World Radiography Day (8 November) marks the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895.

Radiographers worldwide use the day and the days around the date to promote radiography as a career, as a vital contribution to modern healthcare, and as an opportunity to increase public awareness of diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy.

At Barnsley Hospital, Medical Imaging is on ground level, next door to the Emergency Department. We have 55 Radiographers working across the department and you can identify them by the burgundy scrubs and black trousers.

All patients admitted to the hospital will visit the department for some form of imaging during their stay.

The department provides:

– Plain Film (X-ray)

– Computer Tomography (CT)

– Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

– Ultrasound

– Nuclear Medicine

– Fluoroscopy

– Dexa scanning

– Mammography

Plain Film (X-ray)

Plain film X-ray is often a patient’s first interaction with the imaging department.  An X-ray is a quick and painless procedure commonly used to produce images of the inside of the body.

It’s a very effective way of looking at the bones and can be used to help detect a range of conditions.

During an X-ray, you’ll usually be asked to lie on a table or stand against a flat surface so that the part of your body being examined can be positioned in the right place.

The X-ray machine, which looks like a tube containing a large light bulb, will be carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined by the radiographer. They will operate the machine from behind a screen.

The X-ray will last for a fraction of a second. You won’t feel anything while it’s carried out.

While the X-ray is being taken, you’ll need to keep still so the image produced isn’t blurred. More than one X-ray may be taken from different angles to provide as much information as possible.

Computer Tomography (CT)

CT scans can produce detailed images of many structures inside the body, including the internal organs, blood vessels and bones.

They can be used to:

  • diagnose damage to bones, injuries to internal organs from trauma, problems with blood flow, stroke, and cancer.
  • help determine the location, size and shape of a tumour before having radiotherapy, or allow a doctor to take a needle biopsy.
  • monitor the progress of treatment following cancer diagnosis.

Most CT scans require an injection of x-ray dye that can make you feel really warm, create a metallic taste and often a feeling of passing of water!

BHNFT has two CT scanners, with one installed in March 2021. They are both located next door to ultrasound and MRI.

We provide imaging to patients from the emergency department, ward patients, intensive care wards and mobile patients from clinics/GP surgeries.  It is a very busy department and has a very lively warm group of staff who are always putting patients at the heart of everything they do.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

This is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.  An MRI scanner is a large tube that contains powerful magnets. You lie inside the tube during the scan. Unlike CT or x-ray patients are required to complete a safety questionnaire before they can enter the scan room. This is to make sure there is nothing that could stick to the magnet! MRI examinations can be as quick as 15 minutes but some last 60 minutes.

An MRI scan can be used to diagnose or monitor:

Some MRI scans use a special dye called contrast to create more detailed pictures. The dye is injected into your body, usually through a vein in your arm.

The images are taken in thin ‘slices’ through your body from various directions without you having to move. An MRI scan can often show things that can’t be seen on an X-ray or in other tests such as an ultrasound scan.

The Trust has recently installed a high specification second MRI scanner.  Our original scanner (MRI1) is located on the ground level next door to the CT department and our new scanner (MRI2) that only opened a few weeks ago is next door to the main x-ray reception.  This is the first time Barnsley has had two static MRI scanners and is going to make a huge difference to the region by providing new services such as cardiac MRI to avoid patients having to travel for the more specialised examinations.

Ultrasound

Obstetric ultrasound provides parents with the opportunity to see the baby safely. We can date the pregnancy, check how the baby is growing and assess for potential abnormalities.

Ultrasound scans use sound waves to produce real-time images on the screen. Scans are performed by sonographers who are skilled in this aspect of imaging. They are generally Radiographers who have specialised in ultrasound and have had to study for a further two years at university. Ultrasound is sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘jelly on your belly’. The jelly is an essential part of the scan as it allows the ultrasound beam to pass into the body.

We may ask you to fast or fill your bladder as this helps the sonographer to see clearly during your scan. Interesting fact: Babies in the womb swallow the fluid surrounding them and this can sometimes be seen during a scan.

Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy uses x-rays to look at different parts of the body, bones, the digestive system the heart arteries or the urinary system. The images are continuous ‘moving x-rays’ and allow us to see function as well as anatomy.

Here in Barnsley we have a cardiac catheterisation lab and fluoroscopy room so we can look at your swallowing or heart arteries.

Sometimes for tests we will ask that you drink contrast ‘X-ray dye’ or you will have an injection so we can see certain areas more clearly.

We work with various other teams to provide your tests in fluoroscopy; cardiology, endoscopy and orthopaedics to name a few.

Dexa Scan

A bone density scan is a quick and painless procedure that involves lying on your back on an X-ray table so an area of your body can be scanned.

No special preparations are needed.

You may be able to remain fully clothed, depending on the area of your body being scanned.

You lie on your back on a flat, open X-ray table. You’ll need to keep very still during the scan so the images are not blurred.

During the scan, a large scanning arm will be passed over your body to measure bone density in the centre of the skeleton.

As the scanning arm is moved slowly over your body, a narrow beam of low-dose X-rays will be passed through the part of your body being examined.

This will usually be your hip and lower spine to check for weak bones (osteoporosis).

The forearm may be scanned for certain health problems, such as hyperparathyroidism, or if scans are not possible in the hip or spine.

The scan usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. You’ll be able to go home after you have had it done.

A bone density scan compares your bone density with the bone density expected for a young healthy adult or a healthy adult of your own age, gender and ethnicity.

BHNFT has one DEXA room with a specialised group of radiographers and assistant practitioners that efficiently run the service.

Mammography

The Mammography Department are located in Women’s Services at Barnsley Hospital. We are a close-knit team that consists of many different disciplines. There are Radiographers that have specialised into mammography (Mammographers), Assistant Practitioners, Radiologists, Advanced Practitioner Radiographers and admin staff.

We all work as a team to ensure the safe and effective running of the department and as radiographers, we have a variety of responsibilities to conduct in our role. We do mammograms for breast screening, breast symptomatic clinics (ladies that attend with a breast problem), ultrasound imaging, breast image reporting, stereotactic and ultrasound guided core biopsies, vacuum-assisted biopsies, imaging of breast theatre specimens containing cancerous lumps and post breast cancer treatment imaging.

We are at the forefront of breast cancer diagnosis and are there for our patients for every step of their pathway. Our aim is for the best possible patient outcome whilst giving our patients the best care.