Walk-In X-Ray

X-ray uses ionizing radiation to create images of the skeletal system. Conventional X-ray images are produced when radiation is passed through a body part and measured by a detector on the other side of the patient. Tissues with different density absorb different amounts of radiation, such as calcium in bones or fat in muscles. These differences are captured by the detector and form digital images.

When it comes to X-ray, we often think of the stereotype of a radiologist looking at film. While X-ray film was useful over a decade ago, the industry has transitioned to digital imaging.

Digital imaging allows for faster transcription and communication between our radiologists and your doctor. This communication streamlines the process, leading to faster diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for patients.

Insight Medical Imaging offers walk-in X-ray imaging at fourteen of our Alberta locations. All exams require a doctor’s requisition, your Alberta Health Care card, and photo identification. We do not book appointments for X-ray services. Therefore, this service is first-come, first-serve.

These exams are non-invasive and usually take a few minutes to perform. However, there is variability in how long the exam will take due to patient mobility and potential paperwork for anyone seeking an immigration exam.

To avoid possible wait times, we encourage you to visit our dedicated X-ray imaging facilities in Edmonton: Callingwood, Calgary Trail, and Capilano. We also have extended hours at various clinics dedicated to X-ray imaging if you are unable to take time off work or have rigid daily commitments.

Immigration Medical X-Ray Imaging Exams

Insight Medical Imaging provides chest X-ray exams to supplement other information gathered during an immigration medical exam. These exams are not covered by insurance or Alberta Health Care and are typically requested by the Government of Canada for patients seeking permanent residency.

While we offer walk-in X-ray imaging at most of our locations, only our Heritage and Fort McMurray locations provide immigration medical exams. This exam also requires additional paperwork before the exam, so we recommend coming in at least half an hour before your scheduled appointment.

You will need to bring the following documents with you for your medical imaging:

  • At least 1 government-issued identification with your photograph and signature (such as a passport or national identity card)
  • Requisition for X-ray(s) (given by the referring panel physician)
  • Immigration paperwork (as given by the referring panel physician)

As our radiologists are paneled by the CIC and have access to eMedical, you do not need to bring additional identification photographs with you for your appointment.

If you would like to learn more about the immigration exam, view the Government of Canada’s medical exam for permanent residency online.

Exams Utilizing X-rays:

Radiography (Walk-in X-ray Exam)

The most recognized type of imaging that involves X-ray is by creating two-dimensional (2-D) photos of internal structures such as bones, teeth, or the chest cavity. Radiography requires the least amount of radiation exposure for patients.

Preparation for radiography or walk-in x-ray exams is fairly simple and involves no more than ensuring that the diagnostic area of interest is bare for the exam. You may be asked to change into a gown for the exam, depending on what area is being x-rayed, and to remove any eyeglasses, jewelry, or metal objects from your person.

Mammography Exam

Mammography is a form of X-ray imaging that uses ionizing radiation for screening or diagnosis of breast disease. These exams use low-dose X-rays to detect and investigate irregularities or abnormal clinic findings in men’s and women’s breasts that may have been discovered during a self-assessment or annual physical.

Learn more about:


This type of X-ray exam allows visualization of the body in real-time. Unlike radiography, fluoroscopy allows areas of interest like the esophagus to be seen as they move. Contrast agents are typically used with fluoroscopy studies to enhance quality.

More about how we use fluoroscopy:

Computer Tomography (CT)

CT scanning takes cross-sectional images using ionizing radiation. These images are processed by a computer to generate 3-D representations of an area of interest. CT produces more detailed images compared to traditional 2-D radiography, which is used for diagnosing a wide range of abnormalities.

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What Happens During my X-rays/Radiography Exams?

  • Once we establish eligibility for the exam, you may be asked to change into a gown for your imaging.
    • Our staff always asks females between 11 and 55 years when their last menstrual period was to ensure there is zero chance of pregnancy.
  • The technologist will then give you a lead shield to limit radiation exposure.
  • You will work with the technologist to capture high-quality X-ray images by following body positioning and breathing instructions.
  • Once our technologist has confirmed we have taken the required quality X-ray images, you are free to leave.
  • One of our radiologists will review the results and send a detailed report to your doctor. We try our best to send the results as soon as possible, usually within one business day.

Additional Information and Important Notes

  • All forms of X-ray imaging use ionizing radiation. Therefore, there must be zero chance a patient is pregnant for their scan. We ask all females between 11 and 55 years about their last menstrual period to determine the possibility of pregnancy.
    • We ask this personal question to protect a fetus from radiation exposure; please do not be offended. If there is any chance you may be pregnant, please tell your doctor before coming to your X-ray (occasionally, we will perform imaging at the special request of a referring doctor).
  • Some exams use radioactive isotopes or contrast during the imaging process, including nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, and CT imaging. If you are currently breastfeeding and scheduled for one of these exams, talk to your doctor before the scan. Often they will recommend their patients stop breastfeeding for a short time before and after an exam that uses contrast or a radioactive isotope.
    • Standard X-ray and mammography exams are safe for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Where a gown is not required, you must remove metal objects for your X-ray: jewelry, clothes with zippers, etc.

Orientation (Radiography)

Our technologist will help position you in relation to the detector to capture quality images. X-ray positions vary from patient to patient depending on mobility and exam specifics such as ability or inability to bear weight.

Examples of various weight/non-weight-bearing positions are:

  • Knee X-rays: Taken standing against a detector or lying on a bed.
  • Chest X-rays: Taken standing against a detector, with your arms by your side or above your head. We can also take the X-rays with a patient sitting in a wheelchair, with their arms by their side or above their head.
  • Spine X-rays: Taken standing in front of a detector, lying flat on your back, left side, or stomach, on a table.


If you have an Alberta Health Care card or valid healthcare card from out of province, there is no cost for a walk-in X-ray procedure (except Quebec).

However, chest X-rays used for immigration medical purposes are not covered by Alberta Health Care. The Government of Canada requires these images when considering permanent residency applications.


Walk-in X-ray exams typically take between 5 and 30 minutes to complete; depending on patient mobility and the area of interest.

Walk-in X-ray FAQ

Yes, you can eat and drink as normal beforehand and can continue taking your usual medications. This is unless your physician has asked you not to eat or continue taking certain medications. If you aren’t sure, contact us or your physician to clearly define what preparation procedure you should follow.

When the x-ray images have been taken, they are reviewed first by a radiologist, sonographer, or reporting radiographer. This usually takes place 48-72 hours after the x-ray or scan has been completed. After that, the report is faxed to your doctor who then contacts you.

No, you do not need to book an appointment to get an x-ray done at Insight Medical Imaging. We offer walk-in x-ray imaging at most locations making this service first-come-first-serve. However, for your exam to be completed, you will require a doctor’s requisition, your Alberta health care card, and photo identification.

If your child wants a parent present or needs help remaining still for the x-ray, you will be given a lead apron so you can assist. However, in order to protect parents from radiation exposure, we recommend that parents don’t go into the x-ray room.

Exam Preparation

Planning your next appointment? Learn more about x-ray exam preparation and find the clinic most convenient for you.

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