which may be administered orally, by injection, or by other means.
After your exam, one of our board-certified radiologists will interpret – or “read” – your X-rays and forward the results to your physician. Your physician will explain the results to you.
Technology and professionalism
The X-ray machines in use at Bay Area Hospital employ updated technology to create filmless electronic images. Various X-ray machines are used for different kinds of exams and different parts of the body. Depending on your needs, we may use a portable X-ray device or a device mounted on a table or a wall.
All our technologists are educated in radiologic science, state-licensed, and nationally certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. They average more than 10 years’ experience.
Bay Area Hospital also is proud to be a teaching facility for college students studying to become imaging technologists. You may meet some of these students during your visit.