Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Patient Care - General Radiology (Diagnostic Imaging)

Patient Care - General Radiology (Diagnostic Imaging)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

» Do I need an appointment?
» Where do I check in?
» How does the procedure work?
» How should I prepare for the procedure?
» What will I experience during the procedure?
» How and where will my x-rays be stored?


Do I need an appointment?

Routine x-rays do not require an appointment and usually require a minimal wait time. If you are having a GI, GU or bone density test, an appointment is recommended, although walk-ins are performed between scheduled appointments but may require a longer wait.

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Where do I check in?

The department is located at 6560 Fannin in the Scurlock Tower, 5th floor. Check in 10-15 minutes before the time of your appointment.

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How does the procedure work?

The science behind radiography involves exposing part of the body to a small dose of radiation, which produces an image of the internal organs. When the radiation penetrates the body, it is absorbed in varying amounts by different parts of the anatomy, resulting in either white or light gray images (such as the ribs and spine) or dark (such as with lung tissue).

Depending on the medium used, x-rays can be produced as film to be filed or, more commonly, as filmless computerized or digital images that can be stored electronically. Electronically stored images allow your physician to view your x-rays from his/her office.

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How should I prepare for my procedure?

  • Routine X-rays:
    • Most do not require special preparation
    • Women should inform their doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant
    • You will be asked to change into a gown before the procedure
    • You will be asked to remove jewelry, eyeglasses or other objects that may show up on the x-rays
  • Bone Density (DEXA)
    • You can eat normally, but do not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the procedure
    • Inform your doctor if you have had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope (Nuclear) scan (may require a wait of 5-7 days before bone density test can be performed
  • Upper GI
    • You should not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before the examination (including orally administered medications, and especially antacids)
    • Do not chew gum or smoke after midnight on the day before the examination. These activities can increase stomach secretions and degrade the quality of the images
    • Your doctor will give you detailed instructions for your Upper GI
  • Lower GI
    • Do not eat the day before the procedure and drink only clear liquids such as juice, tea, black coffee, cola or broth. Avoid dairy products
    • Take nothing by mouth after midnight on the day before the examination
    • According to your physician’s instructions, cleanse your colon using a preparation that generally includes taking laxatives and an over-the-counter enema the evening before or a few hours prior to the procedure
    • You can ingest prescribed oral medication with limited amounts of water
    • Your doctor will give you detailed instruction for your Lower GI

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What will I experience during the procedure?

The table may feel hard and the room may be cold because the equipment must be kept at a constant temperature. Houston Methodist staff members are sensitive to your comfort and needs and will do what they can to minimize any discomfort.

  • Routine x-rays
    • No discomfort
  • Upper GI studies
    • If required to drink barium, the taste may be slightly unpleasant
  • Lower GI studies
    • As the barium fills your colon you will feel the need to move your bowel
    • You may feel abdominal pressure or minor cramping
    • These sensations are common and most patients tolerate the mild discomfort easily

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How and where will my x-rays be stored?

Your x-rays are retained in General Electric’s Centricity PACS, a revolutionary picture archival communications system. Centricity stores digital images and data of patient procedures and provides immediate access to the hospital network.

Clinical images created in the Diagnostic Radiology, CT, MRI, US, Endovascular and NM departments are now available within seconds of test completion. This means faster test results and treatment for patients.

Note: In compliance with HIPAA regulations, only authorized personnel will have access to patient health care information.

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