X-Ray Radiography | Diagnostic and Medical Imaging

X-Ray Radiography

We offer a full range of routine and specialized X-ray services. We’re passionate about personalized care and providing quick results.

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Morris, M.D. on Nov. 30, 2023.

X-ray technician position machine above patient laying on a table

World-Class Routine and Specialized X-Ray Services

X-ray radiography, or X-ray, is a type of test that creates pictures of structures inside your body. The image it makes is called a radiograph. To create the radiograph, a machine on one side of your body sends X-rays through your body. A detector on the other side of your body detects the X-rays that pass through and creates a radiograph.

The UC Davis Department of Radiology uses state-of-the-art X-ray equipment at many convenient Northern California locations. Our highly trained radiologists are on the leading edge of imaging advancements and research. Many of our imaging clinics take walk-ins for routine X-rays. If you need additional imaging, we also offer CT scan, PET scan and MRI on-site.

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X-Ray Services at UC Davis Health

We offer a full range of services that use advanced X-ray techniques for diagnosis. Our radiologists work as a team with all of your providers to give you the best care.

Some types of X-rays require a contrast dye so that certain body structures show up more clearly in your radiograph. If needed, you get an injection or drink a liquid containing the dye before your X-ray. 

Breast Mammography

We offer routine 2D and 3D mammograms.  We also perform diagnostic X-ray mammography to diagnose breast conditions.

Cardiothoracic (Chest) X-Rays

Our vascular radiologists use minimally invasive X-ray techniques to diagnose and treat chest and vascular conditions, such as lung infections and heart blockages.

Musculoskeletal X-Rays

Our musculoskeletal radiology specialists use advanced X-ray methods to diagnose injuries and diseases in bones, joints, organs and tissues, such as fractures and arthritis.

Interventional Radiology

Our specially trained interventional radiologists treat conditions such as blood clots, gallstones, tumors and uterine fibroids. We use the latest X-ray-guided procedures that require only a tiny pinhole incision.

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Preparing for Your X-Ray

Wear comfortable clothing to your appointment. If your X-ray requires a contrast dye, you will get it at your appointment. You will not need sedation, so you don’t need someone else to drive you home. Your radiologist will give you additional instructions to prepare for your X-ray if needed.

  • Technician positioning a patient for an X-ray

    Before Your X-Ray

    You may need to remove some or all of your clothes and put on a gown. Your technician will help position you for your X-ray and make sure you’re comfortable.

  • Woman standing facing a wall while x-ray happens

    During Your X-Ray

    You won’t feel any pain or other sensations during your X-ray, but you may have side effects if you have contrast dye. A routine X-ray may last only a few minutes. Some procedures may take an hour or longer.

  • Health care provider holding an X-ray result of a foot

    After Your X-Ray

    After your X-ray, you can get dressed and return to your regular activities. Your results may be ready right away. For some procedures, it may take up to seven days for a specialist to review your radiograph.

Risks of X-Ray Radiography

X-rays use low doses of radiation, which are typically not harmful. However, some X-rays use higher doses of radiation, and radiation exposure can sometimes lead to cancer. Your radiologist can help you understand your dose.

Risk Due to Contrast Dye

Some people have side effects or allergic reactions to contrast dye such as headache, itching, nausea, red skin and rash.

Risk During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, it is best to avoid X-rays of your abdomen except in emergency situations. 

Risk to Children

Children are more sensitive to radiation and have a greater risk of developing cancer from radiation exposure.

Awards and Recognitions
USNWR Best Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, obstetrics & gynecology, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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US News & World Report best Children’s Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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USNWR best regional hospital badge

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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Magnet designation badge

The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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Chime ambulatory badge

“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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