Preparing for a Scan

Preparing for a Scan

The following should answer any questions you may have about your upcoming exam but if does not, please feel free to call us at (605) 721-4800 or  (888) 826-3949.

After your exam, the images will be sent to a radiologist who will review the scan and then report the results to your physician.  Your physician will then discuss the results with you during your next appointment.

CT Information

  • 1. CT Scans
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  • 1. What is a CT/CAT Scan?
     

    A CT (CAT), or computed tomography, scan is a non-invasive, 20-year-old method in which an X-ray system rotates around the body capturing detailed cross-sectional images.  Our state-of-the-art 64-Slice CT obtains high-resolution images as thin as a credit card, which can then be used to create a 3-D view of your anatomy, thus giving your doctor an unpredented look into your body and the information they need to precisely diagnose your condition.

    Your exam should last approximately 15 to 30 minutes—longer if a contrast agent is used.

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  • 2. What is Contrast Agent?
     

    Depending on the exam, a contrast injection may be administered to help visualize certain structures in your body and further enhance the results of the study. The use of contrast (or dye) plays an important role in helping radiologists to see the body structure and/or abnormalities.

    There are three types of contrast—oral (the type you drink), rectal, and IV (injection)—your doctor will determine if and what type of contrast is to be used. All contrast agents are FDA approved and are considered safe.

    You may be asked to arrive one to two hours prior to your exam time if oral contrast is necessary. If IV contrast is necessary, a small plastic needle will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm and the contrast will then be injected. You may feel a warm sensation for a short duration, a metallic taste in your mouth, and/or fullness in your bladder.

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  • 3. How should I prepare for my CT Scan?
     

    Ask your physician how long you should refrain from eating or drinking prior to your  scheduled scan, especially if a contrast is to be injected. Be sure to tell your physician or our staff if you are pregnant, if you have asthma, or have had allergic reactions to a contrast, iodine, or shellfish.

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  • 4. What if I'm claustrophobic?
     

    Do not worry. Our staff is understanding and respectful to your needs and we will make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you are uncomfortable in confined spaces, please tell your doctor so we may arrange to have a sedative ready for you.

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  • 5. What should I expect during my CT Scan?
     

    During the exam you will lay (usually on your back) on a padded table with your arms resting comfortably. The table will move you slowly through the opening of the 64-Slice CT unit, called a gantry. Once you are positioned, the radiology technologist will give you simple instructions over the intercom like “Don’t move” or “Hold your breath”. Once the scanner is set, you will hear a low whirring noise.

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MRI Information

  • 1. MRI
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  • 1. What is MRI?
     

    A MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is diagnostic imaging technology that uses a strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce images, or pictures, of your internal organs and structures. Our state-of-the-art 3T MRI allows your physician to see inside your body from different angles with great clarity, giving them a wealth of information more quickly and more economically than past tests and exploratory surgeries.

    MRI scans are very safe; however, some special circumstances limit the use of the magnetic field. It is important you to tell our staff members or your doctor if any of the following apply to you, or the person accompanying you into the exam room:

    • Have been a metal worker (had metal in an eye).
    • Have a cardiac pacemaker or an artificial heart valve.
    • Have metal plate, pin, or other metallic implant.
    • Have a prosthesis, aneurysm clips, an inner ear implant or hearing aid.
    • Have an insulin pump or other infusion pump.
    • Have a previous gunshot wound.
    • Are pregnant or think you may be.

    Your exam should last approximately 30 to 45 minutes—longer if a contrast agent is used.

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  • 2. How should I prepare for my MRI?
     

    No preparation is required for MRI scan unless your doctor has given you special instructions. You may eat your regular diet and take medications as usual—you may find it easier to relax if you avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages before your exam. Just be sure to leave all metal objects including your watch, coins, keys, bobby pins, credit cards, pocket knives, etc. at home or in one of our provided lockers.

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  • 3. What should I expect during my MRI?
     

    You may be asked to change into your scrubs and/or remove your make-up, eyeglasses, jewelry, credit cards, dentures, hearing aids, and any other metallic objects you are carrying. A MRI technologist will then escort you to the MRI machine and position you on the table. A device called a coil will be placed around the area being examined. The coil simply helps the MRI to focus on the area and take a clearer image.

    When you are comfortably positioned, the table will move under the magnet. The technologist will then step into the control area, while staying in constant communication with you both visually and through an intercom. You will be asked to relax and lie as still as possible as any movement will blur the picture.

    Depending on the type of MRI scan, you will be provided with earplugs or a headset to wear during the scan. You will hear a loud knocking or buzzing sound but don’t be alarmed; it simply means images are being taken. If you become uncomfortable at any point, tell your technologist at any time.

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  • 4. What is Contrast Agent?
     

    Depending on the exam, a contrast injection may be administered to help visualize certain structures in your body and further enhance the results of the study. The use of contrast (or dye) plays an important role in helping radiologists to see the body structure and/or abnormalities.

    There are three types of contrast—oral (the type you drink), rectal, and IV (injection)—your doctor will determine if and what type of contrast is to be used. All contrast agents are FDA approved and are considered safe.

    You may be asked to arrive one to two hours prior to your exam time if oral contrast is necessary. If IV contrast is necessary, a small plastic needle will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm and the contrast will then be injected. You may feel a warm sensation for a short duration, a metallic taste in your mouth, and/or fullness in your bladder.

    Was this answer helpful ? Yes(1) / No(1)
    Viewed 395 Times
  • 5. What if I'm claustrophobic?
     

    Do not worry. Our staff is understanding and respectful to your needs and we will make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you are uncomfortable in confined spaces, please tell your doctor so we may arrange to have a sedative ready for you.

    Was this answer helpful ? Yes(0) / No(0)
    Viewed 356 Times