Diagnostic Radiology (X-Ray)

Diagnostic Radiology, more commonly known as x-ray, is a procedure in which an invisible form of energy is used to take a picture of the inside of your body. It is very similar to taking a picture of you with a camera.
The purpose of an x-ray is to:

  • provide images of the inside of the body.
  • provide valuable information in order to diagnose, monitor or assist in the treatment of disease and injury.

An x-ray is a relatively safe and painless procedure. A technologist will assist you throughout the x-ray procedure. You will be positioned depending on what part of the body is being x-rayed. An x-ray film will be placed lightly against the part of the body to be x-rayed, or may be inserted into the x-ray machine. After you are positioned and the film is in place, the technician will ask that you be very still. For some x-rays you may be asked to hold your breath for a couple of seconds. The technician will step behind a glass and take your x-ray.

After the exam, the radiologist will provide your physician with an interpretation of the results of your x-ray. Your physician will then be able to make a diagnosis and explain the findings to you.

Patient Preparation

There is no prep involved for a regular x-ray. Sometimes a liquid called contrast medium is necessary to highlight certain structures. This is given to you either in the form of a drink, through an IV, or by an enema. If contrast is needed for your exam, you will be asked to avoid certain foods and fluids.

Applications and Treatments

IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram)

The IVP helps detect disease and proper functions of the kidneys and bladder. Contrast media (x-ray) dye is injected into the arm and a timed series of x-ray films of the abdomen will be taken.

  • Drink only fluids after supper the night before the exam
  • You will take Biscodyl tablets (a laxative) at bedtime
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the exam

Children may be allowed to have a liquid breakfast and nothing to eat or drink three hours prior to the exam

Lower GI (Gastrointestinal) Series (also called BE or barium enema)

This procedure is used to visualize the colon and rectum. It is essential that the large bowel be empty.

The day before the exam:

  • Do not eat any solid foods
  • You may drink clear liquids
  • You will be given a prep kit with laxatives

The day of the exam:

  • Do not eat or drink anything
  • You will be given an enema the day of the exam


This procedure is used to diagnose tumors, abscesses, or disk problems in the spinal canal.

  • You will be asked to have a clear liquid breakfast the day of the exam
  • Drink plenty of fluids the day of the exam

Upper GI Series

This procedure is used to visualize the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine.

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke cigarettes, take medication or chew gum after midnight the night before your exam
  • You may brush your teeth, but do not swallow any water

VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram)

This is a procedure used to visualize the urinary bladder. A catheter will be inserted into your urethra.

  • You may eat and drink as normal
  • Do not go to the bathroom one-hour before your scheduled appointment


  • Children are often sedated for this exam
  • Do not eat or drink three hours prior to the exam
  • Arrive one hour prior to your scheduled appointment