The technologist, will position you on the x-ray table over the digital recording plate. When necessary, sandbags or pillows will be used to help you hold the proper position. The technologist might place a lead apron over your pelvic area to protect it from radiation. You must hold very still and might be asked to stop breathing briefly while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. You might be repositioned for another view and the process repeated.
At least two images (from different angles) will be taken. If you have a young child who is having an x-ray, restraints might be used to prevent motion and a blurred image. You might be allowed to remain with your child during the test. If you remain in the room during the x-ray exposure, you will be given a lead apron to shield you from unnecessary exposure.
Some x-ray examinations require that you take a special dye, often called “contrast”, before the x-ray. Contrast can create clearer images of specific areas inside the body for a more accurate diagnosis. If you are given contrast, you might be asked not to eat or drink anything for 3-4 hours before the test.
Contrast can be given using an intravenous line (IV) that is placed in a vein in your hand or forearm. Contrast given through an IV might cause a metallic taste in the mouth, nausea and a warm flushing sensation. These sensations are normal and usually go away within a few minutes. If you have a contrast allergy you might develop, sneezing, itching, or hives. Very rarely a patient becomes short of breath, develops low blood pressure or has swelling in the throat or another part of the body, indicating a more serious reaction to contrast material that must be promptly treated. If you experience any of these symptoms, inform the technologist immediately.
If you have a mild contrast allergy and require IV contrast, your doctor might choose to treat you with antihistamines (such as Benadryl) or steroids before the test. The kidneys help filter the contrast out of the body. Therefore, if you have kidney disease or diabetes, you should receive plenty of fluids before and after the test, and be closely monitored for kidney problems. If you have diabetes or are on kidney dialysis, talk to your health care provider before the test about your risks. X-ray examinations not requiring contrast administration usually take five to ten minutes.