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An X-ray machine produces images of the inside of the body. It is effective in assessing bones and other dense structures within the body.

What is an X-ray?

An X-ray is a fast and painless examination which is highly effective in assessing bones and other dense structures within the body. An X-ray machine produces a burst of high-energy radiation which passes through the body to produce an image on a film or detector. You cannot see or feel an X-ray, they are a quick and simple way of looking inside of the body.

This video explains what to expect during X-ray, CT (CAT) and MRI scanning.


How will I know if I need an X-ray?

Your healthcare professional will refer you for an X-ray if they feel that it is clinically appropriate for you. X-rays can be used on many body parts to assess a wide range of health concerns, one of which is the mouth and jaw.

How can I book an X-ray?

To book an X-ray, you will need a referral from a healthcare professional. If you have an outpatient consultation with a Nuffield Health consultant, they will refer you for a scan if clinically appropriate. You can also use a referral from your own GP or alternative healthcare professional, just email your referral to your chosen Nuffield Health hospital and a member of the team will call you back.

How should I prepare for an X-ray?

Most X-rays do not require any specific preparation, but you will be informed at the time of booking if any preparation is required. If you are having an abdominal X-ray, please contact the team if you think there is a chance you may be pregnant.

Where possible, it is always best to attend the radiology department with a minimal amount of accessory clothing or jewellery as you will likely be asked to change into a hospital gown to maximise the quality of the images produced.

What happens during an X-ray?

You will be asked to stand, lie, or sit in a desired position to allow the radiographer to image your limb, joint or required body part. During these images, you could be asked to hold your breath for a short period or to adopt an uncomfortable position, though the time you spend in it will be kept to a minimum.

Depending on which area you are having scanned, or if the clinician requires specific types of X-rays, you could have either a single image or multiple images taken with you in different positions.

How long does an X-ray take?

Each X-ray image takes only a few seconds, but depending upon how many images are being taken and if any specialist variants are asked for, you could be in the department for around 20 minutes.

Are X-rays safe?

There is very little risk with having an X-ray. The use of X-rays in hospitals is subject to strict regulations and the use of X-rays is assessed on the principle that the risk of having the X-ray examination outweighs the risk of not having the X-ray examination. X-ray examinations are therefore only performed when absolutely necessary.

When X-rays are taken, some of the energy in the X-ray beam is absorbed in the body. This is called the radiation dose. Because diagnostic X-ray examinations involve relatively low doses, these doses are often compared to natural background radiation.

You should not worry about the radiation from the X-ray as your doctor feels there is a need to investigate a potential problem, so the risk of not having the investigation could be greater.

How/when will I receive my results?

Your results will be verified by a Radiologist and sent to your referring healthcare professional within a week of your appointment. Times may vary for specialist examinations, so we recommend checking with the hospital team before you leave. Your referrer may recommend a follow-up appointment to discuss your results.


Warwickshire Hospital

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971

Nuffield Health Warwickshire Hospital has been informed that we are going to experience roadwork disruption from 22nd April 2024 - 17th May 2024. Access to the hospital should not be affected from either direction and our car park remains open.

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