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During the procedure, your body is positioned between a machine that produces the X-rays and a plate that creates the image digitally or with X-ray film. You may be asked to move into different positions in order to take views from both the front and the side of your chest.
During the front view, you stand against the plate, hold your arms up or to the sides and roll your shoulders forward. The X-ray technician may ask you to take a deep breath and hold it for several seconds. Holding your breath after inhaling helps your heart and lungs show up more clearly on the image.
During the side views, you turn and place one shoulder on the plate and raise your hands over your head. Again, you may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it.
Having X-rays taken is generally painless. You don't feel any sensation as the radiation passes through your body. If you have trouble standing, you may be able to have the exam while seated or lying down.
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