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diagnostic radiology (x-ray)

What is an x-ray?

An x-ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation, like visible light.

X-ray equipment sends individual x-ray particles through the body and records the images on a computer or on film.  Bones, metal and other dense structures, as well as dye used to highlight body areas, block most of these particles and appear white on an x-ray image.  Structures that contain air will appear black on the image, while fat, muscle and fluid will appear in shades of gray.

When are x-rays used?

X-rays are used in many examinations and procedures.  Some of the more common uses include detection of broken bones or other orthopedic damage; detection of certain illnesses, such as pneumonia; tumor detection; and identification of foreign objects.

How do I prepare?

Before your x-ray, tell the technician if you are (or think you might be) pregnant or if you have an IUD inserted.

Because metal can interfere with the clarity of the image, you must remove all jewelry.  You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.

Bring your physician's orders, insurance card and picture I.D. with you on the day of the exam. For your convenience, complimentary valet parking is available at the hospital's main entrance.  Family members are invited to stay in our waiting area for the duration of your procedure.

Click on your exam name below to view detailed prep instructions:

Barium Enema Cystogram
Small Bowel
Pediatric Upper G.I. (Stomach) Upper G.I. (Stomach)/ Esophagram
Voiding Cysto-
Urethrogram (VCUG)

What can I expect?

X-rays are painless, although some body positioning needed during the x-ray may cause temporary discomfort.  While x-rays carry a very small possibility of developing a radiation-induced cancer, the medical benefits far outweigh any risk.  We carefully monitor and regulate your x-ray closely to ensure that you receive only the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed for the image. 

When can I expect results?

Your diagnostic report will be available within three business days.  Please allow 7-10 days for your physician to receive and review your results. If you do not receive results within this 10-day window, please be sure to contact the physician who ordered your exam.

If you have any questions or comments about your experience in our Radiology department, please contact Radiology manager Brenda Downen at 309.268.5223, or .

How do I schedule an x-ray?

To schedule an x-ray, call Central Scheduling at 309.268.5705.

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