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Why can’t one wear metal objects during X-ray inspection

During an X-ray examination, the doctor or technician will usually remind the patient to remove any jewelry or clothing that contains metal objects. Such items include, but are not limited to, necklaces, watches, earrings, belt buckles, and change in pockets. Such a request is not without purpose, but is based on several scientific considerations.

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic wave. They have high energy and can penetrate the soft tissues of the human body. However, when they encounter materials with higher density, such as metals, they will be absorbed or reflected by them. If the patient carries metal objects, these objects will block or produce obvious bright spots on the X-ray imaging. This phenomenon is called “artifact”. Artifacts can affect the clarity and accuracy of the final image, making it difficult for radiologists to interpret test results, thereby affecting the diagnosis of the disease and the determination of subsequent treatment plans.

Certain metal objects may produce tiny currents when exposed to strong X-rays. Although this current is harmless to the human body in most cases, in rare cases it may be harmful to electronic medical equipment such as pacemakers. Patients may cause interference and affect the normal operation of the equipment. Therefore, for the sake of patient safety, it is necessary to eliminate this uncertain risk.

Wearing clothing or accessories containing metal may in some cases cause additional inconvenience or discomfort to patients during X-ray examinations. For example, metal zippers or buttons may be heated by X-rays during the irradiation process. Although this heating is usually not obvious, it is best to avoid it for absolute safety and comfort.

In addition to the above considerations, removing metal objects can also help speed up the entire inspection process. Well-prepared patients before examination can help improve hospital work efficiency, reduce radiation exposure caused by repeated photography, and also help shorten patients’ waiting time in the hospital.

Although removing metal objects from the body may cause some temporary inconvenience to individual patients, this approach is extremely necessary from the perspective of ensuring the accuracy of X-ray examinations, patient safety and efficient medical services.

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