Asking questions before any medical imaging on your body is more than acceptable when it’s possible you’re having a CT scan, MRI or PET/CT for the first time. It’s already a stressful time when your doctor orders a scan to look for possible signs of illness. The last thing you want is going into a scan with no knowledge of what to expect and stressing out over the process in the interim.
Here at Glendale MRI Institute, we make sure your medical imaging is a comfortable experience from the prep to the end of the procedure. The four questions below are the most common questions we get asked from patients. The answers usually help alleviate considerable concerns or fears before the procedure even begins.
Question 1: Can the Technologist Tell Me if Anything is Wrong?
Anyone having body imaging is going to have concerns about what might be found. It’s natural to want to know information while the procedure takes place. In this case, the technologist will see some imagery inside your body as the CT scan, MRI or PET/CT takes place.
Unfortunately, they can’t tell you what might be wrong if anything at all. While those who perform the exam can see imagery, they don’t have complete medical knowledge to tell you exactly what’s there. Sometimes things show up in the scan that don’t mean anything serious. Until the radiologist thoroughly examines the image and gives a report to your doctor, your technologist can’t say a word.
Question 2: What Do I Need to Bring with Me?
You don’t have to worry about bringing a mountain of documentation when you arrive for your imaging test. All you need is your personal ID, the order from your physician, and your insurance card.
As far as anything personal to bring, we recommend nothing during the imaging procedure. During MRI’s, we sometimes provide music for people to listen to on headphones. Because of MRI imaging sensitivity to foreign objects, we’ll provide any music for you.
Question 3: Why Do You Ask So Many Questions When I Check In?
We want to make sure the screening is absolutely safe for your health before it takes place. CT scans do have radiation exposure, even though the levels are slowly diminishing with better technology. MRIs use a very strong magnetic field to create the images so we have to be sure you don’t have any metal objects in your body that might cause you harm during the scan.
MRI’s don’t use radiation, though are generally more expensive. With this and other health factors in mind, we make sure you have the proper imaging procedure that’s best for you in every aspect.
Question 4: How Claustrophobic are the Tests?
This is a common question, and the simple answer is that CT scans are much faster, and MRI’s take longer. Both of them take you inside a tube where the imaging takes place. The more complex answer is that time duration varies based on what kind of scans you need. Some CT scans take a little longer, though not usually longer than 10-15 minutes.
An MRI could take as little as 20 minutes up to an hour. It’s one reason why we provide options like music so time spent inside the MRI machine won’t make you anxious. Also, depending on the part of the body being scanned, sometimes your head isn’t in the tube portion much at all.
If you’re having, say a brain MRI and you expect to feel claustrophobic, just ask the doctor who ordered the scan to give you a one-time light medication for anxiety. You’ll take it after you arrive at the facility, 30 minutes before you go into the scanner. Also, be sure to have someone with you who can drive you home since you cannot drive so soon after taking medication!
Don’t hesitate to contact us here at Glendale MRI Institute if you have more than just four questions about your upcoming imaging procedure, our friendly staff is happy to help. We guarantee you a pleasant experience with every question or concern answered.