Beacon Hospital is home to the most technologically advanced Radiology equipment in Ireland. Our comprehensive Radiology department are here to offer an extension range of diagnostic treatments, to combat all ailments. Our diverse specialists are here to listen to all your needs and evaluate your condition from every angle, to give you the greatest piece of mind possible.
Beacon Hospital is home to Ireland’s most technologically advanced diagnostic radiology equipment. Our department is the European show-site for General Electric which manufactures some of the world’s top medical equipment.
Our team of 15 expert Consultant Radiologists work together with our highly qualified and experienced Radiographers in ensuring that patients receive the best care and top quality imaging and reporting.
Our Radiology Department is a fully digital unit which allows your radiographer to see the scans in real-time as they are taken to ensure all essential areas have been included. Digital scans allow your primary Consultant access to the images remotely, ensuring that all medical professionals involved in your care are kept fully informed of your reports and results without delays associated with more traditional film methods of imaging.
Beacon Hospital’s Radiology Group is led by our highly qualified Radiologists with dedicated PET/CT and MRI fellowship training from world leading medical centres.
Radiology Department Imaging
CT or CAT Scan
A computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) allows doctors to see inside your body. It uses a combination of X-rays along with a computer to create pictures of your organs, bones, and other tissues. It shows greater detail than that shown on a regular X-ray.
A CT scan can be performed on any part of your body. It doesn’t take very long, is completely painless, and claustrophobia is not an issue.
Sometimes, depending on the area being targeted, your doctor may request a contrast CT. This is a CT scan with the addition of a dye, to help the doctor see the area being examined in greater detail. The dye used may be injected or can be in the form of a liquid you may be asked to drink, prior to your scan.
DEXA scans are sometimes called bone densitometry scans, QDR scans or BMD measurement.
A DEXA scan is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine and hips which helps to assess the risk of bone fractures. This measurement is often referred to as bone mineral density (BMD).
DEXA scans use a very low radiation dose, which is lower than less than one day’s exposure to natural environmental radiation. DEXA scans are most commonly used for diagnosing osteoporosis (weakened bones that may fracture easily) and assessing the risk of osteoporosis developing. They can also be used to detect other bone disorders and conditions, such as osteopenia, and to measure the relative amounts of body fat and muscle.
A DEXA scan is a quick and painless way of measuring BMD. It is more sensitive than a normal X-ray when identifying low bone density.
You may be offered a DEXA scan if you are considered at high risk of having or developing osteoporosis. The scans are also used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for conditions such as osteoporosis.
Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures-similar to an X-ray “movie.” A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined. The beam is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
Fluoroscopy enables physicians to look at many body systems, including the skeletal, digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
Fluoroscopy may be performed to evaluate specific areas of the body, including the bones, muscles, and joints, as well as solid organs, such as the heart, lung, or kidneys.
A Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid scan or HIDA as it is more commonly referred to as, is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.
During a HIDA scan a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in your arm. This tracer travels through your bloodstream to your liver, where bile-producing cells absorb it. The tracer then travels with the bile into your gallbladder, through your bile ducts and into your small intestine.
A special nuclear medicine scanner called a gamma camera is used to track the flow of the tracer from your liver into your gallbladder and small intestine. The camera records images of the path and feeds these to your radiographer.
The scan can take 60 to 90 minutes and so patients are advised to bring along some headphones with their favourite music, podcast or audiobook to help pass the time.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. At this time, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women. While women often report a mammogram not being the most pleasant of experiences, it is extremely quick and is a hugely important tool in the examination of the breast. Any discomfort felt during the scan is short lived.
Please note that Ultrasound may be used to examine breast tissue in younger patients. A mammogram is often unsuitable for imaging on the more dense breast tissue associated with younger women.
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI as it is more commonly known as, is a diagnostic test that produces very clear images of the human body without the use of X-rays.
MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body. MRI scans can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to tumours. MRI’s are particularly useful for examining the brain and spinal cord.
Beacon Hospital is home to two new, state-of-the-art MRI machines. These modern machines offer superior comfort to more traditional machines. The bore (hole in the machine), is larger in these modern machines which eases anxiety some persons suffer in small spaces.
When patients are having their scan, they will be provided with headphones to listen to their favourite music. Our radiologists are able to talk to patients throughout their scan providing reassurance and support.
Nuclear medicine is a specialised area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radio-pharmaceuticals, to examine organ function and structure. A small amount of a radioactive material is given to the patient via injection, inhalation or in tablet form prior to the scan.
Because X-rays pass through soft tissue, such as intestines, muscles, and blood vessels, these tissues are difficult to visualise on a standard X-ray, unless a contrast agent is used. This allows the tissue to be seen more clearly. Nuclear imaging enables visualization of organ and tissue structure as well as function. The extent to which a radio-pharmaceutical is absorbed, or “taken up,” by a particular organ or tissue may indicate the level of function of the organ or tissue being studied. Thus, diagnostic X-rays are used primarily to study anatomy. Nuclear imaging is used to study organ and tissue function.
The radiation given is absorbed by the body tissue and is detected by a radiation detector, or gamma camera. By measuring the behaviour of the radionuclide in the body during a nuclear scan, we can assess and diagnose various conditions, such as tumours, infections, hematomas, organ enlargement, or cysts. A nuclear scan may also be used to assess organ function and blood circulation.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals, a special camera and a computer to evaluate organ and tissue functions.
A PET scan requires the patient to be injected with a small amount of a radioactive material called Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). The movement of the FDG around the body is then monitored during the scan, highlighting areas of interest. These areas are known as ‘hot spots’.
By identifying changes at the cellular level, PET may detect the early onset of disease before other imaging tests can.
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, uses high frequency sound waves to capture live images of the inside of your body. Your Consultant may refer you for an ultrasound to get a visual of your organs, vessels or tissues. Ultrasound does not use radiation which is why it is so commonly used for pregnancy imaging.
X-rays are a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves. X-ray images create black and white pictures of the inside of your body. This is because different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less and look grey. Air absorbs the least, so lungs look black.
The most common use of x-rays is checking for fractures (broken bones), but x-rays are also used in other ways. For example, chest x-rays can be used to see pneumonia. Mammograms use x-rays to look for breast cancer.
When you have an x-ray, you may be asked to wear a lead apron to protect certain parts of your body. The amount of radiation you get from an x-ray is very small. For example, a chest x-ray gives out a radiation dose similar to the amount of radiation you’re naturally exposed to from the environment, over just 10 days.
Results & Next Steps
Following your diagnostic imaging, the images taken will be thoroughly examined by one of our expert Consultant Radiologists. A report will be compiled and sent to your referring Consultant or GP who will relay the results to you.
If nothing further is required, you will remain discharged into the care of your GP. If further investigation or treatment is required, this will be explained to you and you may be referred on to a specialist Consultant in the relevant area.