Questions About Radiology

Questions About Radiology

PatientHere are questions we hear the most often about radiology and medical imaging. For any questions or concerns not addressed below, please contact us at 434-924-9400.



Are x-rays safe?

The x-ray technician that takes your films will give you the lowest dose possible of radiation to achieve quality images. In addition, new equipment and techniques are constantly being developed to decrease the total amount of radiation received by the patient. For example, modern mammography equipment, operated by trained technologists, delivers 1/40th the amount of radiation used 20 years ago.

How is an x-ray image produced?

An x-ray image, or radiograph, is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through a body part by special detectors to produce a black-and-white anatomical image. Areas that are difficult for x-rays to penetrate, such as bone, appear white on the x-ray film. Areas that the x-rays penetrate easily, such as the lungs or other areas filled with air, appear black. Soft tissue, vessels and organs appear as various shades of gray on an x-ray image, depending upon their composition and density.

Are all x-ray studies the same?

No. Actually there are eight different clinical subspecialty Divisions within Radiology that all use a different technology to look inside of our bodies. Some use radiation, while others don't. More on Information on Radiology Exams.

Who will read my films?

Your films will be read by a board-certified Radiologist Physician (M.D.). You can be certain that your films will be read by some of the best Radiologists in the country. And, since our department is organized primarily by body part, your films will be read by a Radiologist who specializes in that particular area of the body.

Can I obtain copies of my images?

Yes. You will be asked to complete an Authorization for Release of Medical Information form. Should you wish to arrange for your images to be mailed to you or to your physician's office, please call the department at the number listed above.

Will a Radiologist perform my study or will I only be seen by a technologist?

That will depend on the type of study you are having. Generally, all studies that require minimally invasive intervention or require a contrast agent, will be assisted and/or performed by a Radiologist. Any plain film i.e. x-ray of your arm or leg, will be performed by a Registered Technologist, and interpreted by a Radiologist. Please refer to Information on Radiology Exams for more specific information on your particular exam or contact the Department for additional information.

When and how will my physician receive my x-ray report?

It is the department's policy to read all films the same day they are done. Once read, a final report will either be faxed or mailed to your referring physician.

Can I wear my jewelry during my x-ray study?

It is preferred that you not wear any jewelry during an exam that administers radiation. Since ultrasounds do not administer any radiation, you may wear jewelry during that study.

Can I eat before my procedure?

That depends on the type of procedure you are having. Please refer to Information on Radiology Exams for specific information.

If I have dentures, will I be asked to take them out prior to my study?

If you are having an MRI, please come prepared to take your dentures out. Other types of exams may not require that. Please refer to the Information on Radiology Exams section for more specific information.

I'm claustrophobic. What should I do if I'm having an MRI or CT?

Please tell your Primary Care Physician about this condition. He/she may choose to give you a prescription medication to help calm you prior to the study. Please refer to Information on Radiology Exams for more specific information.

Where would I send a complimentary letter or letter of concern?

You may send your letter to the physician or technologist that performed your study, or you may send your letter to the Chairman of our department. If you wish to send your letter to the Chairman, please address it to the following:

Alan Matsumoto, M.D., Chair
University of Virginia Health System
Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging
Box 800170
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0170

For More Information: 434-924-9400