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Diagnostic X-ray in Scottsdale


An X-ray creates images of the inside components of your body, most notably your bones.

X-ray beams flow through your body, and depending on the density of the material they pass through, they are absorbed in different amounts. On X-rays, bones and metal appear white, air (like in your lungs) will appear black, and soft tissue (fat, muscle) will show up in gray.

In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, a German mechanical engineer and physicist, [1] invented x-rays. In 1901, Röntgen earned a Nobel Prize in Physics. [2] Since then, x-rays have saved many lives and are invaluable tools used to detect abnormalities and make early diagnosis of disease or injury.

How Do X-rays Work?

Collage of X-Rays

Diagnostic X-rays

Why treatment done?

Many regions of the body are examined using X-rays. From bones and teeth to fractures and tumors, x-rays help in diagnosis of a multitude of pathologies. [3]

what can x-ray show? X-rays are commonly used to asses:

  • Certain types of cancers
  • spinal tumor [4]
  • bone cancer
  • arthritis in hip [5]
  • hip problems
  • arthritis [5]
  • gout [6]
  • fractures [4]
  • dislocations

X-rays are great for fractured bones or decaying teeth, but if you have a problem with your soft tissues (liver, kidney, intestines) other imaging procedures are more useful. [7]

X-ray is not a great option for torn ligaments in your knee or a torn rotator cuff in your shoulder. MRI is more suitable for soft tissue problems like a torn ligament in the ankle. When assessing for herniated discs, MRI is also chosen because it allows the doctor to examine the bones in your spine, the spinal cord and the discs.

Risks/Complications of treatment

While diagnostic X-ray procedures are generally safe and very effective, there is some exposure to radiation; however, the benefits of early detection and treatment far outweigh the risks. [8] X-ray imaging, uses ionizing radiation which contains enough energy to potentially cause DNA damage. Risks include:

  • Radiation exposure. Can cause a small increase in the possibility of developing cancer later in life. [8] According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the risk of cancer from X-ray radiation is dependent on: [8]
    • Dose: The higher the dose and the more X-ray exams a patient receives, the greater their lifetime risk of cancer.
    • Age: Patients who have X-rays at a younger age have a higher lifetime risk of cancer than those who have them at an older age.
    • Sex: After getting the same doses at the same ages, women are at a slightly higher lifetime risk of acquiring radiation-related cancer than men.
    • Area of the body: Some organs are more vulnerable to radiation than others.

Rarely, x-rays can cause:

  • Cataracts, skin burns, hair loss. can happen at very high doses. [8]

X-ray imaging isn’t for everyone. Your doctor might caution against x-rays if you:

How you prepare

Before you have x-rays taken, your doctor will likely:

  • Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions in regards your condition, to prior treatment interventions, current medications, current or prior conditions, family history, etc.
  • Do a physical exam. an exam may include: vital signs, range of motion testing, or orthopedic testing.
  • Discuss your expectations. Talk about reasons for seeking treatment, risks, how many treatments you might need, and how long it will take for results.

Food and medications

  • There are no special precautions on diet or medications.

Clothing and personal items

  • Because jewelry, eyeglasses, and other metal objects can show up on an X-ray, you may be asked to remove them.

Before the procedure, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are pregnant or possibly pregnant

What to expect/How is the treatments administered?

There is no pain involved during x-rays.  

The physician will position the patient against a panel that holds x-ray film.  The patient is instructed to hold still for a few seconds while the x-ray is taken so that the image does not come out blurry.  

2-5 x-rays are taken at different angles of each area being x-rayed.  

Once all of the x-rays are taken, the physician may ask you to wait a minute until all the images are developed.  

Depending on the number of areas being x-rayed, the exam can take 5-20 minutes.

After a treatment

You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after x-rays.  There are not usually any side effects with x-rays but your physician may schedule a time to go over the results.


X-rays need to be interpreted.  The doctor spends additional time combing through each aspect of the x-rays looking for a variety of pathologies and assessing your current condition.  A report is typically written into your notes by the doctor or is sent to a specialist for advanced reading.  Since our x-rays are digital, they are easily accessible and can also be sent to other offices upon request.


Can I get an x-ray without insurance?

  • We take a variety of payment methods including cash, credit and debit cards.

Can I get an x-ray without referral or order?

  • You do not need an order to get an x-ray with us.


  1. Historiek. (2020, January 5). Wilhelm Röntgen (1845–1923) – Ontdekker röntgenstraling. https://historiek.net/wilhelm-rontgen-ontdekker-rontgenstraling/550/
  2. Novelize, Robert. Squire's Fundamentals of Radiology. Harvard University Press. 5th edition. 1997. ISBN 0-674-83339-2 p. 1
  3. Tafti D, Maani CV. X-ray Production. [Updated 2021 Aug 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537046/
  4. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). (n.d.). X-rays. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/x-rays
  5. Godfrey M. F. (1948). X-RAY DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPY IN ARTHRITIS. California medicine, 69(1), 16–18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18731484/
  6. Calthrop, L. C. E. (1932). CHRONIC RHEUMATISM. BMJ, 2(3730), 32. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.3730.32
  7. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2018, July 4). diagnostic imaging | Definition & Types. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/diagnostic-imaging
  8. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (2020, September 28). Medical X-ray Imaging. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/medical-imaging/medical-x-ray-imaging
  9. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (2017, December 9). X-Rays, Pregnancy and You. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/medical-x-ray-imaging/x-rays-pregnancy-and-you

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