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Imaging Procedures

At Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, we create high-resolution images of the body to help detect and diagnose illnesses and conditions. To find out more about our imaging procedures, click the links below:


X-rays, also referred to as radiography, provide a quick view of the internal structure of the body, particularly of bones. X-rays can be used to diagnose fractures, tumors and degenerative conditions and blockages. Aside from the need to move an injured area, an X-ray should cause no discomfort.  

General X-ray appointments can typically be made same-day at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, or by calling 636.928.WELL (9355). A physician order is required. 

Computed Tomography (CT Scan) 

Often referred to as a CT scan, computed tomography is an imaging test in which a part of the body is X-rayed from different angles and combined by a computer to produce cross-sectional pictures of internal organs. In some cases, a dye is injected to clarify the image. This test can help diagnose tumors, hemorrhages, head injuries and bone abnormalities. Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital optimizes protocols to utilize the lowest amount of radiation during this test.

Exams typically take 10 minutes or less, but may vary according to the body part being visualized and the type of exam being done. 

If you are having an abdominal or pelvic CT, you may be given an oral contrast to highlight the small and large intestine. A dye injection may also be given into one of the veins in your arm to help visualize vascular structures in the body. If oral or IV dye was necessary for your exam, drink extra fluids for 48 hours following your scan to help flush the dye out of your body.

To schedule your CT scan, call 636.928.WELL (9355). A physician order is required. 


Ultrasound technology also is a useful tool for imaging internal organs and glands. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves emitted through an instrument called a transducer to produce images. A warm gel is applied to the skin to help improve the quality of sound waves. A transducer is pressed against the skin with light pressure and moved across the area. Ultrasound does not use radiation to produce images. 

Transvaginal exams are conducted with an ultrasound probe placed inside the vaginal canal. This is performed on first trimester obstetrical patients and may be performed in the third trimester to measure the cervix. Transvaginal exams are done on all pelvic ultrasounds ordered for non-pregnant patients, unless the patient has no history of sexual activity. Learn more about the obstetrical services available at BJC’s other hospital in St. Charles County, Progress West Hospital. 

Ultrasounds typically take an average of 30 minutes.

Do not eat for six to eight hours prior to the exam. If you are having an OB or pelvic ultrasound, drink 24 oz. of water one hour prior to the exam and do not urinate before the test.

To schedule your CT scan, call 636.928.WELL (9355). A physician order is required.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is an advanced method of generating images of the body without the use of X-rays or radiation. This non-invasive procedure uses a magnetic field, radio frequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the human body.

Our trained certified MRI technologists at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital perform the MRI exam under the direction of a board-certified radiologist, a physician who specializes in medical imaging. A painless procedure, an MRI exam usually takes 20 to 50 minutes. All that is required of you is to be as still as possible during the exam. Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital has a large, comfortable MRI machine and offers music to relax you during your procedure.  

If you are having an MRI of your head, do not wear any eye makeup. If you are having an abdominal exam, do not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam. Nervous or claustrophobic patients should ask their primary care physician if a mild sedative should be taken prior to the exam.

Some MRIs may require an injection of dye into a vein to give the radiologist more information about vascular structures in the body. If an IV dye was necessary for your exam, drink extra fluids for 48 hours following your exam to help flush the dye out of your body. 

To schedule your MRI, call 636.928.WELL (9355). A physician order is required. 


Taking care of women and their health care needs is a priority at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. Our comprehensive mammography service includes screening and diagnostic mammography and breast ultrasounds – important tools for your breast health – provided in the warm, comfortable atmosphere of our mammography suite.

A mammogram is the best preventive tool in the fight against breast cancer, as recommended annual for all women over age 40. Early detection is important so breast cancer can be caught at its most treatable, curable stage. Both Barnes-Jewish St. Peters and Progress West hospitals also offer 3D mammography, the most advanced breast imaging available.  

Learn more about breast health and mammography available at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. Some walk-in and same-day appointments can be accommodated at Progress West Hospital. Call 636.928.WELL (9355) to schedule your mammogram. 

Bone Density Scan

A bone density test, or dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA scan) is a simple noninvasive test will produce an image of your bones on a computer screen in as little as 10 minutes. Bone density is then calculated by the computer’s assessment of how much energy is absorbed by your bones. The images can help determine your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

The U.S. Surgeon General, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommend that all women 65 years and older get a bone density test. Men may develop osteoporosis starting at a later age and progressing more slowly. Your doctor may recommend a bone density scan at a younger age if you have a family history of osteoporosis.

To schedule a bone density scan, call 636.928.WELL(9355). A physician order is required. 

Nuclear Medicine

A nuclear medicine exam uses very small amounts of radioactive material to help doctors diagnose diseases or medical conditions. These tests show the level of organ function and can show abnormalities in an organ’s structure or function.

Depending on the type of nuclear medicine test, a radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled. The radiotracer eventually collects in the area of your body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a gamma camera, scans or probe to produce detailed pictures of the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts.

Our radiologic technologists at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital are specially trained in nuclear medicine procedures. The injection of the radioactive substance into a vein in your arm feels similar to having blood drawn. You will not feel anything from the radioactive substance itself. The amount of radiation exposure poses no risk to patients or others around the patient. Most of the tracer will be eliminated from the body naturally within four days. 

Some procedures have delays to allow the radioactive tracer to take effect. These delays can be 2 to 4 hours or possibly several days depending upon the procedure. Some of these tests may take one hour or more.

To schedule a nuclear medicine test, call 636.928.WELL(9355). A physician order is required. 

Before and After Your Imaging Appointment

Please bring a photo ID (driver’s license or state ID) and insurance card(s) with you to your procedure. Arrive 15 to 20 minutes prior to your appointment to allow for registration time. A technologist will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. Be prepared to discuss your current medications, food allergies, past medical history and any previous surgeries.

After your images have been taken:
A board-certified radiologist will examine and interpret your test images.
Results of your exam will be given to your physician within 24 to 48 hours.
Your physician will advise you of the results and discuss additional exams if needed.

All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for inpatients and emergency care. Weekend and evening hours may be available for outpatient imaging service. Most tests can be scheduled either the same day or next day for your convenience. 

If you need copies of your imaging tests, please call 24 hours in advance.

You will also receive two bills for your imaging exam:

  • A hospital bill for the cost to cover equipment, supplies and technical personnel; for more information, call BJC Patient Accounts at 314.996.3600
  • A radiologist’s bill for the professional reading of your exam by Washington University Radiology; for more information, call 314.935.0500 or toll-free 800.862.9980

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 636.928.WELL(9355)

Hospital Entrance D
10 Hospital Drive
St. Peters, Missouri 63376

Find A Doctor or Make An Appointment: 636.928.WELL
General Information: 636.916.9000
BJC HealthCare