The Diagnostic Imaging Department at Benenden Hospital

Our Diagnostic Imaging Department has a highly skilled and experienced team of professionals able to undertake the wide range of examinations required by internal and external referrers, including:

  • Barium studies

  • Biopsies

  • CT scans

  • General X rays

  • MRI scans

  • Ultrasound and Doppler studies

A barium swallow and meal are examinations which look at the upper part of the digestive system. You will be asked to drink barium, a fruit flavoured drink which shows up on x-rays. The x-ray beam is viewed by a special camera which produces moving images on a TV screen as you swallow and turn into different positions on the x-ray table.

Sometimes it is necessary to take tiny tissue or fluid samples from parts of the body in order to determine if there is any pathology present. Ultrasound is frequently used to accurately target a particular lesion or area.

Computed tomography (CT) uses 3D x-rays to produce multiple images of inside the body. You lie on a narrow table which passes through a circular hole in the middle of the machine. You are moved slowly through the hole to take pictures of different slices of your body. The image of the slice is formed by a computer and displayed on a TV screen.


X-rays are usually done in our digital room in Benenden Hospital imaging department. Digital Radiography, with immediate preview reduces time between exposures, reduces patient waiting time, increases diagnostic accuracy and offers greater safety due to lower dose and operator presence throughout the examination. This results in a greatly improved patient experience.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not use x-rays but uses a magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to produce beautifully detailed pictures of inside the body. You lie on a narrow table which passes through a cylinder-shaped tube which houses the magnet. MRI cannot be used on some patients with pacemakers, aneurysm clips in the brain or some cardiac stents.

Ultrasound imaging involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Doppler ultrasound is a special technique that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through blood vessels, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck. A warm water based gel is applied on the skin and a transducer is moved back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured. There is usually no discomfort during this exam.

Waiting times are within national best practice guidelines due to a well-managed capacity and flexible working. The department consistently meets a three-week maximum wait for all booked appointments. General x-rays operate on a walk in service between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. We do advise that you call ahead to ensure that the imaging service you need is available when you wish to attend.

We cannot accept self-referrals from patients, so everyone has to either have been referred following a consultation with a Benenden Hospital clinician or a locally approved referrer. The Imaging Department is open to Benenden members, NHS patients, privately insured patients and self-funding patients.  Please contact the Imaging Department directly for details and prices on 01580 857 492.

Please allow 5 working days for your results. A copy of your results will be sent to whoever has referred you (e.g. a consultant or GP). If you were referred for a diagnostic scan from your consultant, a copy will also be sent to your GP.

Get in touch with Benenden Hospital

You can access treatment in a number of ways, as a self-paying or privately insured patient, a Benenden member, or as an NHS patient. Please contact Benenden Hospital to find out more.