We run a number of radiology services from Lymington New Forest Hospital. These include X-rays, MRI scans and CT scans. Romsey and Hythe Hospitals also have an X-ray and Ultrasound service which is accessed via a referral from your GP or healthcare professional.
X-rays - these can be used to diagnose a range of health problems and conditions. They are an effective way of detecting bone problems such as a fracture. They can also be used to check for problems with soft tissues such as in the lungs.
X-rays are usually carried out by a radiographer (someone who specialises in using imaging technology). It’s a painless test and your body will only be exposed to X-Rays for a fraction of a second.You need to stay still during an X-Ray, as otherwise the image can become blurred. Your radiographer may need to take multiple images, from different angles.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the tissues, organs and other structures inside your body. An MRI scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body. The results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess how effective previous treatment has been.
The MRI scanner is a wide cylinder about 1.5 metres long, surrounded by a circular magnet. The scanner is well lit and a fan can be switched on to keep you comfortable during your scan.When you arrive a member of staff will check your MRI safety questionnaire. You will need to remove all metal objects such as zips, belts, hair slides and jewellery (including all body piercings) before entering the scan room. You will be asked to change into a gown if you are wearing clothes with metal on them.
During the scan itself you will be asked to lie on a couch that is moved into the scanner. Depending on the part of your body being scanned, you will be moved into the scanner either head or feet first. An aerial is placed behind, or around, the part of the body being examined. This detects the tiny radio signals emitted from your body. Once you are positioned and comfortable, all you need to do is relax and keep very still. A loud, rhythmic knocking noise will be heard whilst the scan takes place. This is the electric current in the scanner components being turned on and off.
It is possible to play music during your scan. The radiographer will be able to see you clearly through a window whilst you are having your scan. They will be able to talk to you through an intercom and you will be given a buzzer so that you can call them.
It is very important to keep as still as possible during your MRI scan, as movement will blur the pictures. The scan can last from 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and how many images are taken. An MRI scan is a painless and safe procedure. MRI scans do not involve exposing the body to X-ray radiation and are considered very safe.
CT is a specialised form of X-ray examination which uses an X-ray beam and an array of very sensitive detectors. A CT scan is painless and normally takes between 5 and 30 minutes.The scanner takes pictures which are like very thin slices of the body, these can then be manipulated to be viewed in any plane or in 3-D. The scanner itself is a large ring - Not a tunnel and not closed in.
If scanning your chest, abdomen or pelvis, you may be asked to drink either water or a dilute barium drink in the hour before your scan. Some scans of the abdomen require a more specialised preparation – this will be explained fully if it applies to you. If scanning another part of your body, no preparation is required. You will be asked to lie down on the scanner table, the table will move to ensure the part we are scanning is in the centre of the ring. You will enter feet first unless we are scanning your head or neck. You may be asked to breathe in and hold your breath for a few seconds while the machine is scanning.
An ultrasound scan is a painless and safe test that uses sound waves to create images of organs and structures inside your body. It is a very commonly used test. It is thought to be harmless.
Ultrasound is very high frequency sound that cannot be heard by the human ear, but can be detected using a machine called an ultrasound scanner. High frequency sound waves, directed at your body, are able to pass through liquid and soft tissues, but not solid objects. When the ultrasound hits a dense or solid object, it bounces back as an echo. Echoes of different strengths are reflected depending on the density of the object.
How is it performed?
You lie on a couch and an operator places a small probe on your skin over the part of your body to be examined. Lubricating jelly is put on your skin so that the probe makes good contact with your body. In some situations, a clearer picture can be obtained from a probe that is within the body. So a small probe can be placed in the vagina or rectum to get clearer images of the pelvic and reproductive organs.
The probe is connected by a wire to the ultrasound machine and monitor. Pulses of ultrasound are sent from the probe through the skin into your body. The ultrasound waves then echo (‘bounce back’) from the various structures in the body. A computer is used to translate the reflected ultrasound into an image. They are displayed as a picture on the monitor.
Ultrasound is available at Lymington Hospital, Hythe Hospital and Romsey Hospital.
A DEXA scan uses x-ray equipment to measure bone density. DEXA scans can assist in looking for signs of fragile bones (osteoporosis) and help assess the risk of developing fractures. If a patient does have osteoporosis a DEXA scan can also be used to monitor developments in the condition and effects of treatment.
What happens during a DEXA scan?
The technician will explain the process and answer any questions patients may have about the scan.
Patients are asked to lie face up on a couch and the scanning arm passes over the body sending x-rays through the bones being tested, usually the hip and lower spine.
THE SCANNER IS NOT A TUNNEL. The technician remains with the patient while the scanning is taking
place which takes approximately 15 minutes. There is no contact with the scanner and patients do not feel anything.
Accessing the service
- X-rays - We have X-Ray facilities at Lymington New Forest Community Hospital, Romsey Community Hospital and our recently opened Hythe Community Hospital. Our X-Ray service is a ‘booked appointment service’. Appointment letters will be sent to you, once your X-Ray referral form has been received. Please call 01590 663110 between 10am and 3pm for any queries.
MRI scans - Your GP or other health care professional will refer you if you need a MRI scan.
CT scans - Your GP or other health care professional will refer you if you need a CT scan.
How to find us
Lymington Hospital, Ampress Park, Wellworthy Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 8QD
Car parking is available. The following charges apply:
- Up to 1 hour - £1.00
- 1-2 hours - £2.00
- 2-4 hours - £3.00
- 4-6 hours - £5.00
- 6-20 hours - £8.00
X-rays - 01590 663110
MRI, CT and DEXA scans - 01590 663125
Ultrasound - 01590 663120