X-rays are used for a variety of diagnoses, including discovering the cause of unexplained pain or other symptoms of injury or disease. Conditions often diagnosed through the use of X-rays include:
- Bone injuries and disorders such as arthritis or osteoporosis
- Tooth decay
- Problems affecting the digestive tract
X-rays can be used in conjunction with orthopedic surgery to ensure that a fracture or other injury has been properly set. Such X-rays are also invaluable in the detecting abnormalities in the heart and lungs. If further testing is required, X-rays may be followed up with other diagnostic imaging techniques, such as MRI, PET, CT scans or ultrasound.
X-ray equipment emits only a small amount of radiation. The risks of radiation exposure are, therefore, quite limited and the chance that X-rays will cause cell damage or mutation is extremely low. Because a fetus is more susceptible to harm from radiation, pregnant woman should always inform their doctors before having X-rays.