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Our Approach to Diagnostic Care

Do you or a loved one need an X-ray? X-rays are a common, effective and safe way for your provider to view and diagnose medical problems. MaineHealth offers a complete set of medical imaging services that are supported by board-certified radiologists and specially trained technicians. Contact your provider immediately or visit your local urgent care or emergency room, if you believe you or your loved one may have a broken bone or other medical problem that needs to be examined and treated.

What are X-rays?

X-rays allow medical providers to see the inside of your body. X-rays are especially helpful in providing images of a patient’s bones. X-rays are quick, safe and effective. X-rays use electromagnetic waves, which are absorbed differently by each tissue. The X-rays show white when a structure absorbs more radiation. This is why bones look white, muscle and fat look gray, and air looks black. Sometimes a dye is used to highlight different areas of the body in the X-ray. The dye is made of iodine or barium. It can help show the X-ray image in greater detail. It is given by shot or swallowed, and then spreads throughout the body.

X-rays often check for broken bones. They also can help to diagnose:

  • Pneumonia

  • Breast cancer

  • Cancer and tumors

  • Osteoporosis

  • Dental decay

  • Heart issues

  • Arthritis

  • Infections

  • Digestive tract issues

  • Abnormal objects swallowed or inhaled

Your doctor will explain the reason for the X-ray. Your doctor may order an X-ray to rule out or confirm a condition.

X-rays give off small doses of radiation. It is best not to expose unborn babies to X-rays. Tell your doctor if you are or could be pregnant before your procedure. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to contrast material (barium or iodine). Keep your technician and doctor updated on how you are feeling after you are given the contrast material.