X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light. In a health care setting, a machines sends are individual x-ray particles, called photons. These particles pass through the body. A computer or special film is used to record the images that are created.
Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white. Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white. Structures containing air will be black, and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray (Medline Plus Sept 30, 2010).
X-rays provide valuable information used to assist physicians in the diagnosis and assessment of many conditions. They can be utilized for illness or injury evaluation—such as pneumonia and bone fractures. They are very quick and easily accessible.
At MMI, patient safety is top priority—and that includes helping patients and their primary care clinicians manage their exposure to medical radiation for imaging exams. You can click here to learn more.