The WWL Way
Telephone: 01942 244 000

X-Ray Department

The Radiology/X-Ray Services at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust are modern and well-equipped services with some of the latest, most technologically advanced equipment.

We offer a comprehensive range of diagnostic procedures in our hospitals to support our clinical teams in the diagnosis and appropriate management of patients with a wide variety of conditions.

Our technologies include PACS, a system that makes x-rays (images) instantly available to doctors at many computers throughout our hospitals.
Radiology/X-Ray images are now sent electronically direct to the GP surgery.

Radiology (x-ray) is the branch of medicine by which clinicians visualise the body’s internal organs and structures, in order to diagnose illness, disease, and fractures; the images obtained form the basis of treatments and monitoring.
The radiology service in Wigan has undergone rapid development which includes extended opening hours, giving people the freedom and flexibility to have their diagnostic examination on a day and at a time that suits them. The roles of staff have also developed to provide a consistent first class service for our patients.

Our radiology services are provided at three hospital sites – Wigan Infirmary, Leigh Infirmary and Wrightington Hospital.

Computerised Tomography (CT)
A CT scan is a computerised tomography scan; it uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of your body.

During a CT scan, sometimes called a CAT scan, you will usually lie on your back on a flat bed. The CT scanner consists of an X-ray tube that rotates around your body. You will usually be moved continuously through this rotating beam. The rays will be analysed by a detector on the opposite side of your body.

The images produced by a CT scan are called tomograms and are more detailed than standard X-rays. A CT scan can produce images of structures inside the body including the internal organs, blood vessels, bones and tumours.
The scan is painless and will usually take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the part of your body being scanned.

Your results 
CT scans are usually carried out on an outpatient basis, which means that you will be able to go home on the same day as the procedure.

The results of your scan will not be available immediately. A computer will need to process the information from your scan, which will then be analysed by a radiologist (a specialist in interpreting images of the body).

After analysing the images, the radiologist will write a report and send it to your specialist or GP. This usually takes a few weeks.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a modern imaging technique that uses strong, magnet, radio waves and a computer to generate images, which show detailed sections of the body. These can be acquired in any orientation within the body and can produce images of any specified body part. MRI does not use X-rays and has no known harmful effects.

There are MRI units at both Wigan Infirmary and Wrightington Hospital. Opening times are generally from 8.30am until 5pm Monday to Friday, with additional evening and weekend lists being available on a rotational basis between both sites. This flexibility offers patients a wide choice of appointment times or site of preference for their MRI scan.

An MRI scan produces images that can depict and locate almost anything from anywhere within the body from a large tumour to a minute blood vessel.

A full range of procedures are performed on both sites including:

  • Musculoskeletal (relating to the muscle and/or bone)
  • Neuro (relating to the nervous system)
  • Orthopaedic (relating to bones, joints and muscles)
  • Oncology (relating to tumours)
  • Vascular (relating to the blood vessels)
  • Paediatrics
  • Abdominal scans

An ultrasound scan can be used in several different ways, such as monitoring an unborn baby, diagnosing a condition or guiding a surgeon during certain procedures.

Ultrasound examinations are performed by one of our qualified sonographers and images are obtained using ultrasound waves produced and received by an ultrasound probe. Gel is used on the skin surface and this allows the ultrasound waves to pass into the tissues as well as allowing free movement of the probe across the body.

For some examinations, an injection of fluid (contrast) is given. This can be through a vein in the arm or into a body cavity.

DEXA Scanner
Every day, physicians use x-rays to view and evaluate bone fractures and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system. However, a plain x-ray test is not the best way to assess bone density.

To detect osteoporosis accurately, doctors use an enhanced form of x-ray technology called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which is a quick, painless procedure for measuring bone loss.

A DEXA scanner is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, with bone density measurements of the lower back and hips mainly taken.

On the day of your scan eat normally, but don't take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours beforehand. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal.

Will it hurt?
A dexa scan is quite painless. However, you will need to lie flat during the scan which some patients find uncomfortable.

Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is a scanning department that uses tiny amounts of radioactive tracer, usually injected into a vein in your arm.

This helps your doctor get pictures to understand your illness by showing how various parts of your body are working. 

The amount of radiation you receive is very small and is not dangerous. It is a similar amount to an x-ray examination. 

During the scan you may have to lie on a bed or sit in a chair. Normally you will not have to take off your clothes.

There are no alternatives to this scan. It is the only way your doctor can gain the information needed to understand and treat your illness.

Contact Details
Radiology Department
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Wigan Lane
Telephone: 01942 822409

More InformationWeb page Patient Information Leaflets - X-Ray