On the day of your x-ray
Come to Radiology reception to check in. From there, you will be directed to the waiting area. You may need to take off some of your clothes when you have the x-ray. If you need to get changed you will be taken to a cubicle and given a gown to put on. There are free lockers to store your clothes. If you prefer, you may stay in your own clothes if they don’t have zips, metal clips or buttons.
How long it takes
Most x-rays only take a few minutes and we try to carry out your examination on time. Allow half an hour for your appointment as we sometimes have to fit in emergency cases and unexpected delays can occur. If this happens we will keep you informed.
How an x-ray is taken
The x-ray will be taken by a radiographer. They will explain what you what you need to do. For some x-rays, you will be asked to lie down, for others you will stand or sit in a chair. The position depends on the area we are examining.
We make you as comfortable as possible during the examination and ask you to keep very still for the few seconds the x-ray takes. This video shows what happens during an x-ray examination.
Preparing for your appointment
What you should do
You do not need to bring anything with you. We'll send you any special instructions with your appointment letter.
You should be prepared to:
- change into a hospital gown (you may avoid this if you don't wear any metal around the area being x-rayed)
- remove jewellery from the area being x-rayed
What you should tell us
Tell us if you are, or could be, pregnant.
What to expect during your x-ray
We ask you to stand or lie down and an x-ray detector is placed behind the part of your body being x-rayed. The x-ray machine sends a very short burst of x-rays through a part of your body. This is painless and you can't see or feel x-rays.
You should stay still for your x-ray or the picture may be blurred. Most examinations only take a few minutes.
The image produced is studied by an x-ray doctor (radiologist) who sends a report to the doctor who requested your test. You need to contact them for the results.
If your GP has requested the exam, the results take five working days. If you came from a consultant in the hospital you will get your results the next time you see or speak to them.
It's important to let us know before the x-ray if there is a chance that you may be pregnant. Radiation can be harmful to unborn babies.
After the examination
There are no after effects following this examination. It won't affect your ability to drive or return to work on the same day.
X-rays are a form of ionising radiation and have enough energy to cause damage to cells. This can increase the risk of cancer later in life. These risks to health are considered very low. Learn more about the radiation safety.