The actual X-ray isn't as scary as most people think.
When the xray technologist has everything ready, they will most likely leave the immediate room or go behind a protective panel to take the picture. In a mobile situation, they may simply put on a lead vest themselves. In any of these cases, the x-ray machine will produce a tiny burst of radiation, at the safest levels possible, that passes through your body and records an image on film or on a specialized plate. You can't feel the X-ray passing through you. The actual time of taking the image is very short - about the same time you might take a picture with a camera.
Much like conventional photography, motion causes blurry images on X-rays or radiographs, and so the biggest thing you can do is to stay still. You may even be asked to hold your breath during the actual exposure, but most bone x-rays only last about one second. You may hear a slight click or noise from the machine but you should not be alarmed by the sound. At this point the actual imaging is done.
You may be repositioned for another view and the process is repeated. Two or three images, often from different angles, will typically be taken around a joint like a knee, elbow or wrist.
ABOVE: X-ray of the front of a head.
ABOVE: X-ray of thoracic spine.
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