An X-ray is a quick, painless exam that provides images of the structures inside your body — particularly your bones.

X-ray beams pass through your body, and 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.

X-rays may be taken to look at bones, lung and heart function, and digestive problems such as swallowing.

Barium, a contrast substance, may be needed to help reveal problems in your digestive system.

Redwood Area Hospital uses digital technology to capture, print and send images to your medical team.

Exam preparation: If your X-ray exam is looking at your digestive system, you may be asked not to eat or drink for a period of time before your exam. You may also need to drink a Barium drink to provide contrast during your procedure.

Notify a member of the imaging staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.

During the exam: In general, you will need to undress whatever part of your body needs an x-ray. You may wear a gown to cover yourself during the exam, depending on which area is being X-rayed. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects that may obscure the X-ray image, because these objects can show up on an X-ray.

A technologist will position your body to obtain the necessary views. During the X-ray, you remain still and you may be asked to hold your breath to avoid moving.

An X-ray procedure may take only a few minutes for a bone X-ray, or more than an hour for more-involved procedures.

After your exam:  Your scans will be sent to a radiologist at Suburban Radiology and to your referring physician. Your physician will contact you to discuss your X-ray results.