Diagnostic X-Ray

What Is an X-Ray? What Is an X-Ray Used for?

An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the body's inside. X-rays are the oldest, most frequently used form of medical imaging. X-rays are used for diagnosing various medical problems in bones, chest, upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, contrast studies and a myriad of fluoroscopic studies. For example, a radiograph can determine broken bones, joint dislocation, fracture, infection, arthritis, bone cancer and locate foreign objects.

Chest x-rays are typically the first imaging test used to help diagnose symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Bad or persistent cough

  • Chest pain or injury

  • Fever

Physicians use the examination to help diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Heart failure
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Other medical conditions

Some of the Exams We Offer

  • Routine Radiography
  • Tomography
  • Barium Studies (upper and lower GI tract),
  • Contrast studies (IVP, Hysterosalpingogram, Arthrograms, Cholangiogram).

Fluoroscopy studies are mainly performed in our state of the art new digital fluoroscopy unit enabling our Radiologists to interpret accurate diagnosing and early treatment plan.


  • Most X-rays do not require preparation prior to the exam.
    • Special studies such as fluoroscopy exams (Upper GI, Lower GI) require specific preparation which will be explained to you by our schedulers during the scheduling process.
  • You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.
    • You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
  • Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the X-Ray exam take?

Depending on the type of exam a routine x-Ray takes about five to fifteen minutes. The contrast and fluoroscopy cases may take anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty five minutes.

What is oral contrast and when is it used?

Oral contrast is used during a fluoroscopy exam of the Upper GI tract. It aids the Radiologist in better visualization of the body the part. The patient is instructed to drink the fluid (contrast) while the Radiologist and/or the technologist take pictures during the exam. Once the exam is complete the patient is instructed to drink plenty of water to help remove the contrast from the body.

Getting Your Results

Your X-Ray images will be analyzed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in diagnostic testing. The radiologist will send a signed report which includes an interpretation of the image to your primary physician. Your physician will receive your results soon after. At MMCSC we also offer our patients a free copy of their exam on CD to share with their physicians.

Our Team of Specialists

Our board certified Radiologists are specially trained to diagnose and interpret the images. At MMCSC, the technologists are specially trained in the theory and practice of Diagnostic Radiography procedures and operate the equipment used during the procedure. The technologists are board certified and licensed (ARRT), and MMCSC Radiology Department is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.