The radiology department in the Rotunda Hospital is located in the outpatients department on the ground floor. We perform x-rays and ultrasound scans on both adults and babies, while they are in hospital and as outpatients. Patients are sometimes referred to the radiology departments in the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and the Mater hospital for specialist scans. We provide a diagnostic imaging service under licence with the Radiation Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII).
The adult radiologist is Dr Neil Hickey and the paediatric radiologists are Dr Stephanie Ryan and Dr Ailbhe Tarrant. Our radiology team also includes a receptionist, radiographers and a medical physicist.
Investigations undertaken on babies
We usually obtain one view of the chest while the baby is lying on his/her back. The arms are held out of the way of the chest and the image is taken when the baby has taken a deep breath. The midwife or parent wearing a lead apron may be asked to hold the baby in position while the images are taken. No preparation is needed before this examination.
This may consist of one view of the abdomen while the baby is lying flat on the incubator or x-ray table, or two views, depending on the clinical situation. The second view is taken while the baby is lying on his or her left side or while the baby is held upright. No preparation is needed before this examination.
Two x-rays of the skull are taken while the baby is lying on the incubator or x-ray table. Depending on the baby’s problem, extra x-rays may be needed. The skull has lots of complex bony anatomy so getting the right angle for the diagnosis is often a challenging task for the radiographer. No preparation is needed before this examination.
X-ray of the arm or leg
An x-ray of an arm or leg or other part of the body may be needed when there is concern about an injured bone, or other problem of bone. Usually two or more x-rays are taken of the body part being examined. No preparation is needed before this examination.
Barium swallow or meal
The baby swallows contrast (dye) from a bottle or has the contrast put into a tube already in the baby’s stomach. The radiologist can see how well the baby swallows and if there is any problem with the oesophagus, the stomach or the first part of the small bowel. Usually, the baby is lying on the x-ray table for this examination. Certain images are taken by the radiologist, using the x-ray camera, during the study. Sometimes extra x-rays are taken after the contrast has moved further into the bowel. The baby must be fasting (nothing to eat or drink) for 3 hours before this examination.
Barium or contrast enema
This study requires coating the inside wall of the colon (bowel) with barium or other type of contrast (usually clear liquid that contains iodine which can be seen on x-ray images). Contrast (dye) is injected in through a tube in the rectum (back passage) into the colon. The baby is placed in several different positions for the images so that the contrast can coat and outline the entire colon. In neonates, where obstruction is usually the problem, there is no preparation needed.
The scans are usually done when the baby is lying down. The midwife or parent can stay with the baby while the scan is performed. A special gel is put on the baby’s skin. Ultrasound scans are very safe and do not hurt but the baby may respond to the cold gel or to the probe as it is moved gently over the skin.
Ultrasound scans are particularly useful in the neonatal unit for imaging the newborn’s brain through the anterior fontanelle (soft spot of the skull), the liver, kidneys, pancreas and spleen and for investigating certain problems of the hips and spine. The range of ultrasounds performed in the Rotunda requires no preparation.
Investigations undertaken on adults
HSG is an x-ray examination of a woman’s uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes, where a special contrast (dye) is injected through the neck of the uterus. When the uterus and fallopian tubes are filled with contrast the radiologist is able to view the anatomy and function of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- To make certain that you are not pregnant during the HSG, it is best performed during the first 10 days of your cycle, once the menstrual bleeding has stopped.
- It is not necessary to fast prior to the HSG.
For adults, we usually obtain one view of the chest while the patient is standing. If the patient is too ill to stand, we sit the patient on a chair or lay the patient on the x-ray table. The arms are held out of the way of the chest and the image is taken when the patient has taken a deep breath. No preparation is needed prior to this examination.
This usually consists of one view of the abdomen while the patient is lying on the x-ray table, or two views, depending on the clinical situation. The second view may be taken while the patient is standing up.