What is General Radiography (X-ray)

A general radiography (X-ray) can be done on the chest, abdomen, pelvis, skull and extremity. It involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce an image of the internal organs. When x-rays penetrate the body, they are absorbed in varying amounts by different parts of the anatomy. Ribs and bones, for example, will absorb much of the radiation and, therefore, appear white or light gray on the image. Lung tissue and other internal organs absorb lesser radiation and appear darker on the image. In this manner a “picture” of the body part is formed.

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What are some common uses of General Radiography?

Chest and bone x-rays are very common examinations.

A chest x-ray is usually done for the evaluation of lungs, heart and surrounding anatomy.

Bone x-ray is the fastest and easiest way for a physician to view and assess broken bones, cracked skull and injured backbone. At least two films are taken of a bone, and often three films if the problem is around a joint(Knee, elbow or wrist).

What should I prepare for the procedure?

The procedure requires no special preparation. As x-rays are involved, it is not advisable for women who are pregnant, especially in early pregnancy. To prevent unnecessary irradiation of fetus, female patients will be asked of their last menstrual period. This is especially important in examination of the lower abdomen and pelvis. Generally, 10 days from the beginning of the last menstrual period is considered safe period for x-ray examinations.

How is the procedure performed?

You may be requested to change into an x-ray gown to avoid metallic items, buttons and zippers. You will also be asked to remove jewellery, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that could obscure the image.

Once you are positioned in the required pose with the x-ray plate, you may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it or just to hold your breath and keep still. The radiographer will go to another small room or cubicle and activate the x-ray equipment which will send a beam of x-rays to the positioned area. You need to keep still as any movement will lead to an unsharp picture and an accurate diagnosis cannot be made.

When the x-rays are completed you will be asked to wait until the radiographer and radiologist examine the images to determine if more are needed.

What will I experience during the procedure?

This is a painless procedure. The only discomfort results from the coldness of the x-ray plate. Sometimes to get a clear image of an injury, you may be asked to hold onto an uncomfortable position for a short time. Any movement could blur the image and make it necessary to repeat the procedure to get a useful, clear picture.

When can I expect results?

The radiologist (specialist doctor) will review the image and the report will be sent to your doctor who will then discuss the scan results with you. If requested by your doctor, the films may be handed directly to you to return to your doctor.

What are the Benefits and Risks?

  • X-ray imaging is useful to diagnose bone and joint injury and disease, such as fractures, infections, arthritis and cancer.
  • Because x-ray imaging is fast and easy, it is particularly useful in emergency diagnosis and treatment.
  • X-ray equipment is relatively inexpensive and widely available in physician offices, ambulatory care centers, nursing homes and other locations, making it convenient for both patients and physicians.

  • Exposure to x-radiation. During a single x-ray exposure, a patient is exposed to about 0.06-2mSv of radiation dose. To put this into perspective, we are all exposed to approximately 3mSv of radiation dose each year from sources like the ultraviolet rays of the sun and small traces of radioactive isotopes, such as uranium found in soil.
  • Women should always inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.


Radiology Department,
Gleneagles Hospital

6A Napier Road
Singapore 258500
Tel: (65) 6470 5730
Fax: (65) 6470 5749

Radiology Department,
Mount Elizabeth Hospital

3 Mount Elizabeth, Level 2
Singapore 228510
Tel: (65) 6731 2100
Fax: (65) 6732 3368

Radiology Department,
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

38 Irrawady Road, Level 2
Singapore 329563
Tel: (65) 6933 1188
Fax: (65) 6933 0526

Radiology Department,
Parkway East Hospital
321 Joo Chiat Place
Singapore 427990
Tel: (65) 6340 8714
Fax: (65) 6340 8670

Radiologic Clinic,
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
3 Mount Elizabeth #01-01/02 
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510
Tel: (65) 6731 2727
Fax: (65) 6235 5279

Radiologic Clinic,
Breast Imaging Centre
290 Orchard Road
#07-04/05/06 Paragon
Singapore 238859
Tel: (65) 6732 1166
Fax: (65) 6732 5933

Radiologic Clinic,

6A Napier Road #02-25/26 
Gleneagles Hospital
Singapore 258500
Tel: (65) 6476 1151
Fax: (65) 6471 1151

Radiologic Clinic,
Novena Medical Center
10 Sinaran Drive #08-02/03/04 
Novena Medical Center
Singapore 307506
Tel: (65) 6397 6686
Fax: (65) 6397 6696

Radiologic Clinic,
Collyer Quay Branch
11 Collyer Quay
#18-02 The Arcade
Singapore 049317
Tel: (65) 6507 9750
Fax: (65) 6224 0861

Radiologic Clinic,
Jurong East
130 Jurong Gateway Road, #01-219
Singapore 600130
Tel: (65) 6569 0300
Fax: (65) 6569 7593

Radiologic Clinic,
Health Promotion Board
3 Second Hospital Avenue
Singapore 168937
Tel: (65) 6533 2721
Fax: (65) 6533 0125
For more information, please visit our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.