Tests and results

All questions

  • Following your appointment, you may be asked to attend the hospital for a mini-clinic appointment with a healthcare assistant.

    At this appointment, we may possibly:

    • Take a routine swab taken from your nose, to test for a type of bacteria. If your surgery requires you to have a skin incision, you may need to be treated for this bacteria first
    • Record your height and weight
    • Undertake a Covid swab
    • Take blood for specialist tests depending on the type of surgery that you are having
    • If there is a clinical reason, a heart trace (ECG) will be performed
    • Provide you with an information pack relevant to your surgery
    • Ask you to sign any relevant forms
  • During your consultation, your consultant will discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

  • All women up to the age of 55 years old who are having any kind of anaesthetic, abdominal surgery, an invasive gynaecological test or a procedure performed under X-ray guidance, will be required to undergo a pregnancy test.

  • Yes, all examination referrals must come from a doctor or recognised specialist.

  • Spire hospitals have an agreement with radiologists that reports should be completed within five working days - this is regardless of the body part that has been scanned. However, there are occasions when a specialist radiologist opinion is required, and in these cases, it can take a little bit longer.

  • Results are always returned to your referrer - this can be a GP, an organisation (such as the MoD) or a private consultant/GP. You should arrange a follow up appointment with your referrer to receive the results of imaging examinations.

    The results of imaging examinations often only form a part of the investigations and treatments requested or carried out by consultants, so should not be read in isolation. Your referrer will have a holistic view of your medical history, so can advise on the outcome of a radiology report alongside all other tests results and previous or current medical conditions.

  • An MRI scan can be used to diagnose a wide range of conditions including:

    • Damage or disease of your bones, joints and muscles eg arthritis or tendon tears
    • Brain tumours and the extent of brain damage caused by a stroke
    • Heart defects, heart disease and the extent of damage to your heart caused by a heart attack
    • Diseases of your internal organs such as your liver, womb and prostate gland eg prostate cancer, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis
    • The cause of pelvic pain in women, such as endometriosis or fibroids, or womb abnormalities in women with fertility problems

    Visit our Spire MRI scan treatment page for more information.

  • An MRI scan can take between 15 to 90 minutes depending on which part of your body needs to be scanned.

  • A CT scan is a fast and highly effective tool to provide detailed, cross-sectional views of areas of the body that may be hard to reach. Bones, internal organs, soft tissue and the brain can all be viewed in detail on a CT scan to help diagnose inflammation, hip pain, abdominal pain, crepitus, disease and cancer, and to monitor many other health conditions.

    Whereas a standard X-ray only sends out one beam to capture an image, during a CT scan several beams of X-ray are sent out at different angles. This creates a much more detailed picture in two or three dimensions.

    Visit our Spire CT scan treatment page for more information.

  • Your CT scan may take from 10 minutes to one hour. 

  • Both scans produce images of the inside of your body. A CT scan is less expensive and quicker but uses X-rays (a type of ionising radiation). An MRI scan does not use ionising radiation but instead uses radio waves and strong magnets. It can produce more detailed images than a CT scan but is more expensive, takes longer and involves lying down in a tunnel, which some people find claustrophobic.

    The type of scan you have will depend on what needs to be investigated in your body. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of each of your scan options and recommend the most appropriate scan.

    Read more about a CT vs MRI scan.

  • An X-ray is used to diagnose the cause of discomfort or pain, track the progress of a condition and/or the effectiveness of a treatment. It creates images of the inside of your body, with dense tissues (eg bone) appearing white and less dense tissues (eg your internal organs) appearing in shades of grey. It is often used to detect bone fractures but can also help diagnose a range of other conditions including osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, gut problems, and problems with your heart and blood vessels. 

    An X-ray takes just a few seconds. You’ll be able to go home shortly afterwards.

    Visit our Spire X-ray treatment page for more information.