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Digital X-Ray

What is a Digital X-Ray?

What is a Digital X-Ray

During the examination, an x-ray machine sends out radiation that passes painlessly through the body and is picked up by an x-ray film. The x-ray film is then passed through a processing machine that produces an image onto a computer screen for analysis. The radiation passes through some parts of the body more easily than others and is why different body parts have different appearances on the computer, for example bones are white and lungs are much darker.

Why is the procedure useful?

X-rays can be used to examine almost all areas of the body, from the teeth and their roots to the spine and to the inner organs. Sometimes substances called contrast agents are used to aid in highlighting certain areas of the body. For example, barium contrast agent can be ingested before an x-ray of the upper digestive tract is taken to highlight these organs in further detail when investigating reasons for difficulty swallowing. It is essential that the patient stay as still as possible during an x-ray and often will have to be placed in certain positions so that the x-ray machine can be pointed to the area of interest. For this reason, most x-rays are taken with the patient under sedation or general anesthetic.

Are X-rays safe?

Patients will be exposed to radiation during an xray, however this is only a low level of radiation for a very short period of time. Increased exposure to radiation can increase risk of cancer, but this risk is still very small. Xrays will only be offered if considered essential for diagnosis or management of your pet’s condition.