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X-rays can be performed on an outpatient basis, or as part of inpatient care.
Although each hospital may have specific protocols in place, generally, an X-ray procedure follows this process:
The patient will be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry which might interfere with the exposure of the body area to be examined. The patient will be given a gown to wear if clothing must be removed.
The patient is positioned on an X-ray table that carefully positions the part of the body that is to be x-rayed - between the X-ray machine and a cassette containing the X-ray film. Some examinations may be performed with the patient in a sitting or standing position.
Body parts not being imaged may be covered with a lead apron (shield) to avoid exposure to the X-rays.
The X-ray beam is then focused on the area to be photographed.
The patient must be very still or the image will be blurred.
The technician steps behind a protective window and the image is taken.
Sometimes, various X-rays may have to be taken at different angles, such as the front and side view during a chest X-ray.