Health care is always introducing a new technology for patient care, but x-rays remain an extremely useful tool for health care professionals. They can help to identify problems with bones, organs, and structures.

Chest x-rays, for example, show your heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, lymph nodes, the spine, breastbone, ribs, collarbone, and the upper part of your spine. They’re the most common imaging test used to find problems inside the chest.

X-rays may often be a first step. If they are abnormal or do not provide enough information, additional tests may be performed.

Why Are X-rays Completed?

X-rays are painless and low-risk, and may be used to:

  • Help find the cause of common symptoms
  • Find particular conditions and monitor treatment
  • Find some problems and monitor treatment
  • Look for ancillary problems from injuries, locate foreign objects, or see if medical devices are in the proper position

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