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X-ray / Imaging

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Radiology is the branch of medicine specialising in of the use of tests that take pictures or images of parts of the body to help diagnose and treat disease. The Department of Radiology at RHC offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology services for children and young people up to 16 years of age. Our department performs approximately 56,800 imaging procedures every year.

You can find out more about the types of procedure that we do in the sections below.

Getting referred for an investigation

Although most referrals for imaging come to us from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde referrers, for some specialist imaging we cover the whole of Scotland.

Each referral is assessed by the radiology department before the examination or procedure is booked. This is to avoid unnecessary radiation to the patient but also to make sure they have the most appropriate examination or procedure.

Contact us to confirm your appointment

It is very important that you confirm whether your child will be able to attend on this day, so please contact 0800 056 0103 as soon as you receive your letter. 

Please do not attend if you have symptoms or are isolating.
Please do not attend if someone in your household is isolating.

Instead please contact us to discuss your situation:

Phone: 0800 056 0103

If possible please attend the appointment with one parent or guardian only. This is to minimise people within the hospital. Please arrive no more than 5 minutes before your appointment time.

X-ray (plain film)

This is the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. Most of us will have had an X-ray at some time during our lives, usually for looking for broken bones or at the chest or teeth.

A machine directs a narrow beam of X-rays through the part of the body that is being examined and an image is produced of the structures the X-rays have passed through in your body and this image is captured digitally.

The image is then transferred onto the PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) where it is stored, and staff can view it.


This is an X-ray procedure, sometimes called ‘screening’, and is often used to look at the gastrointestinal system (your tummy and plumbing!). After passing through the body, the X-ray beam is viewed by a special camera which produces a moving picture on a TV screen. This lets us watch the body as it works.

The radiologist or radiographer can take snapshot images of any important findings, or record the whole examination on video. For example, in a ‘barium meal’ we will ask you to swallow a drink of barium which is a special liquid which shows up well on X-rays, to give moving pictures of the stomach and intestines.

It also helps other health care practitioners, such as speech and language therapists working with patients who are having difficulty swallowing – taking dynamic pictures that will help guide treatment.


An ultrasound scan is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body.

We can use an ultrasound scan to monitor an unborn baby, look at organs in your body, particularly in your tummy, or to guide a surgeon during certain procedures.

It uses the same technology as sonar and modern medical ultrasound was developed in Glasgow!

We use a small device called an ultrasound probe, which gives off high-frequency sound waves. You can't hear these sound waves, but when they bounce off different parts of the body, they create 'echoes' that are picked up by the probe and turned into a moving image. This image is displayed on a monitor while we carry out the scan.

Computerised Tomography (CT)

The CT scanner uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of various parts of the body.

A CT scan is relatively quick to perform and is often the scan used in emergency situations and to look at parts of the body that contain air and bone – it provides more detailed, three dimensional pictures compared to a standard X-ray.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

MRI is a way of examining the organs and tissues in the body without the use of X-rays and has no known harmful effects.

The MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field, radio waves and an advanced computer to provide very clear and detailed images of any area of the body, and is particularly useful when examining soft tissue areas in the body such as the brain or spinal cord.

MRI is a valuable tool for the diagnosis of a wide range of conditions and allows us to see some body structures that may not be visible with other diagnostic imaging methods.

MRI scans are often used to examine joints, particularly for the common sports injuries affecting the knee. Scans can identify tendons, ligaments, muscle, cartilage and bone marrow and can help your doctor decide whether an injury needs surgery.

Because it is has a very strong magnet we do a checklist before you go in to make sure you don’t have anything magnetic on you or inside you.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine imaging uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radioisotopes that are typically injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed.

The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which are detected by a special camera and a computer to create images of the inside of your body.

Nuclear medicine imaging provides unique information that often cannot be obtained using other imaging procedures and can provide information of how some organs function.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 12 January 2021

Next review: 13 February 2025