How Safe are X-rays

An x-ray is an imaging tool commonly used around the world since its first use to image bones over a hundred years ago. To date, x-rays have saved countless lives and aided in several important discoveries. Learn more about X-rays in Oregon.

To answer the question ‘How safe are x-rays,’ let’s first look at what x-rays are. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation produced from charged particles of energy. We are all regularly exposed to low levels of radiation just from living on this planet — from our air, soil, water, and even from our food. Annually in the United States, we are exposed to about 3 mSv from background sources. The amounts of radiation you are exposed to from medical images is also extremely low. For example, exposure from our regularly food sources for a whole year is similar to getting 4 chest x-rays. One chest x-ray is also equivalent to a round trip flight between east and west coasts.

Another way of looking at this comparing imaging exams to natural background exposure levels.The amount of radiation exposure from an x-ray is equivalent to a few days of this background radiation. Here’s a comparative list of x-ray radiation compared to standard background radiation:

1. Chest x-ray: equal to 2.4 days of natural radiation
2. Skull x-ray: equal to 12 days of natural radiation
3. Lumbar spine: equal to 182 days of natural radiation

What to Expect During an X-ray Procedure?

X-ray procedures typically take only a few minutes. Any metal objects, such as jewelry, must be removed so that they won’t show up in the images. Patients should wear loose-fitting clothing and may be asked to change into a comfortable gown. As the x-ray passes through your body, it creates an image.

X-ray technology is also used during fluoroscopy studies, including Upper GI and small bowel exams, as well as enemas. During these exam, you will typically be asked to ingest contrast and lay in different positions so we can acquire useful images to help evaluate your condition. This may be useful in several clinical settings including gastroesophageal reflux, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, hiatal hernia evaluation and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Importance of X-rays

X-rays have been used in medicine for over a century and are an essential part of the diagnostic process. X-rays in Oregon are a non-invasive way to diagnose, monitor and treat the health and disease in our patients.

CORA, a Leading Provider of X-Ray in Oregon

At CORA, we believe you should be as informed as possible before you even walk through the door so you can feel at ease with your appointment and procedure. Our highly trained medical team is here to answer your questions about x-rays in Oregon. You can schedule your x-ray at CORA through your physician or call us directly at 541-382-9383.