Radiography (X-rays) are one of the most commonly performed imaging tests and are used to evaluate the joints, heart and lungs, abdomen, and spine. X-rays can show fractures, heart failure, pneumonia, kidney stones, arthritis, and bowel obstructions as well as many other conditions. They are painless, fast, and use very low doses of radiation.
Preparation: For most exams, no special preparation is required. If you are pregnant, or might be pregnant, be sure to inform the technologist. Wear comfortable clothing without metal (zippers, buckles, snap, buttons, underwires) in the area to be imaged.
Exam Process: The patient will be positioned to obtain the best images of the body structure to be imaged. You may be asked to turn or rotate to obtain different views or to hold your breath for a short period. The technologist will provide specific instructions.
Exam Time: 5 to 15 minutes.
Fluoroscopy uses video-type X-ray equipment and a contrast agent to view the structure being studied in motion. It also allows the physician to view and assess the structure of the organ being studied. It is especially useful for imaging the upper and lower digestive tract. Contrast agents may be introduced into the body through injection, swallowing or an enema.
Barium Enema (Lower GI)-BE
Commonly called a lower GI, is an X-ray examination of the large intestine (colon).
Preparation: A member of our team will contact by phone with specific instructions on preparing for the exam. Generally, you will be asked to follow a clear liquid diet for 24 hours prior to your exam. The evening before your exam, you will drink a 10 ounce bottle of magnesium citrate, followed by eight ounces of clear liquid. Drink at least 24 more ounces of clear liquid during the rest of the evening, before bedtime. Continue the clear liquids until your exam time. (If you are diabetic or take medications regularly, discuss preparation instructions with your healthcare provider.) Ninety minutes before your exam, insert a suppository. This will help ensure the bowel is clear.
Exam Process: You will be positioned on the exam table and an X-ray film will be taken to ensure the bowel is clean. The technologist will insert a small tube into the rectum and begin to pump a mixture of barium and water into the colon. Air may also be injected through the tube to help the barium thoroughly coat the lining of the colon. Next, a series of X-ray images is taken.
Exam Time: 30 to 60 minutes.
Upper Gastrointestinal Series-UGI
An upper GI is an X-ray examination of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine.
Preparation: Don’t eat anything for 12 hours prior to your test. Follow a low-fiber diet for two to three days before your test. If you are diabetic or take regular medications, be sure to discuss these with your healthcare provider. If you are pregnant or there is a chance you could be pregnant, be sure to inform the technologist.
Exam Process: You will be given a thick, chalky-like substance (barium) to drink. As you drink the substance, x-rays will be taken as the barium passes through your digestive tract. The exam table may be positioned at different angles and your abdomen may be compressed in order to capture the best images. Some patients may be given baking soda crystals in addition to the barium to improve the images. These substances will pass from your body in 24 to 48 hours. Drinking plenty of fluids will help with this.
Exam Time: 30 to 60 minutes.
Small Intestines-Small Bowel Series
Small bowel radiography is an X-ray exam of the small intestines. It can be done alone or in conjunction with an upper gastrointestinal series.
Preparation: Do not eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to your exam time. If you are diabetic or take regular medications, talk to your physician or healthcare provider about any special instructions. If you are pregnant or there is a chance you could be pregnant, be sure to inform the technologist.
Exam Process: The patient is instructed to drink liquid barium. An X-ray is taken every 15 minutes for one hour, and then every 30 minutes until the barium exits the small bowel. When the barium has traveled through the small intestines and begins to enter the large intestines, fluoroscopy may be used to view the small intestines.
Exam Time: Varies depending on transit time through the bowel. Allow at least 90 minutes.
Hysterosalpingography, also called uterosalpingography, is an X-ray examination of a woman's uterus and Fallopian tubes.
Exam Process: The patient is positioned on her back on the exam table, with her knees pulled to her chest or her feet held up with stirrups. A speculum is inserted into the vagina and the catheter is then inserted into the cervix. The speculum is removed and the patient is carefully situated underneath the fluoroscopy device. The contrast material then begins to fill the uterine cavity through the catheter and fluoroscopic images are taken. In some cases, if certain abnormalities are encountered, the patient will be asked to rest and wait up to 30 minutes so that a delayed image can be obtained. The patient may be asked to return the next day for another x-ray to check for scarring surrounding the ovaries.
Exam Time: 30 to 45 minutes