An X-ray is an imaging test that is often used to vividly view the inside of the body without subjecting a patient to an invasive procedure. They are one the main tools medical professionals use to monitor, diagnose, and treat patients who have sustained injuries in car accidents.
During the Procedure
X-rays are standard procedures that don’t require tons of preparation. If a doctor needs to examine a patient’s gastrointestinal tract, they may need to fast before an x-ray is conducted, but this rare. Patients are encouraged to wear loose-fitting clothing while undergoing the procedure so they are comfortable, but a patient’s choice in clothes will not affect results. However, medical professionals may suggest that patients remove jewelry or other metallic items before an x-ray is initiated.
In preparation for an x-ray, a doctor will walk you through the process of preparing a “contrast dye” – a substance that will help improve the quality of an image on a monitor. The dye will either be provided through a drinkable liquid, as an enema, or in the form of an injection. Once a patient is fully prepared, a technician will ask them to lie, sit or stand in particular positions during the test, depending on which position will result in the clearest image. Then, the technician will proceed to take images while a patient remains in front of a specialized image that contains sensors and files. The test will be finished as soon as a medical professional is satisfied with the images taken.
Types of X-Rays
X-rays come in numerous forms, depending on what part of the body a medical professional plans to examine and treat. The following variations of x-rays could be recommended to a patient who has been injured in a car accident:
Fluoroscopy – A fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray that is used to diagnose and treat patients who have undergone catheter insertions, enemas, or the placement of other devices within the body. During this procedure, a beam is passed through the body while a patient lies still. An image is continually shown on a monitor so that doctors can clearly see the movement of a body part, instrument or device within a patient in detail.
Computed Tomography Scans (CT) – For a CT, a patient is required to lie still on a table while they enter a large, ring-shaped scanner. Beams pass through the patient in a fan-like motion in order to take a group of images or “slices,” which are then developed into a 3D picture of the inside of the body. A high dose of x-rays is used during this procedure because many images are taken at once.
Chest x-rays – When radiation is used to produce images of inside of the chest. Normally, doctors use this x-ray to examine the chest wall, heart, and lungs. When conducted, it has been known to aid in diagnosing conditions such as pneumonia, cancer in the lungs, and emphysema.
Abdomen x-rays – Pictures of the abdomen, or the stomach, are produced with the help of this type of x-ray. When medical professionals are looking to clearly examine the stomach, intestines, spleen, kidney and bladder, they will most likely use this machine. Symptoms that rapidly emerge and are unexplained, like nausea and vomiting, are diagnosed with a root cause when physicians use this machine.
Teeth x-rays – Dental x-rays display images of soft tissue, teeth, and bones in the mouth and jaw of a patient. Dentists are able to see hidden issues like osteoporosis, fractures and bone loss that may not be easily seen by the naked eye. There are several other small x-rays that are used in the mouth to closely examine intricate details, some of which include: bitewing x-rays, periapical x-rays, occlusal x-rays, panoramic x-rays, and digital x-rays.
Risks Associated with X-Rays
Many people shy away from undergoing x-rays because of the risks associated with these procedures. Studies reveal that they have the ability to cause mutations in patients’ DNA, exposing them to radiation and increasing the chances of them developing cancer it later in life. In fact, for this reason, the U.S. government and the World Health Organization have categorized x-rays as a carcinogen – an agent directly involved in causing cancer. Experts estimate that about .04% of cancers in the nation are linked to CT scans and scientists are expecting this number to rise with an increase in its widespread use. It has also been estimated that x-rays will increase the risk of acquiring cancer by a maximum of 1.8%.
Despite the risks, doctors have discovered that the benefits provided by x-ray technology exceed the negative consequences in the cases of most patients. Also, risks vary depending on the type of x-ray used on specific parts of the body. If a patient is pregnant or suspects that they might be pregnant, a doctor may consider using an alternative imaging test, an ultrasound. In addition, patients injected with a contrast medium often experience side effects such as a metallic taste, nausea, itching, hives, lightheadedness, and a feeling of warmth or flushing. More severe side effects include very low blood pressure, cardiac arrest and anaphylactic shock.
Compensation for Treatment Costs
If you have suffered an injury that requires you to take an x-ray, you may be entitled to recovering damages for medical treatments. In the event that you pursue a medical claim, you could possibly be compensated for medical expenses, wages lost from missing work, and other fees associated with your injury.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we understand that it doesn’t take long for medical expenses to become costly. You deserve an advocate that can help you win the compensation you deserve while you recover from your injuries. Contact us today at (303) 825-2223 today for a consultation.