An X-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. They can also often identify problems with soft tissue, such as pneumonia or breast cancer.
If you have a X-ray, you will be asked to lie on a table or stand against a surface so that the part of your body being X-rayed is between the X-ray tube and the photographic plate.
An X-ray is usually carried out by a radiographer, a healthcare professional who specialises in using imaging technology, such as X-rays and ultrasound scanners.
An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body. The technology is similar to that used by sonar and radar, which help the military detect planes and ships. An ultrasound allows your doctor to see problems with organs, vessels, and tissues without needing to make an incision. Unlike other imaging techniques, ultrasound uses no radiation. For this reason, it’s the preferred method for viewing a developing foetus during pregnancy.
Why an ultrasound is performed
Most people associate ultrasound scans with pregnancy. These scans can provide an expectant mother with the first view of her unborn child. However, the test has many other uses.
Your doctor may order an ultrasound if you’re having pain, swelling, or other symptoms that require an internal view of your organs. An ultrasound can provide a view of the:
- blood vessels
An ultrasound is also a helpful way to guide surgeons’ movements during certain medical procedures, such as biopsies.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non invasive procedure doctors use to diagnose medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed pictures of internal body structures. MRI does not use radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow doctors to examine the body and detect disease. The procedure can last anything from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on what is being scanned. Some MRI´s require a contrast (dye) to be used. This is usually given as an intravenous injection into the arm. This enhances the image quality and helps the radiologist give a more accurate evaluation and interpretation.
This procedure does require a preparation (usually fasting) and reception will give you the details when they make the booking for you.
Your doctor may ask you to have an endoscopy or colonoscopy to investigate your digestive system, stomach, oesophagus, intestines, colon or rectum using a camera.
Endoscopies are typically recommended to find the cause of digestive issues and symptoms, and in some cases to treat problems including: Chronic heartburn or acid reflux.
Colonoscopies investigate intestinal signs and symptoms. A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhoea and other intestinal problems.
Mammograms are for both men and women. Women who have history of breast cancer, lump breasts, etc should have routing mammogrammes every three years or unless indicated by your doctor. They do not take very long and whilst, can be uncomfortable.
Your GP will ask reception to book the appointment for you and you will be given a referral letter to explain what the doctor wants them to do. If there is a preparation for your exam, reception will explain what you have to do, and may give you written instructions. These are normally in English and easy to understand, however, if you are unsure, or have any questions, please ask. Your exam may not go ahead if you have not followed the preparations correctly.