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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury


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X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to visible light. But X-rays have higher energy than light and can pass through most objects, including your body.

By placing an X-ray detector or plate on the other side of a person, an image will be formed that represents the shadows created by the objects inside their body. Structures containing:

Before your X-ray

Tell the radiographer (the person who performs your X-ray) if you're pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

You'll be asked to remove your watch, jewellery or garments with metal closures from the part of your body being imaged. These items can block part of the image. You may be asked to wear a gown.

During your X-ray

You'll be asked to lie on a table, stand or sit. With an X-ray of your chest or abdomen, you'll have to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.

After your X-ray

A specialist doctor (radiologist) will view the films or images and write a report about what the scan shows. They will send their report to the health professional who asked for the test, who will then discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment, over the phone or by email or text message.

Risks of X-rays

Generally, the benefits of an X-ray are far more important than the small estimated risk of the effects of radiation. At the radiation dose levels that are used in diagnostic radiography, there is little or no evidence of health effects. You can read more detailed information about radiation risk.

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Content shared between HealthInfo Canterbury, KidsHealth and Health Navigator NZ as part of a National Health Content Hub collaborative. Page created December 2022.


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