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X-Ray Patient Information

How soon can I have an X-Ray?

We are an independent clinic with minimal waiting times.
Appointments are generally available within a few days subject to the availability of the Radiographer.

Do I need a referral?

For all X-Rays undertaken at Heath Lodge Clinic we ask for a clinical referral from either your GP, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath or Podiatrist.

The reason we ask for a clinical referral is due to the fact that we are a diagnostic centre and generally only see patients as one-off occasion.

Our Consultants welcome the background clinical detail provided by their professional colleagues who will have assessed the patient and have more of an appreciation as to why any investigation is required.

 We then have background detail of the area being X-Rayed and can cross reference this with the patient at the point of booking an appointment. Written referrals give clear direction on the scan and avoids any misunderstanding or misrepresentation.

This detail also forms part of our safety check procedures for any investigation. Written detail also avoids any doubt in terms of the areas being investigated and the cost involved.”

Other useful X-Ray Information

Preparing for an X-Ray

You don’t usually need to do anything special to prepare for an X-ray. You can eat and drink as normal beforehand and can continue taking your usual medications.

However, you may need to stop taking certain medications and avoid eating and drinking for a few hours if you’re having an X-Ray that uses a contrast agent (see contrast X-Rays below).

 X-Rays aren’t usually recommended for pregnant women unless it’s an emergency.

Wearing loose comfortable clothes is recommended as you may be able to wear these during the X-Ray. Try to avoid wearing jewellery and clothes containing metal (such as zips), as these will need to be removed.

 During the X-Ray

During an X-ray, you’ll usually be asked to lie on a table or stand against a flat surface so that the part of your body being examined can be positioned in the right place.

The X-Ray machine, which looks like a tube containing a large light bulb, will be carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined by the radiographer. They will operate the machine from behind a screen or from the next room.

 The X-Ray will last for a fraction of a second. You won’t feel anything while it’s carried out.

While the X-Ray is being taken, you’ll need to keep still so the image produced isn’t blurred. More than one X-Ray may be taken from different angles to provide as much information as possible and will usually only take a few minutes.

 Contrast X-rays

In some cases, a substance called a contrast agent may be given before an X-Ray is carried out. This can help show soft tissues more clearly on the X-ray. Types of X-Rays involving a contrast agent include:

 

  • barium swallow – a substance called barium is swallowed to help highlight the upper digestive system
  • barium enema – barium is passed into your bowel through your bottom
  • angiography – iodine is injected into a blood vessel to highlight the heart and blood vessels
  • intravenous urogram (IVU) – iodine is injected into a blood vessel to highlight the kidneys and bladder
  • These types of X-rays may need special preparation beforehand and will usually take longer to carry out. Your appointment letter will mention anything you need to do to prepare.

 What happens after an X-Ray

You won’t experience any after effects from a standard X-Ray and will be able to go home shortly afterwards. You can return to your normal activities straight away

The X-Ray images will be examined by a radiologist before you’re told the results.

 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 radiation for a fraction of a second.  Generally, the amount of radiation you’re exposed to during an X-Ray is the equivalent to between a few days and a few years of exposure to natural radiation from the environment.

 Being exposed to X-Rays does carry a risk of causing cancer many years or decades later, but this risk is thought to be very small.  For example, an X-Ray of your chest, limbs or teeth is equivalent to a few days’ worth of background radiation, and has less than a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of causing cancer.