Questions about X-rays

What is a Medical Radiation Technologist-MRT?

A medical radiation technologist (MRT) is a qualified, regulated professional who uses ionizing radiant energy to produce diagnostic images. An MRT has extensive knowledge in Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, Radiation Biology and Protection, Physics, and Imaging- along with basic nursing and first aid skills. MRT’s must be a member of the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario and must adhere to the standards and scope of practice developed by the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario.

Does it hurt?

You will not feel anything during the exposure. It is the same as having your picture taken with a regular camera.

Do I have to wear a patient gown?

In a lot of cases, wearing a gown is necessary because many things can show up on your film and can add, obscure or cover pertinent information. There are obvious things such as coins, zippers, keys etc. Sometimes, plastic buttons, folds of clothing, or wallets, cards etc., can show up as well.

I am unsure if I should have this x-ray exam. Is it harmful?

Your doctor has prescribed this x-ray examination to help in the diagnosis of your injury and/or illness. All radiation doses—including background radiation (this is radiation received from the earth), are considered to be harmful. However, as a diagnostic tool, the benefits of medical x-rays (a highly controlled dose) greatly outweighs the small, possible harmful effects that may be induced. You do have the right to refuse the x-ray examination.

Do I get a lot of radiation from this test?

The amount of radiation dose you receive will be much less than the national acceptable dose for entrance exposures for your exam. Strict guidelines and regulations exist in Ontario for all Imaging facilities and Medical Radiation Technologists to ensure patient safety and protection. StL Diagnostic Imaging use efficient imaging systems that allow us to reduce our patient exposures to as low as reasonably achievable and still acquire excellent diagnostic images.

Why do the Medical Radiation Technologists ask if there is any chance of being pregnant?

The embryo is a rapidly developing/dividing cell system. This makes it sensitive to radiation, especially in the first trimester. A significant dose could increase the incidence of congenital (existing from birth) abnormalities by 1% over the natural incidence. It is proven that radiation in utero is harmful but it should be noted that the probability of this occurrence is small. If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant, PLEASE, notify the technologist before your exam takes place. That way an assessment can be made of your specific situation to determine any risk to an unborn child. If it is decided that the risk is too high, then you may be asked to come back at a later date for your x-ray examination.

I have had a lot of x-ray examinations lately. How many x-rays are too many?

Dose limits have been defined for radiation workers and the population by the government, but there is no specific permissible level recommended for patients having diagnostic x-ray examinations. The risk must always be compared to the medical necessity for an accurate diagnosis. There is no minimum or maximum number of x-rays allowed in one year or accumulative in a lifetime.

Who can order an X-ray or an Ultrasound?

A Physician, Registered Nurse in the Extended Class, Dentist, Chiropractor, Designated Chiropodist or an Osteopath can order an x-ray or an ultrasound.

A Registered Nurse may complete an x-ray/ultrasound requisition upon implementing a medical directive. The RN completes the requisition and includes his/her signature, the name of the physician responsible for the care of the patient and reference to the specific medical directive.

Can I refuse an x-ray examination?

Yes. If you do, please inform your physician that you have, as it may determine your treatment.

Why do we phone "verbals"? Why don't we just FAX the report?

It is our protocol to phone significant positive verbals to the RN caring for the patient as soon as it is interpreted by our radiologist. This significantly improves patient care. The radiology report is typed and faxed within 24 hours.


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AdvantAGE Ontario

 Ontario Association of Radiology Managers - OARM

Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences - OAMRS

College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario - CMRTO

Independent Diagnostic CLinics Association - IDCA