Frequently Asked Questions
I am having an MRI, and I am afraid of enclosed spaces. How can you help me through the exam?
Tell the technologist about your concerns before the exam starts. The technologist will be in constant contact with you during the examination so you can let him or her know if you have any concerns at any point. We will give you a “patient alert ball,” which you can squeeze to communicate with the technologist if you should need assistance. We also recommend you ask your doctor for a mild sedative to take just before the start of the examination.
When will my doctor receive my MRI results?
The radiology staff will provide the results to your doctor within 48 hours.
How long does it take to perform a CT scan?
The length of a CT scan depends on what type of exam you hare having, and what part of your body we are scanning. A typical scan of the body, without intravenous contrast, can take about 10 minutes. If we use IV contrast, it can take about 30 minutes.
If you need to take contrast, we will ask you to arrive an hour early. We will have you drink oral contrast (barium). The contrast needs to be in your system long enough to outline the gastrointestinal tract.
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 a CT scan?
CT scans are usually painless. You will need to lie still for a period of time. A CT scan machine resembles a large donut. You lie on a table that slides in and out of the center of the machine. A technologist is always present in an adjoining room monitoring the procedure. You can communicate by intercom. At times, the technologist may ask you to hold your breath to avoid blurring of the images.
You may need to take some sort of contrast to help us examine your internal organs. If you need to use intravenous contrast, we will ask you to fast for three hours before the scan. Once you take the oral contrast (barium), it will take up to one hour before we can begin the scan. We need to allot time for the barium to coat the lining of your gastrointestinal tract.
The actual scan usually lasts a few minutes, but the prep time could take up to an hour.
After the scan, we may ask you to stay on the table while a radiologist reviews the images to determine whether we need additional images. When the CT scan is over, you can resume normal activities. If you had intravenous contrast, you should drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day to help flush the contrast out of your body. Your doctor will receive the results within 48 hours.
What is the purpose for having intravenous contrast and is it safe?
Intravenous contrast, also known as iodine or dye, is harmless. We use it to make it easier to see your internal organs and blood vessels.
It is essential that you inform the nurse and technologist if you have any allergies. We will ask you to sign a consent form stating you understand the risks and benefits of the contrast.
You may feel a warm flush sensation for 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. You might also feel itchy. If so, we can give you medication to help.
A more severe reaction, while uncommon, includes difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat or other parts of the body. If this should happen, we will treat it immediately.