Frequently Asked Questions

MRI Imaging

What is a MRI?

MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive diagnostic examination that produces cross-sectional images of the body without the use of radiation.

How long does it take to perform an MRI?

Depending on the type of exam, an MRI may take an average of 30-45 minutes to complete.

I am having an MRI and I am claustrophobic and afraid of enclosed spaces. What can be done to help me through the exam?

First, inform the technologist prior to the start of the examination of your concerns. He will be in constant contact with you during the examination.  You will be given a “Patient Alert Ball” which will allow you to communicate with the technologist in the event that you need his assistance. It is also highly recommended that you ask your doctor to provide you with a mild sedative which can be taken prior to the start of the examination.

How should I prepare for an MRI?

  • You can eat as you normally would and take your usual medications unless instructed otherwise.
  • Once you arrive, you will be asked to complete a MRI Safety Questionnaire. The MRI technologist will review the questionnaire with you prior to the start of the examination to make sure that it is safe for you to undergo the examination.
  • Before the scan you will be asked to remove all jewelry, watches or metal objects. You will be provided with a gown and robe and a locker to store your belongings.     

When will be doctor receive my results?

We will provide the results to your physician within 48 hours.

CT Imaging  

What is a CAT scan?

A CAT scan, or computed tomography (CT scan), is an x-ray procedure that combines many x-rays images, with the aid of a computer, to generate very detailed cross-sectional views of nearly all parts of the body.

How long does it take to perform a CAT scan?
  
The duration of a CAT scan is dependent on the type of examination and area of the body being scanned. A typical scan of the body, without intravenous contrast, can take approximately 10 minutes, whereas a scan with IV contrast can take approximately 30 minutes.

If you’re required to drink oral contrast (barium), you may be asked to arrive one hour early to give the barium enough time to outline the gastrointestinal tract.

However, you may need to allow extra time for your procedure in case there are delays or need for additional scans.

What should I expect during the procedure?

A CAT scan tends to be completely painless, requiring you only to lie still for a period of time. A CAT scan machine resembles a large donut. You lie on a table that slides in and out the center of the machine. A technologist is always present in an adjoined room monitoring the procedure. You will be able to communicate via intercom. At times, the technologist may ask you to hold your breath to avoid blurring of the images.

If your exam requires you to receive intravenous contrast, you may be asked to fast for three hours prior to having your CAT scan. While the IV contrast is being administered, you may experience a warm sensation throughout your body, which usually lasts a few seconds. Some people may even get a metallic taste in their mouth and the sensation they’re urinating on themselves, but they’re not.

If you’re given oral contrast to drink (barium), you will need to wait up to one hour before your scan can begin to ensure the barium has coated the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

The actual scan time usually last a few minutes, but the prep time could take up to an hour.

When the scan is finished, you may be asked to remain on the table while a radiologist reviews the images to determine whether additional images are needed. After the CAT scan is completed, you may resume normal activities. If you have received intravenous contrast, you are encouraged to drink at least eight cups of water throughout the day to help flush the contrast out of your body. Your physician will receive the results within 48 hours.

How should I prepare for a CAT scan?

You should wear loose, comfortable clothing for your appointment. Clothing with anything metallic should be avoided. When you arrive for your CAT scan, you may be asked to change into a gown.

In preparation for a CAT scan, patients are often asked not to eat three hours prior to their scan, if they’re to receive intravenous contrast. Contrast may be injected intravenously, or administered by mouth or by an enema in order to differentiate between various organs of the body.

You should inform your physician of all medications you are taking and if you have any allergies. If you have an allergy to intravenous contrast, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that states you understand the benefits and risks of the IV contrast.

What is the purpose for having intravenous contrast and is it safe?
  
Intravenous contrast, also known as iodine or dye, is relatively harmless to the body. Its main purpose is to improve the visibility of your internal organs and vessels.

It is essential that you inform the nurse and technologist of any allergies. You will be asked to sign a consent form stating you understand the risks and benefits of the IV contrast.

The most common side effect of the contrast is a warm flush sensation which usually last a few seconds, sometimes followed by a metallic taste in your mouth. You may also get the sensation that you’re urinating on yourself, but you’re not.

Another mild reaction to the contrast is itching over various parts of the body. If this reaction occurs, medication is usually administered to counteract the itching.

A more severe reaction, while uncommon, includes difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat or other parts of the body. These reactions are treated immediately.