What happens after an X-ray?
Once the radiologist has collected the images of the X-ray, you will change back into your clothes, if you were wearing a gown, and depending on your specific condition, your doctor will probably allow you to leave and go about your daily activities, or go home and rest whilst you wait for your results. The results may be ready within a few days after the procedure or on the actual day, depending on how busy the radiologist compiling the report is. Radiologists will generally not discuss your results with you, even if you ask, as they do not give a diagnosis based on their findings, but rather leave this to your doctor who has your full medical history and list of symptoms.
As such, your radiologist will send your X-rays and a report to your doctor for him/her to compile their own report from there, based on the results. Your doctor will then determine the diagnosis and proceed accordingly, he/she may also order more additional tests in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis such as blood tests or additional scans, which may be followed by medication or other forms of treatment.
What are the side effects after an X-ray?
To create the images for the X-ray of the different parts of your body, the X-ray will use small amounts of radiation, however, the level of exposure is considered safe for older children and adults. While it is highly unlikely that an X-ray will cause harm to a developing baby during pregnancy, most doctors will err on the side of caution and avoid these as far as possible. It is recommended that the doctor is informed if you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant as he/she may suggest a different imaging method, such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which is a popular alternative.
If the X-ray is being conducted to examine a painful condition or a broken bone, you can expect to experience a level of discomfort or pain as you will have to position your body in a specific way so as to get an accurate image. In this situation, your doctor may recommend you take pain medication before the X-ray.
The ingestion of contrasting material for an X-ray may result in:
- Feeling faint
- A metal taste in your mouth
In some very rare cases, the dye or contrasting material can result in anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest or severely low blood pressure. If any of these symptoms are suspected, the radiographer will be trained to deal with them and if they occur once you have left the radiologist or X-ray department, consult with your doctor immediately.
What are the results of an X-ray?
X-rays are digitally saved on computers and are accessed and viewed within a few minutes by the radiologist. They will then compile a report for your doctor based on the results. This report will be explained to you by your doctor. If the situation is an emergency, the results and report can be given to your doctor in a matter of minutes.