The Diagnostic Imaging department at IWK Health uses different imaging technologies to take images (pictures) of parts or all of your body to help your doctor diagnose a medical problem that you might have and to help your doctor make decisions about any treatment you might receive.
How we help
The Diagnostic Imaging department includes multiple imaging technologies: X-ray (also called "Radiography"), CT (Computed Tomography), Bone Densitometry, Mammography, Nuclear Medicine, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and Ultrasound. Each area in Diagnostic Imaging performs a variety of examinations (or tests) to diagnose medical conditions in different parts of your body. To have a Diagnostic Imaging examination, your doctor must make a request in writing for you to have the examination (this request is called a "requisition"). Some examinations that are done in Diagnostic Imaging can only be requested by a Specialist.
IWK Diagnostic Imaging provides medical imaging for children up to the age of 16 and adults requiring obstetrical, gynecological or breast health imaging exams. These may be booked as an outpatient visit alone or coordinated with a visit to one of the IWK's many patient care clinics. Children and adults who are staying in the hospital may have examinations in our department at the request of their doctors. If they’re too sick, some examinations can be done in the patient’s own hospital room using specially-designed portable equipment.
What to expect
When you arrive in Diagnostic Imaging, you'll be asked to register for your examination. A member of our clerical staff will enter your personal information into the computer system. Other members of the Clerical Staff are responsible for booking your appointment. Once you have finished registering, the Receptionist will show you where you can sit and wait until the Technologists are ready to begin your examination.
Who you’ll meet
During your appointment, you may meet any of the following dedicated and professional people.
In each area of Diagnostic Imaging, there are Technologists who have specialized medical training and are members of governing organizations that set standards for their expertise. The Technologists will meet you in the waiting room and take you to the room where your examination will be performed. You may be asked to change from your clothes into a hospital gown before the examination begins. The Technologist will explain what will happen during your examination and ask if you have any questions. The Technologist will perform your examination, or in some cases, the Technologist may perform part of the examination and then tell you that you can leave the department and return a while later for the rest of the examination. You may be asked to wait while the Technologist shows your imaging to the Radiologist (a Diagnostic Imaging Doctor). When your examination is over, you may leave the department.
Diagnostic Imaging Nurses
The Diagnostic Imaging Nurses help the Technologists and Radiologists perform the examinations. Sometimes children who are very young need to be sedated or given some medicine to make them drowsy so that they can lie very still while the pictures are being taken. The Diagnostic Imaging Nurses are responsible for taking care of children who need to be sedated. The Nurse will stay with the child throughout the examination and will continue to monitor the child until he or she is fully awake. Like the Technologists, the Nurses will explain to you what their part is in your examination and you will have the chance to ask them any questions you might have.
Radiologists are doctors who specialize in Diagnostic Imaging. Radiologists review the medical imaging on each patient and interpret what they see in those images for other doctors. The Radiologist will review your examination and will issue a report to the doctor who requested that you have the examination. All IWK Health Radiologists are members of the Faculty of Medicine of Dalhousie University.
Students and residents
IWK Health is a teaching hospital and often students working in Diagnostic Imaging with our Technologists and Radiologists as part of their learning experience. These students may help perform your examination. You may also see Residents or Fellows while you are in our department. Our Residents are doctors who are learning to be specialists in Diagnostic Imaging; our Fellows are specialists in Diagnostic Imaging who are learning more about Diagnostic Imaging for children.