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  • Exam Preparation

    What happens during the MRI scan?

    A technologist will escort you into the scanner room. In some cases, an injection of contrast agent may be necessary to help the doctor better view certain body parts. This contrast agent is not an iodine compound.You will be asked to lie down on the MRI scanner b e d .The scanner bed is then moved into the MRI machine.MRI machines are designed to be in close proximityor in contact with the body part being scanned in order to gather accurate data. If this is a concern, please
    discuss your options with your doctor or the imaging technologist.

    The MRI scanner contains a very strong magnet. This magnet creates radio waves that pass through your body.The machine measures your body’s response to these waves and the computer translates the information into pictures. These pictures can show bones,blood vessels, liquids and different tissue densities.

    How do I prepare?

    Please arrive at the imaging center at least 15 minutes before your appointment to be checked in for your exam. Generally, there are no dietary or medication restrictions to be followed before the exam.

    What should I wear?

    Most exams do not require you to wear a gown if you wear loose, comfortable clothing that is metal-free. Do not wear jewelry, metal objects, eyeglasses or dental pieces during the exam. Let your doctor know if you have had bullet wounds or exposure to metalwork shavings.

    What are the risks?

    There are no known health risks from MRI. If you have a pacemaker or metal aneurysm clips in the brain, you will not be allowed to have the scan. Those who are pregnant, have artificial heart valves or other surgical implants need to have their doctors consult the imaging center to see if it is safe to have the MRI.

    How is MRI different from CT?

    MRI uses a strong magnet and radio waves to create high resolution images, while CT (computed tomography) uses x-rays. MRI and CT images provide slightly different information to doctors. These differences depend on the area being imaged. Your doctor may order one or both of these tests for you.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the magnetic energy safe?

    Yes, it is. You will be examined to ensure you have no metal in your body that will interfere with the scan.

    Will I be able to feel the scan?

    No, you will not feel the magnetic field, but you will hear a knocking noise while pictures are being made.

    How long does an MRI scan take?

    It may take 20 – 60 minutes for the exam, depending on what your doctor has ordered.

    How is MRI especially useful?

    MRI can be very useful for looking at the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain), internal organs and blood vessels. It is also used to identify tumors, strokes, degenerative diseases, inflammation, infection and other body abnormalities.

    When will I get my test results? A radiologist, a doctor specially trained in analyzing medical images, will review your test results and provide a report to your doctor. Reports will be forwarded to your doctor in a timely manner. Please follow up with your doctor to get your test results.

    About your PET Exam

    You’ve been scheduled to undergo a PET examination

    Please follow these special instructions:

    • Do not eat or drink anything EXCEPT non-flavored water more 6 hours before your exam because it could interfere with the results; don’t even chew gum.
    • Medications can be taken as usual except those needing to be taken with food.
    • If you’ve been advised not to take your medications on an empty stomach, eat nothing more than a few soda crackers within the 4-6 hours of your exam.
    • If you are diabetic, let us know ahead of time so we can work with your physician to determine the safest possible way for you to prepare for your exam.
    • If you feel feverish, please call this to our attention.
    • There are no side effects with this PET exam.
    • Hi protein low carb diet 24 hours in advance.
    • NOTE TO DIABETICS: Your glucose must be below 200 mg/IC for the exam to be accurate. If above 200 mg/IC, we cannot do the exam at this time.

    In addition, please let us know if you might be pregnant or are currently breast-feeding.

    What is PET?

    PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. It ’s a procedure that adds an important new dimension to a physician’s ability to diagnose and manage disease.

    Instead of detecting changes in the physical size or structure of internal organs, as other imaging technologies do, PET detects changes in cellular function – how your cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen. Since these functional changes take place before physical changes occur, PET can provide information that enables your physician to make an earlier diagnosis. If diseases or abnormalities have already been detected by an imaging exam, such as a CT or MRI study, PET can often characterize the cellular function early in the course of the disease.

    These capabilities can translate into faster initiation of the best possible treatment while avoiding more invasive exams or exploratory surgery.

    Why do I need this exam?

    Your PET exam results may have a major impact on your physician’s diagnosis of a potential health problem – and, should a disease be detected, how your return to health is managed.

    A PET study not only helps your physician diagnose a problem, it also helps your physician predict the likely outcome of various therapeutic alternatives, pinpoint the best approach to treatment, and monitor your progress. If you’re not responding as well as expected, you can be switched to a more effective therapy immediately.

    Just ask your physician what he or she hopes to learn from your PET exam.

    What happens once I get there?

    After reviewing your history and any prior exam, you’ll receive a radiopharmaceutical injection. This is a radioactive tracer that must pass multiple quality control measures before it is used for any patient injection. There are no side effects.

    For most studies, you’ll have to wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself. Brain studies take 30 minutes. You may be able to read, speak, or listen to music until your scan begins – and perhaps during the scan itself. However, if we’ll be scanning your brain, we will ask you to wait in a quiet, dimly lit room, without stimulating your brain by reading or talking.

    If you’re here for a heart study you may not have to wait. The radiopharmaceuticals used for cardiac exams are often administered just before the scanning begins.

    What will the scan be like?

    You’ll lie on a comfortable table that moves slowly through the ring-like PET scanner as it acquires the information it needs to generate diagnostic images. We’ll ask you to lie very still, because movement can interfere with the results. You shouldn’t feel a thing during the scan, which can last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes. Then, unless the physician sees a need for acquiring additional information, you’re free to leave.

    How long does all this take?

    Your exam procedure will vary depending on what we’re looking for, and what we discover along the way. Plan to spend two to three hours with us.

    How long does all this take?

    Your exam procedure will vary depending on what we’re looking for, and what we discover along the way. Plan to spend two to three hours with us.

    What happens after the exam?

    You may leave as soon as the scan is complete. Unless you’ve received special instructions, you’ll be able to eat and drink immediately – drinking lots of fluids will help remove any of the radiopharmaceutical that may still be in your system.

    In the meantime, we’ll begin preparing the results for review by our radiologist, and then by your physician, who will tell you what we’ve learned.

    Are there risks associated with PET?

    A PET study is similar to many other diagnostic procedures, from CT and MRI to Nuclear Medicine. Although the radiation you receive is different, it’s roughly equivalent to what you’d receive from other diagnostic imaging exams such as CT (a couple of chest X-rays). Radiopharmaceuticals used in PET don’t remain in your system long, so there’s no reason to avoid interacting with other people once you’ve left. To be extra safe, wait for a few hours before getting close to an infant, or anyone who’s pregnant.

    About your CT scan

    Please follow these special instructions:

    • If you have diabetes, you may be asked to temporarily alter your medication.
    • Please arrive at the imaging center at least 15 minutes before your appointment.
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

    Women may wish to wear pants. You may be asked to remove jewelry, metal objects, eyeglasses or dental pieces. You may also be asked to wear disposable pants (scrubs).

    In addition, please let us know if you might be pregnant.

    How does a CT scanner work?

    A CT scanner is an x-ray machine that rotates a detector 360 degrees around your body as you lie on a table. The detector measures differences in density of body parts as x-rays pass through your body. The scanner uses a powerful computer to create multiple images, or image “slices”, that provide very detailed information about your body’s health. CT allows imaging of organs not viewable by standard x-ray procedures.

    What happens during the test?

    A technologist will escort you to the CT scanner room. You will be asked to lie on the scanner table. In some cases, you may be given an injection and/or drink involving iodinated contrast agent (x-ray dye) before or during the scan. The agent helps the doctor to better view certain body parts.

    The table will move during the scan. You will be asked to stay still and not to breathe for short periods while the machine is scanning. You will be able to hear and talk to the technologist, who will be in the next room.

    How do I prepare?

    Make sure you understand from your doctor exactly why you are having the exam, and what part of your body is to be scanned. Your doctor will let you know if there are any special preparations you will need before the exam.

    Make sure you understand and follow these directions carefully. If you do not, your exam may need to be rescheduled.

    • If you have diabetes, you may be asked to temporarily alter your medication.
    • You may be asked to take a drink containing a contrast agent before your exam.

    Please arrive at the imaging center at least 15 minutes before your appointment to be checked in for your exam. You may be asked to wear disposable pants (scrubs).

    What should I wear?

    Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Women may wish to wear pants. You may be asked to remove jewelry, metal objects, eyeglasses or dental pieces.

    How is MRI different from CT?

    MRI uses a strong magnet and radio waves to create high resolution images, while CT (computed tomography) uses x-rays. MRI and CT images provide slightly different information to doctors.

    These differences depend on the area being imaged. Your doctor may order one or both of these tests for you.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How is CT especially useful?

    Ct is useful in diagnosing many health problems. It provides highly detailed cross-sectional images of any area of the body. It is also useful for evaluating blood vessel health.

    Will I be able to feel the scan?

    No, the scan is painless, but you will hear a swirling noise while the scanner is on. You may feel some mild warmth if a contrast agent is injected.

    What are the risks?

    Rarely, some people have an allergic reaction to the contrast agent. This may cause a rash, low blood pressure or even some difficulty breathing. If a strong allergic reaction happens, it is treated as an emergency. If you are breast-feeding, ask
    your doctor how long you should hold off after the contrast is given.

    With a CT, like a standard x-ray, there is a small exposure to radiation. The radiation from a CT scan may be slightly more than from a regular x-ray, but it is very small and unlikely to cause any harm.

    • Let your doctor know if you have an allergy to iodine.
    • Let your doctor know if you are or may be pregnant or are breastfeeding.

    How long does a CT scan take?

    It may take 15-30 minutes for the exam, depending on what scans your doctor has ordered. At the end, any IV that is inserted to deliver contrast agent will be removed. You can then go back to your normal activities.

    When will I get my test results?

    The radiologist will review your test results and provide a report to your doctor.

    Reports will be forwarded to your doctor in a timely manner. Please follow up with your doctor to get your test results.

    What is an ultrasound – An ultrasound is a painless imaging process which utilizes an imaging probe or transducer that emits and detects sound waves providing the ability to visualize internal organs and vessels. It usually takes about 30 minutes to perform.

    How do I prepare?

    Abdominal/Renal ultrasound: nothing by mouth after midnight or 6 hours prior to appointment.

    Pelvic/Bladder ultrasound: complete drinking 4 glasses of clear liquid or water 30 minutes prior to exam. Do not urinate prior to exam.

    Prostate ultrasound: Take a fleet enema 2 hours prior to examination.

    What is IVP?

    An IVP is x-ray imaging to demonstrate the kidney’s, ureters and bladder after intravenous administration of contrast.

    How do I prepare?

    One the day prior to examination begin following the instructions accompanying the preparation package.

    What are the risks?

    Rarely, some people have an allergic reaction to the contrast agent. This may cause a rash, low blood pressure or even some difficulty breathing. If a strong allergic reaction happens, it is treated as an emergency. If you are breast-feeding, ask your doctor how long you should hold off after the contrast is given.

    With IVP like a standard x-ray, there is exposure to radiation but it is very small and unlikely to cause any harm.

    Let your doctor know if you have any allergy to iodine.

    Let your doctor know if you are or may be pregnant or are breast-feeding.

    What is Nuclear Medicine?

    Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty of radiology that involves using very small amounts of radioactive substances introduced by injection or oral ingestion or produce two or three dimensional images of body imaging and function.

    How do I prepare?

    Gastric scan or heart (cardiac scan) or hepatobiliary (HIDA scan), you will need to refrain from eating after midnight or at least 6 hours prior to exam with no caffeine intake. If the exam is done to evaluate the kidney’s, you will need to drink 3-4 glasses of water before the test. For liver and spleen scans do not have any barium exams 48 hrs prior to exam.

    No deodorant, perfume, powder, lotion or creams.

    Needs full bladder.

    No caffeine, alcohol, narcotics, or smoking for 24 hours. No anti-anxiety medication or muscle relaxers for 24 hours. No eating or drinking anything for 6 hours prior to exams requiring sedation.