What Is Chest X Ray?
A chest x ray is a painless, noninvasive test that creates
pictures of the structures inside your chest, such as your
heart and lungs. "Noninvasive" means that no surgery is done
and no instruments are inserted into your body.
This test is done to find the cause of symptoms such as shortness
of breath, chest pain, chronic cough (a cough that lasts a long time),
X rays are electromagnetic waves. They use ionizing radiation
to create pictures of the inside of your body.
A chest x ray takes pictures of the inside of your chest. The
different tissues in your chest absorb different amounts of
radiation. Your ribs and spine are bony and absorb radiation
well. They normally appear light on a chest x ray. Your lungs,
which are filled with air, normally appear dark. A disease in
the chest that changes how radiation is absorbed also will
appear on a chest x ray.
Chest x rays help doctors diagnose conditions such as pneumonia,
lung cancer, lung tissue scarring,
and sarcoidosis (sar-koy-DO-sis). Doctors also may use chest x rays
to see how well treatments for health problems are working. Also,
doctors often use chest x rays before surgery to look at the
structures in the chest.
Chest x ray is the most common x-ray test used to diagnose health problems.
Chest x rays have few risks. The amount of radiation used in
a chest x ray is very small. Sometimes, a lead apron may be
used to protect certain parts of your body from the radiation.
A chest x ray gives out a radiation dose similar to the amount
of radiation you're naturally exposed to over 10 days. Chest
x rays use a smaller amount of radiation than other imaging tests.