Does Cotton show-up on an X-ray?

Let’s say you recently had a surgery, and you were concerned that the doctor may have inadvertantly left a foreign object in your body. Obviously metal objects & plastic show-up clearly in an X-ray, but what about cotton balls? Would a person be able to detect on a conventional X-ray if cotton or gauze were left in the body?

How about on a CAT scan?

Cotton balls wouldn’t show up, but cotton balls usually aren’t going near you during a surgery. Gauze pads with radiolucent strips are used, so yes, they will show up on an x-ray. A CaT scan is x-ray, just a cross-sectional view.

x-ray - I think the word you wanted for the gauze was radiopaque - something that blocks xrays and will show up on the film.

Are any radiolucent (transparent to xray and won’t appear on the film) items other than sutures normally used in surgery?
Sir V - Are you suspecting you got an extra souvenir from a recent trip to the OR? :eek:

Tampons DO show up on pelvic Xrays ( to the untrained eye) so I suspect an experienced radiographer would be able to detect a cotton-ball even though it is obviously less dense than a tampon.

Whoops- radiopaque

Like you wrote kambucta, a tampon is much denser. A cotton ball wouldn’t show up no matter how trained your eye is.

No, but thank you for your concern.

The topic came-up in conversation the other day. A co-worker of mine had to have some X-rays done, and he was wondering if the X-ray can be taken over clothing (since, I guess, he’s modest). I was telling him that the clothes might interfere with the X-ray, but then it dawned on me that clothes might be translucent to X-rays.

I then starting thinking about OR mishaps, whether or not cotton or gauze inadvertantly left in your body was detectable easily or not. Thus my question.

When I go to the dentist, sometimes they pack my mouth full of cotton & take X-rays of my teeth. I don’t recall ever seeing the cotton pack on the X-ray. I guess as kambuckta said, it is entirely dependent upon the density of the material in your body.

Thanks to all for the replies!

Why, neccessarily? Given that cotton does have radio-opaque qualities, at what point of density would it become technically invisible?

Plastic (depending on type, but generally) doesn’t show up very well on x-ray. The cassettes we used to hold our films are made of plastic.

Re: tampons…I’ve never detected one on a film, but I’d guess if they were saturated, they’d probably show up.

I’m not sure about the CT scan. I’ll have to ask.

We shoot through socks, t-shirts, and underwear all day long. Some waistbands will show up faintly. Damn bras with their clips and especially underwires will show up, though. Sometimes silk-screened t-shirts or those with that mylar-like reflective stuff can show up real well, too. (I did a chest x-ray on a teenager, and the film clearly showed the word “Hollywood.”)

Oddly enough, something that can show up is sunscreen.

And, please, if possible, remove the nipple jewelry. :slight_smile: