St. Luke's University Health Network

Digital X-rays

Digital X-Ray is a picture of bones and tissues

One of the oldest and most effective diagnostic tools, the X-ray simply is a picture of the body’s bones and tissues. Using electromagnetic radiation, doctors and specially trained radiology technologists can diagnose problems and recommend further treatments and therapies. 

The digital X-ray is a very common, safe and pain-free test that is used to study a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Knee, hip, elbow and other joint problems
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Spine problems
  • Heart and lung diseases
  • Blockages in the blood vessels
  • Sinus infections
  • Tooth decay and other dental problems
  • Issues with the jaw

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More About X-Rays

The type of condition and image requested by the doctor will determine how the patient will be positioned and how many views are necessary.

As in most photos, it is important to take a clear image, so the patient is asked to remain motionless and hold the breath for one second.  In some cases, the patient may have to hold to a certain position very briefly, so there might be a moment of discomfort until the image is taken.

Digital Images

X-rays no longer are done using film. Instead, images are now captured digitally, and are therefore clearer and more accurate. In addition, images are meant to be read by the doctor and radiologist on a computer screen, which can be enhanced by the computer's capabilities. Test images are accessible by the doctor within minutes of your exam and can be sent electronically to your doctor. If necessary, CD-ROMs are available from the hospital’s Medical Records Department if your doctor would like them.

Chest X-Rays

Chest X-Ray: picture of bones and tissues around the heart and lungs

The chest X-ray is one of the most common diagnostic radiology examinations. This safe and pain-free test captures images of the bones and tissues in the areas of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, airway, spine and chest to diagnose a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Spine problems
  • Heart problems
  • Chest pain and injuries

Preparing for an X-Ray

The type of condition and image requested by the doctor will determine how the patient will be positioned and how many views are necessary.  Also, in some cases, the patient may be asked to take medications that will enhance the picture.

As in most photos, it is important to take a clear image, so the patient is asked to remain motionless and hold the breath for one second.  In some cases, the patient may have to hold to a certain position very briefly, so there might be a moment of discomfort until the image is taken.

Digital Images

Chest X-rays no longer are done using film. Instead, images are now captured digitally, and are therefore clearer and more accurate. In addition, images are meant to be read by the doctor and radiologist on a computer screen, which can be enhanced by the computer’s capabilities. Test images are accessible by the doctor within minutes of your exam and can be sent electronically to your doctor. If necessary, CD-ROMs are available from the hospital's Medical Records Department if your doctor would like them.