A chest X-ray may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of a
hospital stay. For this test, the patient stands in front of a
rectangular target area, where the X-ray film is held. Patients may be
asked to hold their arms to the side or over the head. The patient
takes a breath and remain still for a few seconds. The patient may
have an X-ray of the chest from the front and from the side.
Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor's practices.
Generally, a chest X-ray follows this process:
- Patients will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or
other objects that may interfere with the procedure.
- Patients will be given a gown to wear.
- The view that
the doctor orders will determine how the patient is positioned for
the X-ray, such as lying, sitting, or standing. Patients will be
positioned carefully so that the desired view of the chest is
obtained. The doctor will also specify the number of films to be
- For a standing or sitting film, patients will stand or
sit in front of the X-ray plate. Patients will be asked to roll
their shoulders forward, take in a deep breath, and hold it until
the X-ray exposure is made. For patients who are unable to hold
their breath, the radiologic technologist will take the picture at
the appropriate time by watching the breathing pattern.
- It will be important for patients to remain still during the
exposure, as any movement will blur the film.
- For a
side-angle view of the chest, patients will be asked to turn to the
side and raise the arms above your head. Patients will be instructed
to take in a deep breath and hold it as the X-ray exposure is made.
- The radiologic technologist will step behind a protective
window while the images are being made.
While the X-ray procedure itself causes no pain, the manipulation of
the body part being examined may cause some discomfort or pain,
particularly in the case of a recent injury or invasive procedure such
as surgery. The radiologic technologist will use all possible comfort
measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize
any discomfort or pain.