Diagnostic radiology procedures use radiation to help identify disease or injury. X-rays penetrate body tissues and produce an image that provides vital information about normal structures as well as diseases in the body. Diagnostic X-rays are used to examine all parts of the body. For example, diagnostic X-rays can be used to identify problems in the digestive system and kidneys, and find evidence of bone fractures and dislocations.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Typically, patients will be asked to lie down on an X-ray machine and hold still while the X-rays are taken. For most patients, diagnostic radiology is a quick and painless procedure. Depending on the tissues or organs being studied, the procedure may involve the use of a contrast medium, which will help make soft tissues stand out. For example, in an arthrogram, a test used to examine joints, a contrast medium is injected into a joint to detect injury or disease. If you need an upper or lower Gl series, used to examine the digestive tract, you may be asked to drink a contrast material or it may be administered by enema.
How do I prepare for diagnostic radiology?
Your doctor will provide detailed instructions on preparing for the test. Preparations will vary depending on the procedure. For example, patients may be asked to make dietary changes or avoid food or drink for a period of time prior to having the examination. Patients who are pregnant must alert their doctor, who will decide whether it is safe to have an X-ray examination. Doctors should also be advised of any allergies or any previous reactions to a contrast medium. You should wear comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home.