An x-ray is a quick and painless examination commonly used to produce images of the inside of the body. It's a very effective way of looking at the bony anatomy, and can be used to help detect a range of conditions.

X-rays are a type of radiation that can pass through the body. They can't be seen by the naked eye and you can't feel them. As they pass through the body, the energy from x-rays is absorbed at different rates by different parts of the body. A detector on the other side of the body picks up the x-rays after they've passed through and turns them into an image.

Please read your appointment letter for guidance on arrival time before your exam.

Before your scan the radiographer may ask you to change into a hospital gown, where necessary. Please feel free to bring your own dressing gown or metal-free clothing with you.

The radiographer will verbally confirm if you are happy to proceed with your scan. If you do not wish to have the scan or are undecided, please inform the radiographer.

Please contact Neuroradiology before your appointment if there is any possibility that you may be pregnant, or if you require an interpreter.

During your x-ray, you 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 the next room.

The x-ray will last for a fraction of a second. You won't feel anything while it's carried out. Whilst 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.

The examination will usually only last a few minutes.

The use of X-rays presents a very small risk. Our imaging equipment and modern techniques ensure the radiation dose is as low as possible. In addition, your referring doctor or nurse and the performing radiographer will have made a judgement about your risk and benefit.

Patients of child-bearing capacity between the ages of 12 and 55 years are required by law to be asked about possible pregnancy when undergoing examinations involving x-ray. Patients who either are, or think they may be, pregnant must inform the Neuroradiology department as soon as possible. In some urgent cases the x-ray may still go ahead, but with additional precautions in place.

Following your X-ray you will be able to go home. You can eat, drink and resume your normal activities straight away.

Your scans will be reported by a Neuroradiologist or reporting radiographer, and your results will be sent back to your referring clinician, ahead of your next scheduled consultation.