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Services > Hospital Services > Radiology Services > Radiology Services FAQs
Radiology FAQs

Will a board-certified radiologist interpret my examination?
Yes, the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommends a properly qualified physician to interpret all imaging examinations. A radiologist, who is certified by the American Board of Radiology, will clearly meet this recommendation. In its practice guidelines, the ACR defines alternative pathways for physician qualification.

Is the imaging facility formally accredited to perform my examination?
The ACR has a comprehensive program of facility accreditation for radiation oncology, MRI, CT, Nuclear Medicine and PET, Ultrasound, General Radiology, Breast Ultrasound and Stereotactic Breast Biopsy. Equipment and personnel must meet specific qualifications, and a high level of image quality is required for this accreditation. Other accrediting bodies exist and may also be acceptable, provided their criteria are at least as rigorous as those of the ACR.

Does a qualified medical physicist check the imaging equipment yearly?
Yes, Radiation exposure and equipment performance are two important aspects of patient safety in imaging examinations. Only through a thorough annual equipment examination by a qualified medical physicist can proper safety be ensured.

If I’m getting an injection, does the facility have a formal emergency response plan?
Yes, intravenous injections, which are used to enhance the detail of some imaging examinations, carry a very small risk of serious reaction.

How soon can my examination be done?
The timing of your imaging examination should depend primarily on the urgency of your medical condition. Hospital-based imaging facilities provide imaging for most emergencies 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. For less urgent conditions, a high-quality imaging facility should be able to perform your examination within a reasonable period of time. Unfortunately, due to the high demand for screening mammography, the wait time for these examinations can be up to six months.

Will there be someone there to explain the examination to me?
Yes, staff is available to give you a brief explanation of your examination and to be able to answer any questions you may have.

How soon will my doctor know the results of my examination?
Depending on the urgency of your examination, your doctor should receive the results either immediately or within a few days.

How do you prepare?
Different types of X-rays require different preparations. Ask your doctor or nurse to provide you with specific instructions. In general, you undress the area of your body that needs examination. You may wear a gown to cover yourself during the exam, depending on what area is being X-rayed. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses and any metal objects that could- like clothing- obscure the X-ray image since these objects can show up on X-ray.

You may wear a lead apron, to shield your sex organs from exposure to X-rays. At very high doses, radiation can damage a woman’s eggs or a man’s sperm. Since you’re exposed to a small amount of radiation during most X-rays, the lead apron is used simply as a precaution.

At high doses, radiation also can be harmful to a fetus. Always inform the X-ray technologist if there’s any possibility that you’re pregnant. Your doctor may suggest you either forgo the X-ray exam, or if one is necessary at the time, take precautions to minimize radiation exposure to the fetus.

Before some types of X-rays, such as a barium enema, you will be given a liquid called a contrast medium, or dye. A contrast medium – barium and iodine are examples – helps to outline a specific area of your body on the X-ray. You may swallow the contrast medium, insert it as an enema or receive it as an injection into a vein. The contrast medium appears opaque on the X-ray, providing a clear outline of structures such as your digestive tract or blood vessels.

If you are to receive a contrast medium before an X-ray, tell your doctor if you have a history of allergy to X-ray dye.

It is important to notify the R.N. or radiographer if you take an oral diabetic medication called Glucophage, if you have any history of kidney disease or if you take an anticoagulant or “blood thinner.”

What can you expect during the test?
X-rays are performed at most doctors’ offices, dentists' offices, emergency rooms and hospitals – wherever an X-ray machine is available. If you need an X-ray, you are brought to a room with a movable machine that produces the X-ray.

You may lie on a table, sit or stand between the X-ray machine and detector. The technologist or radiologist – a doctor who specializes in interpreting X-rays and other imaging tests – helps position your body to obtain the necessary views. He or she may use pillows or sandbags to help you hold the proper position. The technologist then aims the machine at the area of your body that needs examination. For dental X-rays, the dentist or dental hygienist places a small piece of film in your mouth, behind the section of teeth being X-rayed. You’re asked to bite down on the paper tab around the film, which holds the film in place.

Once you are in the proper position, the technologist enters a control booth. During the X-ray exposure, you remain still and hold your breath to avoid moving, which can cause blurring on the film.

The technologist may take X-rays from multiple angles, for example one of the front of your body and one from the side.
If your young child is having an X-ray, restraints may be used to help keep him or her still. You may be allowed to remain with your child during the test. If you remain in the room during the X-ray exposure, you are typically given a lead apron to wear to shield you from unnecessary exposure.

An X-ray procedure may last from several minutes for a bone X-ray, to about an hour for more involved procedures such as those using a contrast medium.

For most X-rays, you feel no discomfort other than the hardness of the X-ray table or the temperature of the room, which may be kept cool to keep the equipment from overheating. It may be necessary to compress momentarily the body part being examined. This compression may be uncomfortable, but the discomfort lasts only briefly during the X-ray exposure. If you are having a test that requires a contrast medium, ask your doctor what to expect.

After an X-ray, you generally dress and return to your normal activities. Routine X-rays usually have no side effects. However, if you receive an injection of a contrast medium before your X-rays, call your doctor if you experience pain, swelling or redness at the injection site. Ask your doctor about other signs and symptoms to watch for pertaining to your specific X-ray procedure.

Images are viewed on the computer screen within minutes. A radiologist typically views and interprets the results and sends the findings to your doctor, who then explains the results to you. In an emergency, your X-ray results can be made available to your doctor in minutes.

You may worry that X-rays are not safe because it is known that high levels of radiation exposure can cause cell mutations that may lead to cancer. But the amount of radiation that you are exposed to during an X-ray is so small that the risk of any damage to cells in your body is extremely low.

So, for most X-ray examinations, the benefits of any medically indicated examination are thought to greatly outweigh the small risk. In addition, great care is taken to use the lowest radiation dose possible to produce the best image for the radiologist to evaluate. No radiation remains after an X-ray examination.

However, if you are pregnant, or suspect that you may be pregnant, inform your doctor before having an X-ray. Though the risk of most diagnostic X-rays to an unborn baby is small, your doctor may consider whether it is better to wait or to use another imaging test such as ultrasound.

Kyphoplasty for Vertebral Compression Fracture
What is a Vertebral Compression Fracture?

Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF) occurs when the thick block of bone at the front of the vertebra in the spine collapses, which may cause the spine to shorten and fall forward. This may result in thoracic and lumbar spinal deformity and is often seen in elderly people. This spinal deformity, commonly known as a Dowager’s Hump, is also referred to as “kyphosis”.

What causes a VCF?
These types of fractures are most often caused by osteoporosis (“porous bone”), a disease that causes bones to become fragile and easily broken. Additionally, VCFs can be caused by cancer or a traumatic incident, such as a fall or car accident.

How many people are affected by VCFs?
Osteoporosis causes more than 700,000 VCFs each year.

What can KyphX Balloons do for me?
Kyphon products, known as KyphX Balloons, or “Balloons for Bones,” are used on patients who have suffered fractures of the spine, such as Vertebral Compression Fractures. Not all spinal fractures patients can be helped by procedures using KyphX Balloons. Only your health care professional can determine whether you might benefit from the use of these tools.