X-ray/Radiology is a commonly used imaging procedure directing medical x-rays to image and diagnose diseases including plain radiography, fluoroscopy and mammography.

What to expect

You will be cared for by a technologist (or radiographer), and the Radiologist will examine and report on your x-ray images. Radiologists are doctors specially trained to interpret images and carry out more complex examinations. Technologists are highly trained and support Radiologists in carrying out X-rays and other imaging procedures.

The technologist will explain the procedure for your examination and show you to a private changing room where you may remove your garments. Depending on the type of x-ray required, they may ask you to put on a hospital gown.

You will be taken into the x-ray room, where you will sit/stand/lie down against an imaging plate or part of the x-ray machine. Although the technologist will go behind a screen, you will always be seen and heard. The technologist will ask you to stay still and sometimes take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an X-Ray?

    An X-Ray is a picture of the body's internal structures produced by exposing a sensitive photographic film or imaging plate to a controlled source of x-rays. Some x-ray images will be kept in digital form and shown on a computer screen.

  • Am I required to make any special preparations for my x-ray?

    No. However, please notify the radiology department if you:

    • Had a similar x-ray recently
    • Are a woman who is or might be pregnant.
  • Can I bring a relative/friend to my x-ray?

    They will only be permitted to accompany you into the x-ray room in exceptional circumstances. Children under 12 years are not allowed to accompany you in the room, nor are they allowed to wait unattended in the waiting room. Hospital staff is not responsible for your child while you have your x-ray.

  • Will my x-ray be uncomfortable?

    No, however, the Technologist may have to physically assist you in moving your body into different positions for the x-ray, which may be briefly uncomfortable.

  • How long with my x-ray take?

    The type of x-ray and your ability to move around will determine your time with the x-ray team; taking a single x-ray will last only a few minutes. However, some examinations require that we take x-rays in different positions, and it usually takes at most 5-10 minutes. More complex imaging or the team taking x-rays of more than one body part requires more time. Count on being in the x-ray department for up to 30 minutes. 

    The X-ray department services the entire hospital and may be interrupted to do emergency cases before you. If there is a delay, we appreciate your patience.

  • Are there any risks from getting an x-ray?

    The amount of radiation you receive from a single x-ray is very low. 

    There are small risks involved with using x-rays. But, Technologists receive training to keep radiation exposures down to a minimum while ensuring the best diagnostic accuracy. Female patients who are, or might be pregnant, must inform the referring doctor, Technologist or Radiologist, before having any x-rays.

  • When will I get my x-ray results?

    A Radiologist will examine the images after your visit and a written report on the findings will be sent to your referring doctor.  The information is usually available in 14 days.

Urgent care

Receive urgent care at an Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC). Patients are seen in order of urgency by a family doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or social worker. On-site X-ray services are also available at these locations:  


    • Medical imaging requistion form

    • Guide for patients having an X-ray

      Learn more on what to expect, how to prepare and more. Available in Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.

    • Lead shields

      Radiation shielding no longer needed for today's X-ray machines.

    • Hysterosalpingogram

      An x-ray procedure to look at the inside of the womb,or uterus,and the fallopian tubes.

Find this service near you

  • X-Ray at Bella Coola General Hospital

    1025 Elcho Street Bella Coola
  • X-Ray at Koerner Pavilion (UBCH)

    2211 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver
  • X-Ray at Lions Gate Hospital

    231 East 15th Street North Vancouver
  • Community health centres

    X-Ray at Pemberton Health Centre

    1403 Portage Road, PO Box 8 Pemberton
  • X-Ray at qathet General Hospital

    5000 Joyce Avenue Powell River
  • X-Ray at Richmond Hospital

    7000 Westminster Highway Richmond
  • X-Ray at Sechelt | shíshálh Hospital

    5544 Sunshine Coast Highway Sechelt
  • X-Ray at Squamish General Hospital

    38140 Behrner Drive Squamish
  • Community health centres

    X-Ray at Whistler Health Care Centre

    4380 Lorimer Road Whistler
  • X-Ray at ƛ̓uxválásu̓ilas Heiltsuk Hospital

    88 Waglisla Street Bella Bella
  • X-Ray/Radiology Department at Vancouver General Hospital

    2775 Laurel Street Vancouver