How To Prepare
Before the X-ray test, tell your
doctor if you are or might be pregnant. Pregnancy and the risk of radiation
exposure to your unborn baby (fetus) must be considered. The risk of
damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the potential benefits
of the test. If an extremity X-ray is absolutely necessary, a lead apron will
be placed over your abdomen to help shield your baby from exposure to the
Talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks,
how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
You don't need to do anything else before you have this
How It Is Done
An extremity X-ray is taken by a
radiology technologist. The X-ray pictures are usually read by a doctor who
specializes in interpreting X-rays (radiologist).
Some other types of doctors can also review extremity X-ray pictures for common
problems, such as fractures or arthritis.
You will need to remove
any jewelry that may be in the way of the X-ray picture. You may need to take
off some of your clothes, depending on which area is examined. You will be
given a cloth or paper gown to use during the test. You may be allowed to keep
on your underwear if it does not get in the way of the test.
During the X-ray test, you will sit by or be on an X-ray table with a
film holder under the affected limb. The X-ray technologist will position your
limb. If you have an injury, your leg or arm will be handled gently and
supported when moved or repositioned. Pillows, sandbags, or other objects may
be used to hold the injured limb in place while the pictures are taken. If you
are wearing a brace or other device, it may need to be removed. A lead shield
may be placed over your pelvic area to protect it from radiation.