For most conventional x-rays, the risk of cancer or defects due to damaged ovarian cells or sperm cells is very low. Most experts feel that this low risk is largely outweighed by the benefits of information gained from appropriate imaging. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image.
Young children and fetuses are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays. Women should tell health care providers if they think they are pregnant.
For additional information regarding why the test is performed and normal and abnormal results, please see the specific x-ray topics:
Mettler FA. Introduction: an approach to image interpretation. In: Mettler FA, ed. Essentials of Radiology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 1.
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