What we do

Often known as radiology or x-ray, Diagnostic Imaging Services covers a wide range of imaging or scanning tests that help in the investigation of patient symptoms or explore medical conditions.

Professionals, known as radiographers, obtain these images or scans using highly specialised scanners, and medical specialists called radiologists read the images.

We provide imaging services to hospital inpatients and GPs, and also support outpatient investigations hosted by hospital clinics.

Radiologists also perform a number of procedures and treatments guided by imaging to avoid more invasive surgical operations.

Some of our imaging techniques use x-rays or other forms of radiation. The amount of radiation we use in medicine is usually very small, and we take care to use minimise its use.

The risk of harm resulting from this small dose of radiation dose is also very small, and you should be assured that any risks are far outweighed by the benefits of making a correct diagnosis.

Types of imaging

Plain film imaging (x-ray)

X-ray films or radiographs are most useful for looking at the bones and joints of the arms, legs, hands and feet. They are very useful in the chest and can be used to look at the spine in the neck, back and lower back.

Sometimes they do not give enough information and they may be used in combination with another imaging test. In some cases the radiologist may decide that a more detailed test should be used instead of plain film x-ray. For example, the investigation of headaches, and abdominal or back pain.

We try to avoid exposing pregnant patients to radiation of the abdomen or pelvis, so we may ask you if you may be pregnant.

Service: The Radiology department at Bradford Royal Infirmary serves mainly patients in hospital and those attending A&E. Outpatients and GP patients may attend St Luke’s Hospital and Shipley Hospital without an appointment.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is performed by specialist sonographers or radiologists using a handheld imaging device to generate images of the body to help identify the source of symptoms.

Many people will know ultrasound tests from scanning of pregnant women to examine their babies. The most common areas scanned in ultrasound are the abdomen and pelvis. However, ultrasound can safely be used to examine most parts of the body except bone.

Children are often examined using ultrasound as it does not use x-radiation and images are very good in youngsters.

Ultrasound can be used to guide procedures such as joint injections or tube insertions to drain fluid collections from the chest and abdomen. Many ‘lumps and bumps’ may be examined and sometimes sampled by needle biopsy using ultrasound.

Service: The main ultrasound suite at Bradford Royal Infirmary has five ultrasound rooms with recent developments from Hitachi Medical Systems bringing high resolution prostate imaging to Bradford.

There are also several other sites within the Trust which provide ultrasound services including the Women’s and Childrens Unit, where mainly pregnant women are scanned. However, rooms there are also used for non-pregnancy scans too.

Some specialist scans are performed at St Luke’s Hospital, and within the Vascular and Medical Physics departments at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Time:  The ultrasound suite is open to scan outpatients by appointment, Monday to Friday from 8:30am- 5pm with additional lists on Saturdays and some evenings. Inpatients are scanned on appropriate request during normal working hours and following consultation out of hours.

CT Imaging

CT or CAT scan imaging uses x-rays to generate cross-sectional images or ‘slices’ of the body. Patients lie on the CT table which moves through a hole in the scanner. The scan often takes only a few seconds although preparations may take several minutes.

A needle may be placed in your arm to allow injection of contrast or ‘dye’ into a vein. This improves the quality of images and helps the radiologist see more internal details of the body organs. We try to avoid contrast injection if you have poor kidney function, so please let us know if you have any history of kidney failure.

Radiation in very large doses can be harmful, but in general the amount of radiation used in diagnostic imaging is very small. We try to minimise your exposure to radiation by selecting the most appropriate test and technique. We take special care of young patients and pregnant women.

Contrast is usually very safe, but some people may develop a mild skin reaction with itchy lumps called hives or urticaria. This usually improves by itself over 15 to 20 minutes without treatment. Very rarely, patients may have an allergic reaction, like a bad reaction to a bee sting, but the department and staff are equipped to treat these reactions.

Service: Bradford Teaching Hospitals is the reference site for Toshiba’s Aquilion Prime CT scanner and this collaboration with industry has led to the development of low radiation dose and low contrast volume protocols to better patient care.

The scanner at St Luke’s is a wide area detector scanner pioneered by Toshiba over 10 years ago, which allows imaging of the heart in just one heartbeart.

The latest addition to the department is the newest 320 detector scanner from Canon, which was installed in March 2018 and brings the latest in scanning technology to Bradford.

Outpatient scanning: Bradford Royal Infirmary: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. Many unwell inpatients at BRI are also scanned here and you may experience delays as we try to fit in these patients. Also, urgent patients from A&E may interrupt the workflow through the department but we will try to keep you informed.

St Luke’s Hospital: Outpatients are scanned at St Luke’s Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm by appointment.

MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnet and radiowaves to generate images of the body without using x-rays. It is most useful for examining the soft tissues of the brain and spine, areas that are less well visualised with CT scans. Body organs like the liver and bowel, and the bones and joints are also well seen.

MRI scans take longer to acquire than CT scans, often 30–45 minutes for each patient, so working to appointment times is much more important to maximise efficiency. Patients lie on the MRI table inside the scanner for the duration of the scan and this can make patients feel uncomfortable if they have a fear of confirmed spaces. You may visit the department before your scan to avoid having to cancel the scan on the day and to plan any other scans instead.

Service: There are two MR scanners at Bradford Royal Infirmary from Siemens and GE. Both operate at 1.5T strength and permit a wide range of general MR scanning. The movable 1.5T Toshiba scanner at St Luke’s once supported the Olympics in London and has been located on a semi-permanent basis.

Time: Bradford Royal Infirmary – routine scanning takes place between 8am and 8pm. Urgent patients may have to be scanned during the day but we will try to minimise any delays to your scan.

St Luke’s Hospital – routine scanning by appointment between 8am and 8pm.

Fluroscopy and Vascular Imaging

Fluoroscopic screening uses ‘live’ x-rays in real time to see contrast or ‘dye’ moving in the body. This includes watching the action of swallowing, or coating the stomach and small bowel with contrast so we can see the surface.

Live fluoroscopy also allows the radiologist to place needles and injections in joints to aid diagnosis and treat joint pain.

Specialist radiologists and advance practitioners use live angiography to visualise diseased blood vessels in the body and legs by injecting contrast or ‘dye’ through them. Tubes and wires and tiny balloons can be passed through the blood vessels to open up blockages, or metal implants can be inserted under fluoroscopic guidance.

Service: Fluoroscopy is provided at Bradford Royal Infirmary for inpatients and outpatients during normal working hours. Vascular imaging may be performed as a day case requiring a short admission onto a ward.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine imaging requires the injection of a small amount of radioactive material into a vein. The specially selected material finds its way to the body tissue we wish to visualise and a special detector camera is used to record the radiation in the organ to generate an image.

Some radioactive materials may be generated on site when needed but many have to be brought in by special order from centres in Manchester and elsewhere for your examination. The dose of radiation we inject is very small and the radioactivity only lasts a short time. It is important to keep appointment times as any unused material is wasted and has to be discarded.

Service: Most scans are performed on an outpatient basis at Bradford Royal Infirmary between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Expect to be in the Nuclear Medicine Department for two hours or more.

Teaching and Training

The Department of Radiology supports the undergraduate medical curriculum delivered by Leeds University School of Medicine. We are a partner of the Leeds/Bradford Radiology Training Academy and consultant radiologists provide general and sub-speciality specialist training. There are also links with Bradford University Schools of Radiography and Nursing.

Types of examinations

  • X-ray (Plain Film Radiography)

    Plain film radiography uses x-rays to view the chest, abdomen and bones and is often the first line of investigation. Digital radiographs are acquired from the main x-ray Department at BRI, A&E, and St Luke’s Hospital.

    GP-referred plain-film examinations are also performed at Shipley Hospital, which is electronically linked with the main department.

  • Ultrasound

    In Ultrasound sonography, high frequency sound waves obtain images of the body without radiation. Both inpatient and outpatient ultrasound examinations are performed within the Ultrasound Suite and Maternity Unit at BRI, and at St Luke’s Hospital. These include general

    abdominal imaging and specialist examinations such musculoskeletal, breast imaging or vascular investigations. Some interventional procedures may also be best performed with ultrasound guidance.

  • CT (Computer Tomography)

    Computer Tomography acquires cross sectional images through the body to diagnose disease and is the most widely used second line modality. General CT imaging for inpatients and outpatients are performed on two scanners at BRI and one scanner at St Luke’s. Bradford Teaching Hospitals is proud to be the Global Reference Centre for Toshiba’s Aquilion Prime CT scanner.

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging produces multi-planar images of the body with powerful magnets and radiofrequency waves. It is particularly useful for brain, spine and musculoskeletal imaging.

    There are two 1.5T MRI scanners in the Main Department and one at St Luke’s Hospital.

  • Fluoroscopy and Intervention

    Fluoroscopic examinations and procedures are performed under real-time X-ray guidance. These include vascular diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, oesophageal, biliary and colonic stenting and urological procedures.

  • Nuclear Medicine

    Two gamma cameras provide a wide range of nuclear medicine investigations involving the use of radioactive isotopes including bone scans, cardiac perfusion imaging, lung, thyroid and renal functional imaging.

    PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography) is a specialist nuclear medicine examination which utilises radioactive FDG glucose in combination with CT images to aid cancer investigations. It is currently provided on a mobile system, while our specialists interpret and report the images on site.

    Read more about our Nuclear Medicine services.

  • Pennine Breast Screening Unit

    We have a dedicated breast imaging unit based at St Luke’s Hospital. We provide a complete one-stop symptomatic breast clinic and host the regional screening service. Diagnostic and interventional procedures are performed under mammographic (x-ray) and ultrasound guidance.

    Read more about our breast screening services.

Photo Gallery

Contact us

We perform inpatient and outpatient scans at both Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital. Please make sure you know at which site your appointment has been arranged.

Our normal working hours are 9am to 5pm although we do provide an evening and on-call service outside of these hours.

If you have any queries about appointments please call the booking office on 01274 365499.

Other numbers that may be useful are:

  • Bradford Royal Infirmary Radiology reception desk – 01274 364498
  • St Luke’s Hospital Radiology reception desk – 01274 365342

Services we offer

There are currently 22 consultant radiologists who support a busy general radiology service as well as a full array of sub-speciality interests. The daytime routine imaging service is complemented by a comprehensive on-call service, with links to the tertiary referral centre at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Head and neck imaging

Head and neck imaging covers disease in the brain, throat, thyroid and salivary glands and sometimes the eyes. CT, MRI and ultrasound are used extensively and many diseases of the neck are available to ultrasound imaging and intervention, including biopsy by Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) or core biopsy.

 

 

 

Thoracic imaging

Thoracic imaging involves visualising the soft tissues of the chest and the lungs in patients with respiratory or chest wall symptoms, often with a chest x-ray in the first instance and then usually by CT imaging.

Thoracic specialists use ultrasound or CT scans to perform image-guided procedures to sample or drain abnormal fluid from the chest and carry out biopsies of lung abnormalities to diagnose cancer or infection.

In recent years, imaging of the arteries supplying the heart is increasingly being done with CT (CT coronary angiography), and Bradford has had this expertise for more than 10 years. In 2016, NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) suggested that the initial investigation of patients with chest pain should be performed with CT scanning and we have expanded our service to provide it for the region.

The test requires an injection of contrast (dye) into a vein in the arm and the scan lasts only a few seconds. Many patients can be reassured that their chest pain is not due to significant coronary artery disease with very high accuracy.

Gastrointestinal imaging

This large specialty covers diseases of the oesophagus stomach, small intestine, large bowel, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. All imaging types are used by all the specialists, in particular MRI for liver pathology, CT colonoscopy for minimally invasive visualisation of the large bowel and MRI of the small bowel.

 

Urogenital imaging

Urogenital imaging mainly covers the kidneys, ureters, bladder and prostate imaging. Kidney stones and tumours are visualised with CT and interventional procedures performed with CT and fluroscopy. Prostate imaging and biopsy with US imaging has increased rapidly.

Bradford is pioneering new ultrasound techniques with Hitachi. The department has recently acquired the latest v70 machine with 2 unique probes. A small probe the size of your thumb can be “dropped into” the patient to perform ultrasound directly of organs inside the patient. It is small enough to be passed through a keyhole access site use in laparoscopic surgery. We use this to identifying small tumours within kidneys when we want to only take the tumour and leave the remaining normal kidney. This is performed with the help of our Robotic Surgical Technique. We are the only centre offering this level of surgery in Yorkshire.

Bradford is a dynamic centre for stone treatment and again through Hitachi we have acquired a probe which gives us unique guidance of needles into a kidney to allow the Urologists to access the kidney for keyhole stone removal. In selected patient we offer “ultra mini” access, again the only centre in Yorkshire offering this.

Musculoskeletal imaging

Musculoskeletal imaging of the bones and joints uses plain film radiography initially and subsequently with CT or MR imaging. The spine, especially the lower back, and knee are the most common MR examinations in MSK.  Infections or rare bone or muscle tumours are suitably imaged with MR. The joints in the feet and hands and the shoulders are all suited to imaging with Ultrasound, and injections for pain control can also be performed.

 

 

Vascular imaging

Imaging of the arteries and veins in the body and limbs involves gaining needle access to a blood vessels often at the groin or sometime at the neck, wrist or elbow. Fine wires and tubes are used to inject contrast or dye which can the outline disease in the arteries or veins (angiography). Procedures such as balloon angioplasty or insertion of stents can be performed through these small access points (angioplasty).

Collaboration with vascular surgeons means that abdominal aortic aneurysms (a life threatening swelling of the large blood vessel in the abdomen) can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure through the groin, avoiding a major abdominal operation.

Breast imaging

Breast Imaging is provided at the Pennine Breast Services which encompasses Pennine Breast Screening and the Symptomatic Breast Imaging Service.

 

 

 

Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine imaging covers all body areas using radioactive materials that are injected into a vein. These specialists are trained to selects, prescribe and read the images that are generated from scanners which detect the source of radiation within the body.

Most general Nuclear Medicine imaging is available at BRI, for example scanning of the thyroid, heart, kidneys, bones and lungs. In addition, a mobile scanner also visits the Hospital to acquire PET scans in the detection of cancer.

Paediatric radiology

Children and young adults are sensitive to radiation so our specialists think carefully before exposing them to x-ray or CT scans.

Ultrasound examinations are very useful in children as it does not require them to keep still like CT or MRI, and the ultrasound images are very good in these smaller patients.

 

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