X-Ray Services


X-Rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, which are primarily used for diagnostic radiography. Digital x-ray has certain advantages over conventional film x-ray, including the ability for the x-ray technologist to immediately tell if the image is acceptable.

X-rays are especially useful in the detection of pathology of the skeletal system, and also useful for detecting some disease processes in soft tissue. Some examples are common chest X-ray, which can be used to identify lung diseases such as:
pneumonia
lung cancer
pulmonary edema

X-Ray services include:

Bone densitometry
Bone-X-ray
Chest X-ray
Joint X-ray
Myelography
Discography
IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram)


How do I prepare for my X-Ray?

No preparation is required for general X-ray exams. However, please tell the staff if you suspect that you could be pregnant. If you are scheduled for an IVP contact your Doctor's office for further prep instructions.

Barium Swallow

This is an Fluoroscopy also known as screening examination using barium (an x-ray detectable liquid) to assist in the diagnosis of inflammation, ulcers, strictures or pouches, hernias, tumours and polyps in the upper digestive tract.

What is Barium?

Barium is a chalky liquid which is used by radiologists to outline parts of the digestive tract on x-rays. It is x-ray detectable and makes the x-ray image of the digestive tract much clearer to see and is an aid to diagnosing your problem. The patient is given the barium either to drink which will show the oesophagus ( the tube your food travels down into the stomach) the stomach and the small intestine or it can be given rectally as an enema to outline the large bowel.
You will have been sent for a barium meal because you have been suffering with symptoms such as:

Difficulty with swallowing
Blood in your vomit
Stomach bloating
Stomach pains

Preparation:

If you are just having a barium swallow to look at your oesophagus (the tube your food goes down) you will not be able to eat or drink for only a few hours before the procedure.
If you are having a barium meal and or follow through you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure.

Risks:

The risks of the procedure is radiation exposure however the radiation dose you receive will be the same as you would naturally be exposed to over a three year period.

The Procedure:

Will be done in the X-ray department and will normally be done as an outpatient procedure. If you believe you may be pregnant you should inform the staff prior to the commencement of the investigation. When you arrive in the department you will be shown to a cubical and asked to remove your clothing and put a gown on.

You will be taken through to the X-ray room where you will be given the barium to drink it is a thick liquid which usually has a fruit flavour to enhance it.

You will be asked to drink two or three mouthfuls and then positioned in front of the x-ray machine to see how the barium is progressing.

You will be given some granules to eat which fizz up inside your stomach causing gas -try not to burp at this point as the air is enhancing the x-ray images.

You will be moved about and repositioned on the x-ray table and asked to hold your breath whilst a series of x-rays are taken.

The procedure will only take about 10-15 minutes for a barium swallow. Although you may be in the department longer while waiting for x-rays to be developed .If you are having a barium meal and follow through you will be in the department for up to three hours as x-rays will need to be taken at regular intervals as the barium travels through the digestive tract.

The procedure does not cause any pain although you may feel bloated due to the gas generated in your stomach.

You will be advised to eat a high fibre diet and drink plenty of fluids over the next few days as the barium is known to cause constipation.

Barium Meal

Barium is a chalky liquid which is used by radiologists to outline parts of the digestive tract on x-rays. It is x-ray detectable and makes the x-ray image of the digestive tract much clearer to see and is an aid to diagnosing your problem. The patient is given the barium either to drink which will show the oesophagus ( the tube your food travels down into the stomach) the stomach and the small intestine or it can be given rectally as an enema to outline the large bowel.

You will have been sent for a barium enema because you may have been suffering from changed bowel habits i.e.

Low stomach pains
Bloating feelings
Alternating diarrhoea and constipation
Blood in your bowel movements
Unexplained weight loss

The Preparation:

For the bowels involves eating only a light diet, fluids and taking laxatives which the staff will give you. You will be provided with written instructions of what you can eat and drink and when to take the laxatives. If you are a diabetic please ensure you ask the staff for any special instructions. The laxative is very strong and it is recommended to stay close to a toilet. The preparation for the procedure is very important if the bowels are not clear the procedure will not be done and will have to be rescheduled.

Risks:

The risks of the procedure are few; the bowel may perforate and the barium might leak into the abdominal cavity, this happens extremely rarely. The radiation dose you receive will be the same as you would naturally be exposed to over a three year period. You may be given a drug to relax the bowels during the procedure; if you suffer from heart disease or glaucoma you should inform the staff of this.

The Procedure:

Will be done in the X-ray department and will normally be done as an outpatient procedure. If you believe you may be pregnant you should inform the staff prior to the commencement of the investigation. When you arrive in the department you will be shown to a cubical and shown the location of the nearest available toilet, you will then be asked to remove all your clothing and put on a gown, all metal objects, watches and jewellery should be removed.

You will be made comfortable lying on the X-ray table with a blanket over you

You will be asked to turn onto your side; a soft rectal tube will be passed a small way into your rectum.

The barium liquid will then be introduced slowly the radiologist will then ask you to change positions on the table to coat the inside of the bowel with the liquid.

Air may also be introduced into the bowel via the same rectal tube this gives the radiologist a clearer picture of the bowel.

This procedure is more uncomfortable than painful; you may experience stomach cramps, and fullness.

You may be given an injection to relax the muscles of the bowel wall, this may cause blurring of your vision, but it will pass.

You will have X-rays taken of you in various positions

The procedure can take approximately 20 minutes although you could be in the department for longer, waiting for x-rays and visiting the toilet.

When the procedure is over you will be able to go to the toilet. Some but not all of the barium will be passed. Your stools when eliminated will be white as this is the colour of the barium, your stools will continue to be slightly pale for the next few bowel movements.

The remainder of the barium will naturally be excreted in your bowel movements; however it can cause constipation so it is advised that you drink plenty of fluids and eat a high fibre diet for the next few days.

barium enema

What is a barium enema?

A barium enema, also called a lower gastrointestinal (GI) series, uses x-rays to diagnose problems in the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. The barium enema may show problems like abnormal growths, ulcers, polyps, diverticuli, and colon cancer.

What happens during a barium enema?

Before taking x-rays of your colon and rectum, the radiologist will put a thick liquid called barium into your colon via an enema. The barium coats the lining of the colon and rectum and makes these organs, and any signs of disease in them, show up more clearly on x-rays. It also helps the radiologist see the size and shape of the colon and rectum.

You may be uncomfortable during the barium enema. The barium will cause fullness and pressure in your abdomen and will make you feel the urge to have a bowel movement. However, that rarely happens because the tube used to inject the barium has a balloon on the end of it that prevents the liquid from coming back out.

You may be asked to change positions while x-rays are taken. Different positions give different views of the colon. After the radiologist is finished taking x-rays, you will be able to go to the bathroom. The radiologist may also take an x-ray of the empty colon afterwards.

A barium enema takes about one to two hours. The barium may cause constipation and make your stool turn gray or white for a few days after the procedure.

How do you prepare for a barium enema?

Your colon must be empty for a barium enema to be accurate. To prepare, you will have to restrict your diet for a few days beforehand. For example, you might be able to drink only liquids and eat only non-sugar, non-dairy foods for two days before the procedure; only clear liquids the day before; and nothing after midnight the night before.

To make sure your colon is empty, you will be given a laxative or an enema before the procedure. Your physician may give you other special instructions.