Department of Radiology
Information for Patients
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Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare for my radiologic test?
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam.You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. Metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures and hairpins may affect the images and should be left at home or removed prior to your exam. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything six to eight hours prior to an imaging procedure with anesthesia or sedation. Children will also be asked not to consume food or drink for a specified period before their anesthesia or sedation. The time period for fasting may differ based on the procedure, hospital or institution guidelines.
You should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to local anesthetic medications, general anesthesia or to contrast materials (also known as "dye" or "x-ray dye"). Your physician may advise you to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or a blood thinner for a specified period of time before your procedure.
Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding their baby. Also inform your doctor of any recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and if you have a history of heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or thyroid problems. Any of these conditions may increase the risk of an unusual adverse effect.
You should plan to have a relative or friend drive you home after your procedure. After you receive sedatives or anesthesia, your memory may be impaired and your ability to concentrate, make important decisions and operate machinery (such as a car) will be compromised.
Prior to your procedure, your blood may be tested to determine how well your liver and kidneys are functioning and whether your blood clots normally. A physical exam and other tests also may be performed.
Are all Radiologic studies the same?
No. Actually there are several different divisions within Radiology that all use a different technology to look inside of our bodies. Some use radiation, while others don't.
Are x-rays safe?
We will use the lowest dose possible of radiation to achieve quality images. In addition, new equipment and techniques are constantly being developed to decrease the total amount of radiation received by the patient. Modern equipment, operated by trained technologists, delivers only a fraction of the amount of radiation used 20 years ago.
Who will read my films?
Your films will be officially read by a board-certified Radiologist. A Radiologist who specializes in that particular study.
What is a Computed Tomography (CT) scan?
Is a diagnostic medical study that combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures to provide greater clarity and reveal more details of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels.
What is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan?
Is a diagnostic medical study that combines magnetic and radio waves (meaning that there is no exposure to radiation) with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body to provide greater clarity and reveal more details of a specific disease.
What is an Ultrasound (Sonography) study?
Is a diagnostic medical study that uses high-frequency sound waves (meaning that there is no exposure to radiation) to produce dynamic images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body.
Which imaging studies use anesthesia?
Some patients undergoing imaging exams (MRI, for example) need a sedative to help them stay relaxed and lie motionless so that clear pictures can be taken.
Interventional radiological procedures, such as angiography, angioplasty, biopsies and embolization procedures, may use both an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area of the skin where a needle or catheter will be injected, and a sedative to help the patient stay calm and relaxed during the procedure. Sometimes, a general anesthetic may be used.
How is a radiographic image produced?
A radiograph, is produced when a small amount of radiation passes through a body part and is recorded on film, video or computer to produce a black-and-white anatomical image displaying various shades of gray on an x-ray image, depending upon their composition and density.