Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
X-ray technology is used to examine many parts of the body.
Bones and teeth
- Fractures and infections. In most cases, fractures and infections in bones and teeth show up clearly on X-rays.
- Arthritis. X-rays of your joints can reveal evidence of arthritis. X-rays taken over the years can help your doctor determine if your arthritis is worsening.
- Dental decay. Dentists use X-rays to check for cavities in your teeth.
- Osteoporosis. Special types of X-ray tests can measure the density of your bones.
- Bone cancer. X-rays can also reveal tumors in your bones.
- Lung infections or conditions. Evidence of problems such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or lung cancer can show up on chest X-rays.
- Breast cancer. Mammography is a special type of X-ray test used to examine breast tissue.
- Enlarged heart. One of the signs of congestive heart failure is an enlarged heart, which shows up clearly on X-rays.
- Blocked blood vessels. Injecting a contrast material that contains iodine can help highlight sections of your circulatory system so that they can be seen on X-rays.
- Digestive tract problems. Barium, a contrast medium delivered in a drink or in an enema, can help reveal problems anywhere in your digestive system.
- Swallowed items. If your child has swallowed something like a key or a coin, an X-ray can show the location of that object.
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- Mammography. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=mammo. Accessed Jan. 4, 2012.
- Keeping kids still during exams. American Society of Radiologic Technologists. https://www.asrt.org/content/ThePublic/AboutRadiologicProcedures/KeepingKidsStillDuringExams.aspx. Accessed Jan. 4, 2012.