X-rays are a common screening test used to evaluate the joints, the heart and lungs, the abdomen and the spine. X-rays can show fractures, heart failure, pneumonia, kidney stones, arthritis, and bowel obstructions as well as many other conditions. They are painless, fast, and use very low doses of radiation which makes them a powerful and a safe diagnostic tool. Overlake only employs radiology technologists who are professionally trained, certified and licensed in the state of Washington.
At Overlake, our primary goal is to keep your radiation exposure as low as possible during your exam while maintaining diagnostic quality. Different exams have different amounts of radiation involved, but as a reference, an individual is exposed to approximately 100 milligray of background radiation each year from sources like the ultraviolet rays of the sun and small traces of radioactive isotopes in the soil.
- Please notify the technologist if you are pregnant or could be pregnant.
- If necessary, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown or scrubs to eliminate the chance of any clothing material, snaps, buttons, or otherwise from interfering with the images taken.
- You will be asked to remove any jewelry, eyeglasses or any other metal objects. It is preferred that you leave any valuables at home.
During the Exam
During your X-ray exam, the technologist will position you and give you breathing instructions. Each image only takes seconds to obtain from start to finish and is stored digitally, which allows them to be processed and reviewed carefully and quickly. All Overlake radiology technologists use techniques to keep the radiation exposure at a minimum. Additionally, Overlake participates with local training programs to educate future technologists.
- Allow 5 - 15 minutes for the exam.
- You will lie, sit or be positioned on an X-ray table by the technologist so your body is properly aligned for imaging. You will need to remain still and possibly hold your breath while the X-ray is being taken.
- You may be repositioned to obtain multiple views.
After the Exam
Overlake’s board-certified and fellowship-trained radiology physicians have at a minimum of six years of training beyond medical school in specialty areas. These physicians are responsible for supervising the technologists and interpreting the images. Typically, the results from your X-ray exam are communicated to your referring provider shortly after your exam.
- Once the images are processed and reviewed to ensure diagnostic quality, you will be able to leave.
- Your X-rays will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist who specializes in the specific area of the body imaged during the exam.
- Your referring physician will receive a report detailing the findings of your exam within 24 hours. You should contact your doctor to discuss the results.
Fluoroscopy is a form of diagnostic radiology that enables the radiologist to view the area of concern in the body through the use of a video-type X-ray and a contrast agent that can show real-time motion of structures. Contrast agents may be introduced into the body through injection, swallowing or an enema. Fluoroscopy is especially effective in diagnosing problems in the upper and lower digestive tract.
Listed below are types of fluoroscopy examinations performed at Overlake.
Barium Enema - Lower GI
Lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract radiography — also called a lower GI — is an X-ray examination of the large intestine (also known as the colon). This includes the right or ascending colon, the transverse colon, the left or descending colon and the rectum. The appendix and a portion of the small intestine may also be included.
Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the lower gastrointestinal tract is filled with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the rectum, colon and part of the lower small intestine.
The patient is positioned on the examination table and an X-ray image is taken to ensure the bowel is clean. The technologist will insert a small tube into the rectum and begin to pump a mixture of barium and water into the colon. Air may also be injected through the tube to help the barium thoroughly coat the lining of the colon. Next, a series of X-ray images is taken.
Hysterosalpingography — also called uterosalpingography — is an X-ray examination of a woman's uterus and fallopian tubes.
Fluoroscopy is a special X-ray technique that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the uterus and fallopian tubes are filled with a water-soluble contrast material, the radiologist is able to view and assess their anatomy and function.
The patient is positioned on her back on the exam table, with her knees pulled to her chest or her feet held up with stirrups. A speculum is inserted into the vagina and the catheter is then inserted into the cervix. The speculum is removed and the patient is carefully situated underneath the fluoroscopy device. The contrast material then begins to fill the uterine cavity through the catheter and fluoroscopic images are taken.
In some cases, if certain abnormalities are encountered, the patient will be asked to rest and wait up to 30 minutes so that a delayed image can be obtained. This delayed image may provide clues to a patient's condition that the original images with contrast material may not. On occasion, an X-ray will be taken the next day to ensure that there is no scarring surrounding the ovaries.
When the procedure is complete, the catheter will be removed and the patient will be allowed to sit up. The hysterosalpingogram is usually completed within 30 minutes.
Small Intestines - Small Bowel Series
Small bowel radiography is an X-ray examination of the small intestines and can be done alone or in conjunction with an upper gastrointestinal series.
The patient is instructed to drink liquid barium. Then an X-ray is taken of the abdomen to view the travel of the barium through the gastrointestinal system. Depending on the speed of transit through the bowel, additional X-rays will be taken at timed intervals. When the barium has traveled through the small intestines and begins to enter the large intestines, fluoroscopy may be used to view the small intestines.
Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. The exam table will be positioned at different angles and the patient's abdomen may be compressed.
Upper Gastrointestinal Series
Upper gastrointestinal tract radiography — also called an upper GI — is an X-ray examination of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine.
Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the gastrointestinal tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the pharynx, esophagus, and stomach. In addition to drinking barium, some patients are also given baking-soda crystals to further improve the images.
As the patient drinks the liquid barium, the radiologist will watch the barium pass through the patient's digestive tract. The exam table will be positioned at different angles and the patient's abdomen may be compressed.