What are X-rays?

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can be passed through the body to project an image on either a piece of film or a digital detector. It is generally quick and painless to perform and is particularly useful for examining the bones and the lungs. A mammogram is a special type of x-ray examination for examining the breast tissue.


While often useful as a first line test, X-rays have limitations in the types of conditions that can be diagnosed. Small lung cancers for example, may not visible on a chest x-ray. The solid organs in the abdomen, brain and spinal cord are some parts of the body that cannot be seen on conventional x-rays. Newer imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT and MRI scans were developed to overcome these limitations.


How to Prepare for an X-ray

Most general x-ray examinations don’t require any special preparation although you may be asked to remove any objects such as jewelry or spectacles that may show up on the X-ray. You may also be asked to remove some clothing and wear a special gown during the X-ray.


Women should always inform the x-ray technologist or physician if there is any possibility they may be pregnant, to avoid exposing the fetus to radiation. In circumstances where an X-ray is necessary, steps are taken to minimise exposure to the fetus.

Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's and Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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