X-ray imaging is a long-established diagnostic tool used to produce images of tissues, bones and organs. It’s been in widespread use for many years.

X-ray is used to diagnose a wide range of conditions. Visit our Scan Glossary for details of conditions scans are used for.

Important things to tell us

It’s important to tell us before if

  • you are (or might be) pregnant
  • have had a similar X-ray within the previous six months

Did you know you won’t feel anything during the X-ray scan?

X-ray Scan
  • Tell us about anything that might cause you difficulties – for example, if you’re a wheelchair user, you’re hard of hearing or have poor eyesight.
  • Please confirm your appointment by phone 24 hours before your scan and arrive in plenty of time.
  • You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons we won’t allow them into the examination room.
  • Once you’ve checked in at reception, a member of the radiography team will meet you and explain the procedure.
  • We might ask you to change into a hospital gown. We’ll give you a container to keep your clothes and personal belongings safe.
  • You’ll be looked after by the radiography team throughout the procedure – they will explain what’s happening and will be there with you at all times.
  • You’ll have an opportunity to ask any questions.
  • The examination should take no more than a few minutes.
  • The Radiographer operating the equipment will be able to see and hear you throughout the procedure.
  • We’ll ask you to stay very still and we might ask you to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.
  • For safety reasons, we don’t normally allow anyone accompanying you to come into the examination room whilst you are having your x ray.
  • You won’t feel anything during the X-ray.
  • There are no restrictions on normal activity – you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the x ray.
  • A Radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your Doctor or Consultant, normally within a few days. For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your Doctor or Consultant can do this.

What is an X-ray?

An X-ray is similar to a photograph, but it uses radiation instead of light to take the picture.


How much risk is associated with having a routine x-ray exam? 

The amount of radiation is extremely low and is comparable to the amount of radiation received during a round-trip flight from London to New York City.


How long does the X-ray exam or procedure take?

The amount of time depends on the imaging exam performed. Most general X-ray exams take no longer than 15 minutes.


Why do I need a physician’s order for an X-ray or other Imaging Service exam?

The law requires a written order for ALL imaging exams. Patients should be evaluated by their physician prior to any imaging examination so that the proper body part may be imaged appropriately.

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