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Diagnostic Radiology (X-ray)

Radiology - Diagnostic X-rayAn x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.

An X-ray imaging procedure, also called "radiography," can be used to examine bones and joints, as well as soft tissues and organs.

How do X-rays work?

An x-ray machine produces a small burst of radiation that passes through the your body. Different parts of the body absorb the x-rays in varying degrees.


Until recently, these bursts recorded an image on photographic film. These days, though, the image is recorded on a special digital image recording plate.


Digital x-ray files are stored electronically. These stored images are easily accessible and are frequently compared to current x-ray images for diagnosis and disease management.

What is fluoroscopy, and how does it work?

Fluoroscopy is an examination of the tissues and deep structures of the body, using live x-ray.


In a fluoroscopy procedure, you receive a "contrast" (such as barium if ingested, or isoview if injected). Then, the radiologist observes through a live x-ray how the contrast moves through your body to diagnose any problems or obstructions.


Patient Radiation and Safety Information

Radiology facilities at University of Colorado Hospital make imaging safety our number one priority. We take every precaution necessary to make sure that you are safe during your imaging test or procedure.

Other Resources

Find out more about X-ray procedures