X-Ray Exams

X-rays are painless, noninvasive, quick medical tests that produce images of your body to help physicians in diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. X-rays are a type of radiation made up of electromagnetic waves. X-rays pass through the body and record an image on a special digital recording plate. These digital files can be stored electronically.

Images produced by x-rays vary due to the different absorption rates of different tissues. Calcium in bones absorbs x-rays the most, so bones look white on a film recording of the x-ray image, while soft tissue will appear in shades of gray, and air appears black.

Scheduling Your X-ray

X-ray exams at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Radiology are done on a “walk-in” basis and are performed at several locations.

Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) – 6th floor

  • Outpatient x-ray exams are done M-F from 7:00am – 5:00pm at this location. X-ray exams are done on a “walk-in” basis only.

Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) - 3rd floor Express Testing

  • Only outpatient chest x-ray exams are done at this location, M-F from 6:30am to 6:00pm. Chest x-rays are done on a “walk-in” basis only.

Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) - 8th floor Express Testing

  • Only outpatient chest x-rays exams are done at this location, M/T/Th/F from 8:00am to 4:30pm and Wednesdays from 7:30am to 4:00pm. Chest x-rays are done on a “walk-in” basis only. This imaging area primarily services the Lung Center and Thoracic Surgery.

Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) – 12th floor orthopedic physician’s office.

  • This imaging area is located in the orthopedic physician’s office on the 12th floor and only services those physicians. Outpatient x-ray exams are done M-F from 7:00am to 5:00pm.


  • Outpatient x-ray exams are done M-F from 8:30am to 5:00pm. X-rays are done on a “walk-in” basis only. This imaging area primarily services the Highlands Physicians’ Offices but will except outside orders.

  • Bone density exams can also be performed at the Highlands location, M-F from 8:30am to 4:00pm. Scheduling your bone density exam is recommended but walk-ins are also welcome. Call Radiology Scheduling at 314-362-7111 or 877-992-7111, M-F from 7:00am to 5:30pm to schedule your bone density exam.

Before Your X-ray

  • Please bring a photo ID (driver’s license or state ID), insurance card(s), and a list of your medications with you.

  • Bring any x-ray orders from your physician with you.

  • Most x-rays require no special preparation.

  • You might be asked to change into a gown and to remove jewelry, glasses, or metal objects that could interfere with the x-ray.

  • Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility they are pregnant. Caution is taken during pregnancy so as not to expose the baby to radiation.

During Your X-ray

  • A technologist specially trained to perform x-ray exams will position you on a table or place you in front of the machine. A lead apron might be placed over you to protect you from radiation.

  • You will be asked to hold very still for a few seconds while the x-ray is being taken. The technologist will walk behind a wall or into the next room, and activate the machine. You might be repositioned for another view. A general x-ray is usually completed in five to 10 minutes.

  • Afterward, you will be asked to wait until the medical imaging technologist determines that all the required images have been obtained.

Questions About Your X-ray

Please call the X-ray department at 314-362-7110 with any questions about your x-ray.


All radiology exams are read by a physician known as a Radiologist. The radiologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are all specialized, experts in their field. The radiologist will send the results of your exam to your referring physician’s office within 24 hours. If needed, the radiologists are available to discuss your results with your referring physician. Your physician’s office will then in turn discuss the results with you.

About Your Bill

You will receive two bills for your exam:

  • The hospital bill includes the cost to cover equipment, supplies, and technical personnel. For questions, call Hospital Billing at 314-362-0710.

  • The radiologist’s bill covers the professional interpretation of your exam. For questions, call Mallinckrodt Institute (Washington University) Patient Accounts at 314-273-0500.

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