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X-rays were discovered in 1895 and are used in low doses to produce images that help to diagnose and manage diseases. Modern X-ray departments produce digital images for easy evaluation and storage. To produce a digital radiograph, X-ray photons move through the exposed body part where the bony structures absorb most of the X-ray photons by photoelectric processes. The remaining X-ray photons that pass through the body are captured by a detector and converted into a visible image.
Radiation Safety is a priority. A quality assurance (QA) programme with regular radiation safety tests ensures we adhere to the most rigorous of global standards. It is also important to inform the Radiography team if you are possibly pregnant as precautions need to be taken.
WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE ENTAIL?
Upon arrival, you will be required to fill in an information form. It is important to have your referral letter and Medical Aid details available to indicate to us what examination must be performed. Once the information is entered into the system, you will be called and required to change into an X-ray gown. When inside the X-ray room, please follow the radiographer’s instructions carefully.
The use of X-rays as a treatment is known as radiation therapy and is largely used for the management of cancer; it requires higher radiation energies than for imaging alone.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR AN X-RAY STUDY?
On confirmation of your appointment, you will be informed of any special preparations required for your procedure.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
In general, all radiation exposure to patients should be kept to a minimum as X-rays – or the over-exposure – are carcinogenic. The amount of radiation exposure from an occasional X-ray bears limited risk. X-rays may prove to be a potential risk to a pregnant woman and the fetus, particularly in the first trimester, and you should therefore inform the radiography team who will then consider other potential methods of imaging, such as an ultrasound.