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Radiology

scan

Our Radiology Department offers a round the clock service and carries out around 60,000 examinations a year.

The team is made up of 40 people, nine of which are Consultant Radiologists, and we’re based in the hospital behind the Emergency Department.

We offer a range of services including:

  • plain film radiography
  • fluoroscopy
  • ultrasound
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • nuclear medicine

GP walk-in appointments

We offer GP patients a walk-in service for their plain film examinations between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. You must remember to bring the request card your GP gave you.

To confirm an appointment or rearrange examination dates please ring 0114 226 0812.

Specialist services

We offer specialist MRI scanning of joints that require an injection of contrast fluid. We also use ultrasound to guide botox injections of the psoas muscle in children with cerebral palsy.

The Nuclear Medicine Department provides a full range of paediatric imaging including MIBG for cancer patients. It also performs SPECT examinations during episodes of convulsions in children in order to support surgery for epilepsy.

We offer a national service for reviewing skeletal and brain imaging in children suspected of having been injured by their carers.

We also provide a specialist imaging service for investigation of child death in co-operation with the Pathology Department.

Radiology results

The results from your radiology examination will be returned to the consultant or team  who has referred you for the test. No results will be available at the X-ray appointment itself as they have to be reported by a radiologist first.

Can I have a copy of my radiology images?

We will need to gain consent from your consultant and there will also be a charge from the department to produce the CD. Please complete the form and send back to the radiology department.

Types of scans

X-ray

X-rays are used to image the chest, abdomen and all bony structures in the body.

They are often used as the first line of diagnosis for common medical conditions. X-ray examinations are very quick and entirely painless to have taken.

The X-ray department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is entirely digital – all images are taken and viewed on computers.

We take X-ray images of all parts of the body as well as undertaking more complex studies of internal organs.

CT

A computerised tomography (CT) scanner uses X-rays to produce images through your body showing bone and soft tissue detail. This scanner can produce extremely detailed slices that can be stacked together so that a 3D view of the body’s interior can be seen.

The scanner looks like a large doughnut. You will be asked to lie on a cushioned table which will move slowly through the scanner to allow pictures to be taken at different angles. The machine makes a noise while working. The scan may last for only a few minutes, for more complex examinations it may last half an hour.

Most of the time you will be able to see out of the scanner, so this type of scan is not usually a problem for anyone who feel claustrophobic. However, if you are worried about this please speak to your radiographer before you come in for your scan.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan builds up pictures of organs and areas inside the body using sound waves. This type of scan does not use X-rays and is entirely safe.

The ultrasound waves are delivered by a small handheld transducer similar to a microphone. The transducer is moved over the surface of the skin and it picks up the sound waves as they return from various organs within the body.

A computer, which is linked to the transducer, turns the sound waves into pictures that are viewed on a monitor. Images are stored and then interpreted by trained specialists.

Your appointment letter will tell you if there is any preparation required.

There are no known risks with ultrasound and it is considered to be very safe. The scan does not hurt but you will feel a gentle pressure of the sensor over the skin. Most scans take about half an hour, however it is not always possible to know how long a scan will take until it begins.

MRI

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI scanner uses a magnetic field and radio waves to build up detailed pictures of various parts of the body by picking up signals sent out by water molecules. No X-rays are used.

You will also be required to fill in a questionnaire about your health and medical history, as will your parent or guardian who may come into the scan with you.

The scanner produces a variety of loud noises. Ear defenders or earplugs will help reduce this noise. Although the scanner is open at both ends, some people may find it slightly claustrophobic. If you are worried about this, please speak to your radiographer before you come for your scan.

During the scan, the radiographer will be able to see you from the control room and you can talk to each other through an intercom. You will be given a call button to press and may be able to listen to music during the scan or bring your favourite DVD with you to watch.

For very young children we may have to anaesthetise them so that they will keep perfectly still during the scan. Your appointment letter from radiology will let you know if this is to happen.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a technique that allows doctors to assess the function of different parts of the body.

A small amount of radioactive material called a tracer is given to the patient, normally by injecting it into a vein.

After a period of time, the distribution of that tracer within the body is measured with a gamma camera. Please allow all day for this test to be carried out.

Fluoroscopy

Fluoroscopy is an x-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.

A range of dyes which can be drunk or introduced via catheters are used to highlight the area under investigation.

EOS Scanner

This is a unique piece of imaging equipment only found in a few NHS trusts which can provide a full-body skeletal image of a patient in a natural standing or seated position in both 2D and 3D.

This is especially useful for orthopaedic assessments as the patient is imaged whilst in a vertical position rather than laying down.

Assistance for children with learning disabilities or autism

Radiology can be a busy department with equipment that can look very intimidating for children, especially those with additional needs.

If you are coming to visit, we can offer support to help your child to have a successful appointment. Some examples of the support services we offer include:

  • Access to quiet areas with sensory lighting and toys
  • Ear defenders
  • Fidget and distraction toys as well as books.
  • We can offer appointments at certain times of day when the department is quieter (such as first appointment of the day) if that is more suitable for you.
  • We can arrange a visit to the department prior to your appointment so you can see where the test will take place and meet some of our friendly staff. We can explain everything that will happen so your child will feel more comfortable on the day knowing what to expect.
  • Please let us know if your child uses Makaton or another form of communication (easy reads / widgit symbols), we have staff trained to communicate in this way who will be more than happy to help.
  • We also have a number of social stories available for different kinds of test which we can send out to you in advance of the appointment if that would be beneficial for your child.

Please contact us prior to your appointment on 0114 271 7238 so we can find out more about your child and plan for any reasonable adjustments required on the day. If you have a hospital passport please let us know so we can read it and do our best to support you and your child.

Further information

Radiation Answers is a website run by the Health Physics Society which can provide information and advice about radiation treatments and risks.

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