General Radiology (X-ray) involves radiographs of the body including chest, abdomen, extremities and head. Some exams require preparation or fasting.

Contrast Radiography

Contrast agents are utilized to help or enhance the visibility of your organs during a test. The agents can be administered in a vein or instilled in a duct or hollow organ, such as barium sulfate in the gastrointestinal tract or through oral ingestion (drinking).

Examples of exams involving contrast agents are: upper GI, barium enema and IVP.

Upper Gastrointestinal Series (UGI)

The UGI is an X-ray examination of the esophagus and stomach and is sometimes followed by images of the small bowel. You should arrive with an empty stomach (no food or drink after midnight). The radiologist will ask you to drink a barium mixture, which coats the digestive tract so that it becomes more visible. The radiologist views the movement of barium and may take several images while moving the patient to different positions. Barium is similar to Milk of Magnesia in consistency and taste.

The exam should take approximately 30–60 minutes. Additional images of the barium moving through the small intestine may be taken if requested by the referring physician. This can add anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. Throughout these procedures, the patient usually feels no discomfort or pain.


Barium Enema

A barium enema is done to evaluate the lower GI tract. The colon and rectum are also important areas to examine.

A bowel-cleansing prep must be administered the day before the procedure to permit clearer images of the large bowel and surrounding tissues (nothing to eat or drink after midnight before the test).

At the time of examination, a barium mixture is instilled through an enema tip placed in the rectum by the technologist. This procedure may cause some discomfort but is not painful. The radiologist will examine and image the flow of barium. The patient will be asked to move to several different positions.


Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, your physician must order your X-ray. If you were given a written order (script) for your test, you must bring it with you or your exam may be delayed.

You may get your X-ray taken at WHS Washington Hospital, WHS Greene or one of our four satellite facilities. If you have your X-ray taken at the hospital, remember to stop at Registration/Admitting on the second floor, just inside the main lobby, prior to going to the X-ray Department. For a list of outpatient tests and location click here.

It is impossible to calculate the long-term effects from low doses of radiation that is used in testing. It is estimated that the chances of developing cancer as a result of an X-ray of the chest, for example, are similar to the risks of developing cancer by inhaling the smoke of one cigarette—about one in a million.

You do not need an appointment for a regular X-ray, such as a chest X-ray. You only need an appointment for specialized exams, such as an IVP, upper GI or barium enema.

One of our board-certified radiologists will analyze the images and send a report to your primary care physician and the physician who ordered the exam. This detailed report will be sent to your physician’s office within 24–48 hours. The physician’s office will call you or the results will be reviewed at your next appointment.

You can contact the Radiology Department at (724) 223-3300. The Radiology Department prefers 24-hour advance notice prior to picking up your CD, although they understand this is not always possible and are always willing to meet your needs as quickly as possible.

You may be required to show identification upon pickup. If someone other than yourself is picking up your CD, you must send a signed letter giving them permission to do so. Only a physician can request a copy of your images; personal requests must be made through the Medical Records Correspondence Department.