X-rays are electromagnetic waves. When they are passed through a patient's body to a photographic film on the other side, they create a picture of internal body structures called a radiograph.
Chest radiographs, which are among the most common imaging tests, can reveal abnormalities of the lungs, such as pneumonia, tumor, or fluid; of the heart, such as congestive heart failure or enlarged heart; and of the rib cage, such as broken or abnormal bones.
Other common types of X-ray examinations include abdominal studies, which can reveal abnormalities of not just the abdomen but also the liver, spleen, gallbladder, and kidneys; gastrointestinal studies of the upper or lower GI tract; studies of the joints to assess things like arthritis and sports injuries; and mammograms, which can help detect breast cancer with the use of special X-ray equipment.
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