Plain Film Radiology

A plain X-ray is a simple, two-dimensional picture generated by a radiation beam that passes through the part of the body being imaged.

X-rays are used for investigating a wide range of conditions, and are particularly useful in diagnosing bone and lung disease. Plain X-rays do not provide detailed information about soft tissue structures eg ligaments, tendons and abdominal organs, which are often better imaged in other ways such as ultrasound, CT and MRI.

There is usually no special preparation ahead of time. However if you are pregnant, or think you might be, you must inform the department.

You may be asked to put on a gown and, depending on what part of the body is to be imaged, you may be asked to lie down on an X-ray table. A radiographer will position you and gently pull the X-ray machine down until it is close to but not touching your body. He or she will ask you to hold your position and then walk into the other room to work the controls that take the picture.

You may be asked to hold your breath for a short time. The radiographer may reposition you several times, depending on how many X-ray images are needed.