There are many reasons you might need x-rays in your lifetime—breaks, sprains, coughs, you name it! It is a tool widely used in medical offices, including each Urgency Room location. Our state-of-the-art facilities are stocked with equipment that can comprehensively and accurately assess and diagnose the coughs, aches and pains you come through our doors with. Owned and operated by the Emergency Physicians Professional Association, some of highest quality physicians in the Twin Cities put their know-how into all they do at The Urgency Room. 

Not only is each Urgency Room in Eagan, Vadnais Heights and Woodbury outfitted with the necessary equipment to ensure accurate and fast care, but each is open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM 365 days of the year. That means no matter if you are seeking care on Christmas or the weekend, our Urgency Room physicians and staff are waiting to help you now. 

Whether you have a cough that won’t go away, an allergy that’s stuffing you up or a bone you suspect is broken, The Urgency Room can help you. Along with our high-complexity labs, CT scanners and highly knowledgeable physicians, our X-ray machines could be the key to finding, assessing and diagnosing your medical needs.

What Is an X-ray?

X-rays have been around for quite some time. In 1895, German professor Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen first discovered X-rays by chance as a tube on his desk, holding a glass bulb with positive and negative electrodes, started glowing with a fluorescent light. He concluded the tube was emitting a new sort of ray, and in light of its mysterious nature, the rays were aptly named X-rays, or X-radiation.

As electromagnetic waves, X-rays have short wavelengths and high energy, which can pass through materials that visible light can’t pass through as the light waves are totally absorbed. X-rays, on the other hand, aren’t absorbed by paper, cloth or even skin. When you get an X-ray taken at the Urgency Room, X-ray-sensitive film is placed on one side of your body while X-rays are shot through you from the other. The X-rays passing through you aren’t absorbed by your skin, which is why you don’t see skin on X-rays, but dense bones, teeth and any metal in your body, absorb them. The X-ray film shows the shadows of what absorbed the rays within your body 

While X-rays pass through your body, it’s important to remember that it’s a painless and relatively harmless procedure. Some precautions are taken—you shouldn’t have an X-ray taken if you’re pregnant—but your bones won’t be affected by these tests. In fact, you won’t even feel that it’s happening.

Why You Would Have an X-ray Taken

As mentioned, X-rays are great for identifying bones, metal or other X-ray-absorbing materials within your body to identify potential problems. While X-rays are great for clearly identifying cracks or fractures in bones, they can identify many other potential medical problems as well. Some reasons you might need an X-ray include:

Bone Problems:

  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Arthritis
  • Cavities in your teeth
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone tumors for identifying cancer

Chest Problems:

  • Breast cancer
  • Enlarged heart
  • Lung infection
  • Clogged blood vessels

Abdomen Problems:

  • Miscellaneous swallowed objects
  • Digestive tract

X-ray testing is one of the best ways to examine a suspected broken bone. By taking images from multiple angles, these X-rays can show a physician what type of a break you have, the severity, and what can be done to stabilize and heal the bone. But beyond bones, X-rays are also absorbed by dense fusions, which is why arthritis and osteoporosis can be detected.

Other ailments such as sinus infections can also be keenly identified using X-ray testing. Normal, healthy sinuses are usually clear of blockage and full of air, which makes them appear black on an X-ray as nothing is present to absorb the rays. When an infection is present, the buildup of mucus or pus in the once clear sinuses will absorb rays and leave a shadow on the X-ray film. This same theory applies to detecting infections in other airways or cavities that are clear or empty when healthy.

Sometimes you may be asked to ingest or receive an injection of a contrast medium. Usually made of barium or iodine, this contrast medium absorbs X-rays and can reveal potential medical problems when examining areas like the digestive tract. In rare occasion, contrast medium can cause some side effects. X-rays requiring the aid of a contrast medium may also take longer than a standard X-ray.

After having an X-ray taken, the next step simply involves a physician or radiologist to examine the images to see exactly what the problems were as well as their extent. In the majority of instances, you can go on with your normal day-to-day activities. A typical X-ray won’t make you feel different—you shouldn’t be lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous. However, if you did ingest a contrast medium, drinking lots of fluids will help it clear from your body quicker, thus diminishing the odds of negative side effects.

Get X-rays Taken When You Need Them

If you fear you have a broken bone, your child swallowed something, or you have relentless sinus infection troubling your every breath, the last thing you want to do is sit in a waiting area for hours. When you come into the Urgency Room, you’ll be greeted by our friendly staff and seen by our knowledgeable physicians in a fraction of the time you would wait elsewhere. Our convenient locations in Eagan, Vadnais Heights and Woodbury have everything to help you with your urgent medical needs. Don’t wait to get an X-ray taken any longer. If you’re in the Twin Cities, come to your nearest Urgency Room today.