X Rays: FSA Eligibility
Treas. Reg. '1.213-1(e)(1)(ii)
What are X Rays for?
X rays are for imaging bones, which are easily distinguishable from soft tissues and help to find subtle differences in tissue density. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that X ray imaging exams are recognized as a valuable medical tool for a wide variety of examinations and procedures. They are used as a noninvasive and painless method for diagnosing disease, monitoring therapy, and surgical treatment planning. They are also used in helping provide insert catheters, stents or other devices into the body; treat tumors; or remove blood clots or other blockages (Healthline).
What is X ray therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancerous tumors by damaging their DNA. However, this treatment can damage normal cells alongside cancer cells so radiation therapy must be carefully planned to minimize side effects. To reduce this problem, the patient lies on a table and is treated with radiation from multiple directions. The exposure to surrounding tissues is minimized, because healthy tissue receives only a single small dose from the moving beam, while the tumor receives doses from every angle (National Cancer Institute).
What else should I know about X rays?
Brief exposure radiation is not as dangerous in adults because mature cells can quickly repair themselves, but babies' and children's bones and tissues are more at risk. Pregnant women should tell their doctors before having any X rays. Typically, medical personnel will have a protective shield ready such as a lead apron while you receive a medical X ray. Also, for dental X rays, you can ask whether your dentist performs faster X rays (in the "E" or "F" category) that reduces the length of time you're exposed [source: FDA].
In special circumstances, doctors will want to conduct a computerized tomography (CT) scan to gain a 3-D view of a patient's body. These images are collected by using X rays, which increase a patient's radiation exposure.