You'll find the radiology service reception in the hospital atrium near the treehouse. We perform more than 70,000 examinations each year including x-rays, MRI scans and ultrasounds.
An x-ray, also called a radiograph, is carried out by a radiographer. We have three x-ray rooms at Alder Hey and we have male and female radiographers who are specially trained to work with children. If you or your child would like a copy of the x-ray, you can buy a special education pack that includes a paper copy of the x-ray, as well as some information and activities about x-rays.
This is a different type of x-ray and is usually taken by a Consultant Radiologist with the help of a radiographer. Please note if you are bringing your child for a fluoroscopy, they may need to miss breakfast before coming to the hospital and when you get here, they may have to drink a special dye which shows up on x-rays. You are able to stay with your child during a fluoroscopy test.
A CT scan uses a machine to take a more detailed image than you might see with an x-ray. Sometimes, we may need to give your child an injection of a special dye that makes the images even clearer but we use a ‘magic cream’ to numb the skin beforehand. You are able to stay with your child during a CT scan.
We have two MRI scanners at Alder Hey. One is in the Radiology department and the other is a special version which can be used in theatre to scan patients during operations.
An MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field, so it’s important that when your child goes into the scanning room, they don’t have anything made from metal on them or in their pockets. An MRI scan takes a longer than other scans but patients can watch a film or listen to music to help them relax. If your child is too young or unwell to be able to lie still during an MRI scan they may need a general anaesthetic.
Ultrasound scans are usually performed by a radiographer or sonographer. All radiographers and sonographers at Alder Hey are specially trained to work with children. We mostly use ultrasound to scan the stomach, but we can use it to scan any part of the body. Ultrasounds are painless but to get the clearest pictures we need to use a jelly on your child’s skin, which they might find cold and sticky.
When your child comes to a nuclear medicine test they usually need to have an injection of a radioisotope, which is a special liquid that can be detected by a gamma camera. We use a ‘magic cream’ to numb your child’s skin before the injection and our radiographers are all specially trained to work with children. Depending on the area we need to look at, we may do the scan immediately after the injection but in some cases we may need to wait a few hours.
We use the DEXA scanner to check bone density and check if bones are fragile or if they are at risk of fracturing.
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Who's who: The people you might meet
The radiology team includes a range of specialists. Here's what they do:
Our radiographers are specially trained to take radiology pictures of children and young people.
A sonographer is a radiographer who specialises in performing ultrasound scans. Our sonographers are specially trained to do ultrasound scans of children and young people.
Imaging Department Assistant
These staff are here to assist your child whilst they are in the department. They are on hand to guide you around the department as well as help children prepare for their images to be taken.
Our support team coordinate radiology requests from other departments and send out any reports to your child’s medical team.
Our PACS Manager is responsible for making sure all images taken in the Radiography department can be seen by your child’s medical team.
A Consultant Radiologist is responsible for interpreting images taken by a radiographer. Our Consultant Radiologists are specially trained to interpret images of children and young people
A Radiology Registrar is a doctor training to become a Consultant Radiologist.