The radiology department may also be called the x-ray or imaging department. It is the facility in the hospital where radiological examinations of patients are carried out using a range of x-ray equipment.
Radiologists are doctors specially trained to interpret the images and carry out more complex examinations. They are supported by radiographers (technologists) who are trained to carry out x-rays and other imaging procedures.
What is an x-ray?
An image of the internal structures of the body produced by exposure to a controlled source of x-rays, kept in digital form and displayed on a computer screen.
Do I need to make any special preparations?
No. However, please notify the radiology department if you have had a similar x-ray recently or if you are a woman who is or might be pregnant.
Can I bring a relative/friend?
Yes. Only in special circumstances, or in the case of young children, will they be permitted to accompany you into the actual x-ray room.
When you arrive
Please report to the reception desk in the radiology department.
The radiographer will explain the imaging procedure and show you to a private cubicle if you need to remove your garments. You may be asked to put on a gown and dressing gown if provided.
Who will I see?
You will be cared for by a radiographer and your images will be examined and reported on by the radiologist.
What happens during the x-ray?
You may be taken into the x-ray room where you will be asked to lie on a couch or stand against the x-ray equipment. You will be asked to stay still and sometimes to take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds.
Will it be uncomfortable?
How long will it take?
The process of taking the image will last only a few seconds, but the radiographer may need to take further x-rays in different positions. This usually takes no more than 5–10 minutes. Your total time in the department should be about 20 minutes.
Are there any risks?
There are risks involved with x-rays, but a plain x-ray uses a small amount of radiation, equivalent to that which we all receive from the atmosphere over a period of 2 or 3 days.
Female patients who are, or might be pregnant, must inform the radiographer before the x-ray.
Are there any side-effects?
None at all.
When will I get the results?
The images will be examined after your visit and a written report on the findings will be sent to your referring clinician.
We hope your questions have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion about your examination.
Make sure you are satisfied that you have received enough information about the procedure, before you consent to the examination.
Other sources of Information
For general information about radiology departments, visit the Royal College of Radiologists
For health advice or information you can call NHS Direct on 0845 45647 or visit the
This leaflet tells you about having an x-ray.