X-rays use small doses of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are especially helpful for bone fractures and joint injuries. They can also be used to find an infection, locate tumors, look for fluid in the lungs, locate the cause of an intestinal obstruction and diagnose heart and large blood vessel problems.

How You Benefit

X-ray procedures are generally painless, fast and easy. Medical X-rays have increased the ability to detect disease or injury early enough for a medical problem to be managed, treated and cured. Because X-ray imaging is fast and easy, it's particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment.

Barium X-rays use a milky substance containing barium to coat the lining of the stomach or intestines to help diagnose abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract, such as tumors, ulcers and other inflammatory conditions, polyps and hernias. These imaging procedures are sometimes referred to as upper and lower GI series.

Intravenous pyelogram, also called intravenous urography, is a diagnostic X-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

What to Expect

Learn more about X-rays in our online Health Library.