What is an X-Ray?

An x-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body - particularly your bones.  X-ray beams pass through your body, and they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up as white on x-rays. The air in your lungs shows up as black.

Besides plain x-rays, the Diagnostic Imaging department utilizes another imaging technique called fluoroscopy.  Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures using a continuous x-ray beam. As an imaging tool, fluoroscopy helps physicians better examine the skeletal, digestive, urinary, vascular, and reproductive systems. Some common fluoroscopy exams that are performed at Spencer Hospital include:

  • Modified Barium Swallow
  • Esophagram
  • Upper GI
  • Barium Enema
  • VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram)
  • Hysterosalpingogram
  • Portagrams
  • Arthrograms
  • Myelograms

The highly skilled Radiologists in the Diagnostic Imaging department also offer several interventional procedures to assist patients in pain management. 

Our department is proud to be a clinical site for Iowa Central Community College’s Radiologic Technology Program. You may have the pleasure of being cared for by a technologist while they closely instruct and supervise a student.

What do I Need to do to Prepare for the Exam?

When you come for your exam you may be asked to change into a gown and remove jewelry depending on the x-rays needed. It is important to hold still and you may be asked to hold your breath for a brief time.  Depending on what type of an x-ray exam you are having will depend on the preparation involved.  You will be instructed if there is any special preparation needed for your x-ray exam when your exam is scheduled.  If you have questions, please call our Diagnostic Imaging department at 712-264-6500, and we would be happy to assist you.

What Should I Expect when I Arrive?

Please enter entrance B of Spencer Hospital and stop at our Patient Registration area just beyond the Gift Shop.  In our private patient registration room, your personal and insurance information will be updated.  Once you are registered, you will be directed to the Diagnostic Imaging department.

What will I Experience During the Exam?

You will be asked to either lie down on the x-ray table or stand up against the x-ray detector depending on what type of x-ray exam you are having.  The technologist will get you positioned to obtain the best image possible. The technologist will step out of the room while he or she takes the image.  A single image or multiple images may be necessary depending on what anatomical body part is being imaged.  Exams in our diagnostic radiology area can take less than 5 minutes, or in some fluoroscopy cases, up to an hour or more.  The technologist will inform you of a timeframe to expect upon taking you back to the x-ray room.

Who will be in the Exam Room with Me?

The x-ray technologist will get you positioned for the x-ray.  Once you are positioned, the technologist will step out of the room to take the picture.  For fluoroscopy exams, the technologist as well as a radiologist will be in the exam room with you.

What do I need to do After the Exam?

If you just had an x-ray taken, there are no instructions that you need to follow after the exam.  If you had a fluoroscopy exam or other interventional procedure done, you will be instructed by the technologist if there are any instructions for you to follow.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let the technologist know.

When will I receive the Results of the Exam?

You will receive your results from your ordering physician.  You may receive a phone call or have a follow up appointment with your physician.  If you are unsure of how you will receive your results or have questions regarding your results, please contact your physician’s office.