When is an x-ray necessary?

Dr. Nancy Calsolaro Smulsky
Ambulatory Care Specialist

X-rays are used to confirm and assist healthcare practitioners to make a diagnosis and to inform care decisions.

X-rays are used:

  • to detect injury to bones such as fractures
  • to identify bone deformities
  • verify healing of bones
  • verify healing after surgical implants such as knee and hip replacements
  • verify placement of other medical devices such as implantable pumps and catheters
  • sinus x-rays to detect infection

X-rays are also used to identify conditions related to some of the more dense tissues in our body:

  • lungs (pneumonia, bronchitis, foreign body)
  • intestines (obstruction, or presence of air in the bowel)
  • gall stones
  • kidney stones

Your healthcare practitioner will determine if x-rays are warranted. For example, a diagnosis of a sinus infection may be based on your symptoms; negating the need for an x-ray.

Continue Learning about X-Ray Imaging

Do I need x-rays or other images taken for phantom limb pain?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
In general, diagnosis is made based on a person's report of their symptoms and history, and sometime...
More Answers
What is a spine x-ray?
Spine x-rays are pictures of the bones of the spine that are used to diagnose diseases or to view th...
More Answers
What is an angiogram?
Dr. John C. Lipman, MDDr. John C. Lipman, MD
An angiogram is an x-ray study of the arteries or veins in a specific area of the body that the inte...
More Answers
How long does an x-ray take?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
Plain film radiography (x-ray) is safe, noninvasive, and quickly performed. The average exam tak...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.