An individual prepares for an X-ray by removing clothing from the part of the body being X-rayed, as well as taking off eyeglasses, jewelry and accessories with metal objects that may appear in the X-ray, according to the Mayo Clinic. The patient may also be given a contrasting medium.
X-rays are often performed in a dentist's office, medical clinic, emergency room or hospital, notes Mayo Clinic. X-ray machines give off small and safe amounts of radiation that penetrate flesh and bone to render an interior image of the individual's body. An X-ray can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour, if a contrasting medium is required for more in-depth procedures.
Examples of contrasting mediums include iodine and barium, says Mayo Clinic. Such mediums aid in outlining specific areas of the body during an X-ray. Contrasting mediums can be introduced as either an enema or injection, or they can be swallowed.
Standard X-rays are usually done without resulting side effects, according to Mayo Clinic. There's a chance that a contrasting medium injection can result in redness, inflammation and pain at the site of injection. An individual should contact his doctor if any of these side effects occur.