Are X-rays safe?

People are often concerned about being exposed to radiation during an X-ray. However,the part of your body being examined will only be exposed to a low level of radiationfor a fraction of a second.

Generally, the amount of radiation you're exposed to during an X-ray is the equivalent to between a fewdays and a few years of exposure to natural radiation from the environment.

Being exposed to X-rays does carry a risk ofcausing cancer many years or decades later,but this risk is thought to be verysmall.

For example,an X-ray of your chest, limbs or teeth is equivalenttoa few days' worth of background radiation, and has less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of causing cancer. For more information,see GOV.UK: patient dose information .

The benefits and risks of having an X-ray will be weighed up before it's recommended. Talk to your doctor or radiographer about the potential risks beforehand, if you have any concerns.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018