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An X-ray is one of the most common types of medical imaging and was the first type of medical imaging to be discovered.
In 1895, a German scientist named Wilhelm Roentgen first observed electromagnetic energy waves that were more energetic than light rays, calling them “X-rays.” He realized these X-rays could penetrate soft body tissue but were absorbed by dense material like bone, making the internal structures of the body visible without surgery.
After that discovery, X-rays were used more and more in medicine, leading to the need for professionals to operate the machines and interpret the images. X-rays are now available in a variety of locations such as hospitals, urgent care centres, medical imaging clinics, and some doctor’s offices.
Today, X-rays help health care practitioners make a diagnosis and inform care decisions. They are routinely requested to investigate concerns like pain or swelling. X-rays can detect injuries or deformities of bones, identify foreign objects in the body, or evaluate obstruction of the sinuses, lungs, and intestines.
Once your doctor has identified the need for an X-ray, you will be given a requisition form. X-rays are offered in the community on a walk-in basis at any medical imaging clinic and appointments are not required for general X-ray procedures. Simply bring your form with you.
Depending on the area being examined, you may be asked to change into a gown. You will be asked to remove any metal objects, such as jewelry, watches, hair clips, pins, and clothes with metal buttons, zippers, or snaps. Since X-rays use radiation, women between the ages of 11-55 will be asked about the possibility of pregnancy, and the technologist will use lead shielding whenever possible, unless it obscures the area of interest.
You will be positioned by one of our compassionate and experienced technologists, and will need to remain still while the X-ray image is being taken by state-of-the-art imaging technology. Sometimes padded props may be used to help you hold a specific position. More than one X-ray view may be taken, sometimes from different angles. You may also be required to hold your breath.
Please let us know if you have any mobility limitations when booking your exam. We do not have patient lifts at any of our locations, so, unfortunately, you will need to visit a hospital if you need one.
The X-ray itself is not painful, if you are experiencing pain, you may feel some discomfort if you need to hold a certain position. The exam should take about 15 minutes, depending on the body part to be imaged.
Once the technologist has confirmed that the necessary number of images has been taken and that they are of good quality, you will be free to leave.
Your X-ray images will be reviewed by a specialized radiologist who will compile a report that is sent to your doctor within 24 hours, sooner for urgent requests. Mayfair Diagnostics is owned and operated by over 50 radiologists who are sub-specialized in many key areas, such as neuroradiology, body, cardiac, musculoskeletal, etc. This allows for an expert review of your imaging by the applicably trained radiologist.
Your images will also be uploaded to a provincial picture archiving and communication system (PACS) – this technology provides electronic storage and convenient access to your medical images from multiple sources, such as your doctor, specialists, hospitals, walk-in clinics, etc.
Your doctor will review your X-rays and the report from the radiologist and discuss next steps with you, such as a treatment plan or the need for further diagnostic imaging or lab tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
For a list of Mayfair Diagnostics locations that perform X-rays, please visit our service page. Mayfair offers walk-in X-ray services in Regina and 11 convenient locations in Calgary. Please note, X-ray is not offered at our Cochrane, Saskatoon, Southcentre, or Sunpark clinics.
History.com Editors (2020) “German scientist discovers X-rays.” www.history.com. Accessed March 4, 2022.
Government of Alberta (2021) “Adult X-Ray: About This Test.” MyHealth.Alberta.ca. Accessed March 4, 2022.