award png

Your X-ray 

Following your consultation at LBSM, you may have been referred for an X-ray.

This guide takes you through the relevant information about what to expect during this process. Please take the time to read it carefully.

After you have had your X-ray, you will have the opportunity to go through the results in detail with the clinical team and work out the next steps together.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about anything to do with the process of getting your scan.

Quick links

  1. What is an X-ray 
  2. How X-rays work 
  3. When X-rays are used 
  4. Preparing for an X-ray 
  5. Having an X-ray 
  6. Contrast X-rays 
  7. What happens after an X-ray 
  8. Are X-rays safe? 

What is an X-ray 

An X-ray is a quick and painless procedure commonly used to produce images of the inside of the body. 

It’s a very effective way of looking at the bones and can be used to help detect a range of conditions.

X-rays are usually carried out in hospital X-ray departments by trained specialists called radiographers, although they can also be done by other healthcare professionals, such as dentists. 

How X-rays work 

X-rays are a type of radiation that can pass through the body. They can’t be seen by the naked eye and you can’t feel them. 

As they pass through the body, the energy from X-rays is absorbed at different rates by different parts of the body. A detector on the other side of the body picks up the X-rays after they’ve passed through and turns them into an image. 

Dense parts of your body that X-rays find it more difficult to pass through, such as bone, show up as clear white areas on the image. Softer parts that X-rays can pass through more easily, such as your heart and lungs, show up as darker areas. 

When X-rays are used 

X-rays can be used to examine most areas of the body. They’re mainly used to look at the bones and joints, although they’re sometimes used to detect problems affecting soft tissue, such as internal organs. 

In a Sports Medicine and musculoskeletal clinic setting, problems that may be detected during an X-ray include: 

  • Bone fractures and breaks 
  • Bone stress injuries 
  • Arthritis 
  • Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) 
  • Leg length 
  • Non-cancerous and cancerous bone tumours 
  • Lung problems, such as collapsed lung and rib injury 

You may be asked to have your X-ray at a single designated time or at different time intervals e.g. to monitor fracture healing. You also may be asked to have an X-ray immediately before your LBSM doctor appointment (also known as an X-ray on arrival), so that the results are ready for the appointment.

Preparing for an X-ray

You don’t usually need to do anything special to prepare for an X-ray. You can eat and drink as normal beforehand and can continue taking your usual medications.

However, you may need to stop taking certain medications and avoid eating and drinking for a few hours if you’re having an X-ray that uses a contrast agent (see contrast X-rays below). Your LBSM doctor will give you more details if this is the case for you.

For all X-rays, you should let the hospital know if you’re pregnant. X-rays aren’t usually recommended if you’re pregnant unless it’s an emergency.

It’s a good idea to wear loose comfortable clothes, as you may be able to wear these during the X-ray. Try to avoid wearing jewellery and clothes containing metal (such as zips), as these will need to be removed.

Having an X-ray 

During an X-ray, you’ll usually be asked to lie on a table or stand against a flat surface so that the part of your body being examined can be positioned in the right place. Sometimes you will be asked to stand or carry weights in order to get a weight bearing view.  

The X-ray machine, which looks like a tube containing a large light bulb, will be carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined by the radiographer. They will operate the machine from behind a screen or from the next room. 

The X-ray will last for a fraction of a second. You won’t feel anything while it’s carried out. 

While the X-ray is being taken, you’ll need to keep still so the image produced isn’t blurred. More than one X-ray may be taken from different angles to provide as much information as possible 

The procedure will usually only take a few minutes. 

Contrast X-rays 

In some cases, a substance called a contrast agent may be given before an X-ray is carried out. This can help show soft tissues more clearly on the X-ray. Your LBSM doctor will let you know if this is applicable to you. 

These types of X-rays may need special preparation beforehand and will usually take longer to carry out. Your appointment letter will mention anything you need to do to prepare. 

What happens after an X-ray 

You won’t experience any after effects from a standard X-ray and will be able to go home shortly afterwards. You can return to your normal activities straight away. 

You may have some temporary side effects from the contrast agent if one was used during your X-ray. 

You will get the opportunity to discuss your X-ray with an LBSM doctor after it has been taken, either on the same day or a different appointment. 

Are X-rays safe? 

People are often concerned about being exposed to radiation during an X-ray. However, the part of your body being examined will only be exposed to a low level of radiation for a fraction of a second. 

Generally, the amount of radiation you’re exposed to during an X-ray is the equivalent to between a few days and a few years of exposure to natural radiation from the environment. 

Being exposed to X-rays does carry a risk of causing cancer many years or decades later, but this risk is thought to be very small. 

For example, an X-ray of your chest, limbs or teeth is equivalent to a few days’ worth of background radiation, and has less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of causing cancer. For more information, see GOV.UK: patient dose information

The benefits and risks of having an X-ray will be weighed up before it’s recommended. Talk to your doctor or radiographer about the potential risks beforehand, if you have any concerns. 

Talk to your doctor or radiographer about the potential risks beforehand if you have any concerns. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about the process of getting your scan, or the scan itself. Look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.   

The information in this article has been cited from www.nhs.uk to align with best clinical practice standards.

Recent posts
Subscribe to the free sports medicine newsletter

The medical world can sometimes be daunting. Our experts discuss the latest medical updates in the sport, health and fitness world, and break it down for you into and an easy to understand, digestible summary. And of course, it’s free.

If you have a particular health care question in mind, please get in touch to let us know and we will do our best to guide you.

The LBSM newsletter, written by our doctors, for our patients.

ISOBAR Referral

ISOBAR Referral Form
  • Patient Details
  • Clinician Details
  • Garments
    • Payment
    Patient Address
    Patient Address
    City
    County
    Postal Code
    Country
    Orla Mulligan
    Administration and Social Media Manager
    Administration, LBSM

    Orla Mulligan is the administration and social media manager for LBSM. She has a strong background in sport having herself played netball at an elite standard for the U21s Northern Ireland team in the European Championships as well as the U21s competition for Saracen Mavericks.

    She understands youth sport pathways having herself played and training in the netball Kent regional pathway. She has a keen interest in most sports and a good understanding of how injury and illness can impact on the mind and body, as well as rehabilitation pathways.

    She looks forward to speaking and assisting LBSM patients and gives her best support to them during their treatment pathway.

    A day in the life of Orla involves communicating with patients via phone and email, managing and organising clinics, operations and media management.

    Outside of work, Orla is a gym enthusiast, enjoys tennis and still finds the time for an occasional game of netball.

    Maddie Tait
    BSc, MSc
    Associate, LBSM
    Musculoskeletal and Sports Podiatrist

    Maddie treats and manages complex foot and ankle injuries in London and Surrey.

    She is particularly interested in helping her patients improve their quality of life and achieve their personal goals, working closely with Foot and Ankle Consultants, Sports Medicine Doctors and Physiotherapists.

    Maddie has a sporting background herself having previously represented England in Hockey. She understands the demands of elite sport and the importance of physical and mental health. In her spare time, Maddie continues to enjoy an active lifestyle by running, cycling and attending a Pilates class.

    Having graduated from University of Brighton with a MSc (hons) in Podiatry, Maddie focused her career in Podiatric Sports Injuries and Biomechanics. Previously she completed a BSc (hons) in Sport Science at Loughborough University.

    A day in the life of Maddie involves consulting patients in clinic, performing gait and biomechanical assessments, measuring and fitting orthotics and braces. She also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine and podiatry conferences.

    Outside of work, Maddie still finds time to play hockey and enjoys running and skiing.

    Mr Prakash Saha
    MBBS, PhD, FRCS
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Vascular Surgery

    Mr Prakash Saha is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at LBSM. He takes pride in providing the best possible results for his patients by using the most appropriate non-surgical and surgical methods based on clinical evidence, patient results and satisfaction.

    He treats fit and active people suffering with a range of cardiovascular issues, from painful leg swelling associated with exercise to venous insufficiency, post-thrombotic syndrome and leg ulcers. He also treats people with arterial system problems including poor circulation, compression syndromes and aneurysms. He carries out both endovascular and open aortic repair and has some of the best outcomes in the country.

    Mr Saha studied medicine at the United Medical & Dental Schools at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals before completing his higher surgical training in London and the South East. During this time, he was awarded the prestigious NIHR Clinical Lectureship in Vascular Surgery at St. Thomas’ Hospital, giving him comprehensive training in open and endovascular techniques for treating arterial and venous disease. Prakash completed his aortic surgery training at the St. George’s Vascular Institute before carrying out a specialist fellowship at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

    Mr Saha regularly lectures and runs workshops across the globe on the latest surgical techniques to treat vascular disease. He has also been awarded a number of research grants from the Royal College of Surgeons, the Circulation Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the British Heart Foundation, which has led to over 80 publications and the development of innovative technologies to help treat patients. For this work, Prakash has received a number of prizes, including the Venous Forum prize from the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, an International Young Investigator Award, and an Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

    A day in the life of Mr Saha involves seeing patients in clinic, operating in surgical theatre or lecturing at his university. He also regularly teaches and presents at vascular and sports medicine conferences.

    Mr Saha is an avid cyclist and tennis player (although yet to get a set of Dr Seth!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family who consists of 3 children and enjoys travelling.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran
    MBBS, FRCR
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Sports and Musculoskeletal Radiology

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is a Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist at LBSM, with an extensive background of working in elite sport. He is one of the most recognised radiologists in the sports medicine field. He provides top level imaging and medical diagnostic services for patients and athletes.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran completed his undergraduate medical training at Imperial College London and his radiology training at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. He has obtained two post-CCT fellowships in musculoskeletal imaging. He was appointed as a consultant at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in 2011.

    He has a passion for all sports having worked as a radiologist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and London World Athletic Championships and continues to support The Championships, Wimbledon. He also continues to work with a number of Premier League and Championship Football Clubs, Premier League Rugby Clubs, England Sevens Rugby, British Athletics and the Lawn Tennis Association.

    A day in the life of Dr Rajeswaran involves giving his expert opinion on investigations such as MRI and CT scans, x-rays and ultrasound. He also performs injection lists under ultrasound, CT and X-ray including spinal injections. He also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine conferences.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is an avid football fan and life-long fan of Tottenham Hotspur (for which he offers no apologies!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family and has a keen passion for photography.

    Dr Ajai Seth
    MBBS, BSc, MSc, MRCS, MRCGP, FFSEM
    Medical Director, LBSM
    Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine

    Dr Ajai Seth is a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician. He has dedicated his career to helping people with sport and exercise related injury and illness. He consults and treats everyone from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior.

    Dr Ajai Seth is part of the British Tennis Sports Physician team at the LTA and has also provided cover to elite athletes at Wimbledon Tennis, European Tour Golf, Premier League Football, British Athletics, and the Men’s England Football academies as part of the FA.

    He also prides himself for working in disability sport and is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Team GB Wheelchair Tennis which has taken him to the Olympics and Paralympics.

    Dr Ajai Seth is dedicated to education, training and research and is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Medicine at King’s College London where he lectures in all aspects of Sports Medicine and Science.

    He also has a passion for travel and Expedition Medicine, which has seen him accompany medical, scientific and charity expeditions all around the world. He also has vast experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries from children and adolescents to veteran exercisers, both male and female.

    Dr Seth also has positions in leading Sport Medicine organisations, including the non-executive board for the UK’s largest Sports Medicine charity, BASEM and Past President for the Royal Society of Medicine. 

    A day in the working life of Dr Seth involves consulting his patients in clinic, performing diagnostics and ultrasound guided injections. He also regularly lectures and tutors students and presents at sports medicine conferences internationally. He also spends part of the working week at the National Tennis Centre, LTA, supporting British Tennis players.

    Outside of work, Dr Seth enjoys playing club tennis, triathlon, golf, running and skiing (but will give any sport a go!). He enjoys keeping fit and active and good quality family time with his wife and three children.