What is an X-ray?
An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body — particularly your bones.
X-ray beams can pass through your body, but they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up as white on X-rays. The air in your lungs shows up as black. Fat and muscle look like varying shades of gray.
For some types of X-ray tests, contrast medium — such as iodine or barium — is introduced into your body to provide greater detail on the X-ray images. Some people experience side effects from contrast material. X-ray beams also expose you to small doses of radiation, but the benefits from these tests far outweigh the risks.
Your Child’s X-ray
If a young child is having an X-ray, restraints or other immobilization techniques may be used to help keep him or her still. These will not harm your child and will prevent the need for a repeat procedure, which may be necessary if the child moves during the X-ray exposure. You may be allowed to remain with your child during the test. If you remain in the room during the X-ray exposure, you’re typically asked to wear a lead apron to shield you from unnecessary exposure.