An X-ray is a quick and painless procedure used to diagnose many health conditions. It involves exposing part of the body to a small dose of ionising radiation (X-rays), which can take images of bones and also used to look at the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
A referral letter from a consultant or GP is required before booking any diagnostic investigation.
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Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care.
All of our radiographers are of the highest standard and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
You don’t usually need to make any preparations before your examination. Please report to the X-ray reception desk on your arrival.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having any type of investigation can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
During an X-ray, your radiographer will position you on a table and then place a film holder or digital recording plate under the area of your body that’s being X-rayed.
The radiographer will then move behind a screen to activate the X-ray machine. The whole procedure is painless and is usually completed within five to 10 minutes.
X-rays travel through your body, where they are absorbed at different levels by different tissues such as bones, muscles and organs. When the X-rays come out on the other side of your body they hit a photographic film and make a pattern of light and shade.
The images produced are black, white and grey. They are either stored on film or kept in a digital format and shown on a computer screen, and allow your doctor to help diagnose what is wrong with you.
An X-ray is carried out as an outpatient procedure and you'll be able to leave hospital after your scan.
Before you go home, it’s important that you ask your radiographer when and how you will receive your results.
If you haven’t been told the results of your test within two weeks, you should call the hospital or the doctor who requested your test. You should make sure your doctor has seen your report, and has acted upon the results.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
COVID-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service at Spire Harpenden Hospital.