Painless and efficient, X-rays can be essential in the diagnostic process. Depending on tissue density, X-ray beams are absorbed in different amounts in different parts of the body. Dense materials show white areas on an X-ray, while air will show up black. Other tissues appear as gray. The combination of these colors and textures form an image of the inside of the body.

In some tests, your doctor may administer an iodine or barium contrast to highlight certain areas.

Locations Offering This Procedure:

Central Imaging
Vestavia Hills Imaging

Who Needs This Procedure?

Unexplained pain or symptoms of injury can be investigated by means of X-ray. Conditions commonly diagnosed by X-ray, such as cancer, bone injuries, tooth decay, and infections are assessed using this method. X-rays are often followed up with other imaging techniques, such as MRI and CT scans.

Preparing For The Procedure:

There is no preparation necessary for a X-ray and the patient may resume normal activities immediately afterwards.

During The Procedure:

Your experience can vary based on the type of X-ray being utilized. Depending on the purpose of the scan, the X-ray can last from a few minutes to over an hour. Once properly positioned, the X-ray machine will take pictures as needed. The process can be repeated for additional views of the region, with the patient in different positions.


For many, the risk of radiation exposure may deter patients from wanting to receive an X-ray. X-rays only emit very small amounts of radiation, and therefore the chances of cell damage are extremely low. Pregnant women are not advised to undergo X-ray scanning, and should therefore always inform their doctor if there is a chance that they are pregnant.

What Will I Experience?

Although patients can be uncomfortably positioned for an X-ray, the process itself is not painful. Most X-rays take only a few minutes and do not cause later discomfort.

The Benefits:

A variety of medical and dental conditions can be diagnosed using X-ray technology.